Cultural Baggage March 11, 2009
Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.
It's not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American..... 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR' 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR' 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR' 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR'
My Name is Dean Becker. I don't condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.
This is your Drug Czar, John Walters. Do not listen to the Drug Truth Network. It's evil. Pure evil.
Alright, my friends. That's the last time we can use that PSA. Because John Walters, as of tomorrow, will no longer be our Drug Czar. So says various papers around the country. Gil Kerlikowske, the current Seattle Police Chief. He's the director of the US Association of Police Chiefs, is going to be our new Drug Czar and I can say, 'Good riddance' to John Walters. Thank God, Almighty.
Today, we've got a great show for you. We have, as usual, Doug McVay will give us Drug War Facts. Terry Nelson from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition will give us his summery. He's over in Vienna now, attending some new ways of framing the drug war and we'll have an editorial about that later. You'll get the chance to “Name that Drug - By It's Side Effects!” But we're going to talk today about marijuana. Medical Marijuana in particular and about the progress and the setbacks going on, out in California.
We have with us first, somebody who I think exemplifies the individual, doing their part. Stepping up and doing what they can, to change this. With that, let's go ahead and bring in Cheryl Aichele.
Ms. Cheryl Aichele: Yes, my last name's Aichele. [Ike-lee]
Dean Becker: Hello, Cheryl. Good to have you with us. As I was telling the listeners, you decided you were going to get involved. You were going to do your part. Right?
Ms. Cheryl Aichele: Yes, exactly.
Dean Becker: Tell us about what you've done for Mr. Charles Lynch.
Ms. Cheryl Aichele: I first heard about Charlie's story from the Drew Carey video. Reason TV did a short video about Charlie and one of his former patients, Owen Beck. What I've done was, sit through the majority of his trials and since he's been convicted, I've been advocating on his behalf.
We've had two successful protests, out here in Los Angeles. I've been contacting the media, trying to get them to cover his story. I've reached out to law makers like my congressional representative; like President Obama and I've just done everything I can to bring attention to his story and Medical Marijuana in general. Because I don't think a lot of people know what's actually going on, on the individual level.
Dean Becker: We have this situation in California, that it's changing. It's becoming a better situation. Not perfect by any means. But is seems like Charles is the victim of the Bush Administration, just being carried forward. You thoughts on that?
Ms Cheryl Aichele: Yeah. He's definitely a victim of the Bush's 'war on drugs.' He also happens to be a victim of local government. Also with, the San Luis Obispo County, Sheriff Pat Hedges being the catalysis for Charlie's case and with local officials not coming out and standing up for Charlie. Saying, 'This is a legal matter between the two laws - the Federal law and State law - and individuals like Charlie shouldn't have to suffer, because of that.
Dean Becker: Right. Well Cheryl, we're going to move on over to Charles here, in just a moment. But I want to thank you, for having the courage to do what you've done; for facing down these lions, so to speak. Contacting the media and the politicians. It's what's necessary. It's what's got to be done, in order to change these laws. Because we can't wait for the politicians to move this issue. We've got to insist. Right?
Ms. Cheryl Aichele: Yes, exactly. One other thing that I've done on Charles' behalf is, file an official complaint against the Sheriff, the San Luis Obispo Sheriff, Pat Hedges. Because I believe his conduct in the case was unlawful under California Law.
By doing these little things, it does make a difference. Because there are lawmakers that have no idea what's going on, in different parts of the state or different parts of the country and it does take individuals to bring it to their attention and to get things moving. Because law can be very, very slow.
Dean Becker: Indeed it can. Cheryl, I thank you so much for your words and for your assistance in bringing Charles Lynch here, to the Drug Truth Network. Thank you so much. Alright Charles, are you with us?
Mr. Charles Lynch: Hello.
Dean Becker: Hello, sir. You're on the air. I just got done talking with Cheryl and she seems like a real sweetheart. Seems like somebody with a real head on her shoulders and a good ally for you. Right?
Mr. Charles Lynch: Oh, yeah. Cheryl, she's been amazing help for me. She's really gone above and beyond, to help me out in my case here. Definitely, it's unbelievable all she's done for me.
Dean Becker: Charles, we're going to have to update the listeners. Let's just give a summary of your situation. How it developed and lead us up to where we are now.
Mr. Charles Lynch: On April 1st, 2006, I opened a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Morro Bay. I was issued a business license that clearly stated, Medical Marijuana Dispensary. The Mayor and City Council Members and City Attorney, they all toured the facility before it opened. So we opened up, didn't have any problems. Started providing for people in the local area with safe access.
In July of 2006, I went through the Conditional Use Permit process and got a Nursery permit from the City, that allowed me to provide small plants to patients, so they could grow their own. Everything ran smoothly for almost a year and then two days before our one year anniversary, the Federal Government, DEA - Drug Enforcement Agency and the local Sheriff came barreling down my home and into the dispensary with their guns and masks and search warrants.
They came in. They took everything. All the money, all the Medical Marijuana and all the computers. I wasn't arrested on that day, but they also took my business license and the Nursery permit and then left. The next day the City of Morro Bay reissued my business license to me and my Nursery permit.
So I reopened and then a couple of weeks later, the DEA called the landlord and threatened him that, 'If he didn't kick us out of the dispensary, that they would take his building from him. So he had no choice essentially, but to give us our thirty day notice. The dispensary ended up closing on May 16, 2007.
I closed up the dispensary, started looking for some new work and then July 17, 2007, I woke up to Federal agents banging at my door and I was arrested for distribution of marijuana. I was taken two hundred miles away from my home to Los Angeles, where there's hundreds of dispensaries that are operating at this very moment.
Dean Becker: Indeed.
Mr. Charles Lynch: I was thrown into the Federal Detention Center and charged with a series of Federal crimes. I pleaded 'Not Guilty.' Ended up going to trial. In Federal Court, usually people don't have any sort of defense at all. Because under Federal Law, apparently there's no defense. You can't even mention Medical Marijuana in Federal Court.
One of the things that I did before I opened the dispensary, was that I actually called the DEA. I made four phone calls to the Drug Enforcement Agency, in my area here and asked them what their policy regarding Medical Marijuana Dispensaries were. They told me that it's up to the Cities and the Counties to decide how to handle the matter.
So when I opened the dispensary, I thought I was abiding by the California State Laws, that are based on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. I had called the DEA. I had the city people. I had the California State Law. It seemed like I had everything I needed, to run a legal dispensary for safe and legal access for the patients in our area. There were, like I said, hundreds of dispensaries already operating around the state.
Anyway, in Federal Court, me defense was called, Entrapment by Estoppel, where a Federal agent tells you something is OK. When in fact it's not, or it might not be. But anyway, the jury in my case apparently didn't think it was the DEA's job, not to tell me to open up a dispensary.
So on August 5th , 2007, I was convicted on five counts of marijuana related crimes. The sentencing's been postponed and there's been a lot of postponements in my case. But on March 23, 2009, I'm going to be sentenced in Federal Court for operating my dispensary.
Dean Becker: My friends, we're speaking with Mr. Charles Lynch, a former Cannabis dispensary owner, out in California. As he just said, he's facing a prison sentence, coming up here in just ten days or so.
Charles, I've talked to many dispensary owners. Just two weeks ago, I made a tour of three different facilities in California. As you said, open. Actively dispensing Cannabis, abiding by California law. Working with local officials, just as you have done. I even saw the pictures on your website. You standing next to the Mayor, cutting the ribbon. All the Chamber of Commerce gathered around you.
I don't even know the word. It's just not right that the Federal Government just stoops so low, as to get involved in such local matters and you have become a victim. More so than many of the other dispensary owners. I've heard many stories of them coming in and taking the money, taking the Cannabis and just leaving and no one is arrested. Yet, they waited some... Gosh, was it fourteen/sixteen months to come back and make that arrest on you?
Mr. Charles Lynch: Nah, actually it was three months after they raided the dispensary, they arrested me.
Mr. Dean Becker: ...and they wanted to prosecute you. You know, we followed this story and many others out there. Will Foster, Ed Rosenthal, Eddy Lepp, Steve Kubby and others. It's always a different outcome; a different scenario. I guess it depends on which court you're being prosecuted in? You're thoughts on that, Mr. Lynch.
Mr. Charles Lynch: The Federal Courts are about the most unfair thing I've seen in my entire life. That you can't really use the California State Laws as a defense and you can't even really talk about Medical Marijuana. Even the Prosecutor. He didn't want sick looking people testifying on my behalf and the prosecution... They brought in as many witnesses and everything they wanted and talked as long as they wanted.
My defense was constantly shut down by objections and I was limited to three character witnesses. People came down, like some of the City Council members. The judge wouldn't even let them talk. The evidence in my case was so suppressed, that the jury didn't get the whole picture.
One of the reasons I think I was prosecuted, whereas some of these other guys that get raided aren't prosecuted, is because the local Sheriff in my area, actually did the work of the DEA. I found out during the trial, that the DEA was so backlogged, that it would have taken them a couple of years to get to my case. So what they did, is they took all the evidence and turned it over to our local Sheriff here.
Then he did the forensic work, at the expense of the California State taxpayers' money, to circumvent California Law. Once I found that out, I filed a Federal Claim that he had received this information and property illegally. Because if they came in on a Federal Search Warrant, took everything and then they turned it over to a State Official; a State Law Enforcement agency to go through everything and possibly even...
I don't know why they did that, but I fought that. Actually, initially I won, but then the Government appealed it and then the judge said, 'Well, it's already too late. They already have it.' So he wasn't going to stop it at that point. That's probably one of the reasons that they decided to prosecute me, is that I was putting up a fight.
The Federal Government hates people that want to stand up for their rights. That's maybe why they come down on guys like Ed Rosenthal and Eddy Lepp. They're pretty vocal. Although myself, I wasn't vocal at all about my defense. I was pretty low key. But once I put up that little fight over the evidence and with our Sheriff here, I must have upset the wrong people and they decided to prosecute me to the fullest extent of the Federal Law.
Dean Becker: It's not an identical situation, but here in Houston we have the scenario where, if the prosecutor needs to bring in an expert witness, they've got money for that. But if a court appointed Attorney wants to bring in an expert witness, there is zero money for that. It's just not an equal balance under the law and I guess it's just Nationwide, this insistence. Like you said, the local Sheriff took it upon himself to work for the Federal Government. Because I guess your dispensary offended him, or something of that nature. What do you think?
Mr. Charles Lynch: He's gone on the record saying, he doesn't want dispensaries in his county and that it's against family values. In the year that the dispensary was open, I helped more people than I have in my entire life. Then the Sheriff says, 'Well, only healthy looking young people come in there.'
Once you talk to these people and hear about their problems... You can't see a person that has AIDS. I mean in the final stages you can. You can't see cancer. You can't see a lot of these problems that people have, just by looking at them walking into someplace. You know?
Dean Becker: There's a lot of folks like me, Charles, that are alcoholics, that benefit from the use of Cannabis. They would much prefer I'm out there crashing and bashing about on alcohol, I would suppose.
Mr. Charles Lynch: Yeah, actually from my perspective I think that alcohol, cigarettes and pharmaceuticals are worse for people. I mean your body, than marijuana. Especially medical grade marijuana.
Dean Becker: So true and the fact is, we have so many instances where it's proven. Well over a hundred studies have been done since the year 2000, showing marijuana is a benefit. Recommending that it be available and so forth. Yet until now, the Federal Government has stood forth, proclaiming there is no medical value.
We've got about five minutes left here. I want to kind of hand it over to you, to talk to people out there that may be thinking like Cheryl. That may be wondering what they can do. You're a prime example. You're facing perhaps... Is it a minimum of five years, Charles?
Mr. Charles Lynch: Yes, at least five years.
Dean Becker: ...and we own the moral high ground. We own the truth and the science in this and yet we're lacking because we don't have enough courageous people, like Cheryl. Talk to those folks, if you would, Charles.
Mr. Charles Lynch: Well, there's a variety of things people could do. Some of the most important things are to contact their Senators and their House of Representative people. Contact President Obama. Contact their State Legislatures and write to them and call them up. Tell them they want the laws changed. They want marijuana to be taxed and legalized, at least for medicinal value.
That's one of the main things, is contacting these people and then in my own personal case, I have a website set up at www.friendsofccl.com and I have a help page there that has ways to help people in general. Ways you can help me and the other thing... There's people in jail right now for 'Medical Marijuana Crimes' here in California. They're in Federal prison serving very long sentences.
So there's a big huge mess that our previous administration has left behind, that it's going to take a lot of work to clean up this mess they left behind. In terms of changing the marijuana laws and in terms of stopping the prosecution and also to going back and getting these people out of jail.
Dean Becker: There is a bunch of them. I understand California's got a hundred and sixty thousand prisoners and the Federal Government's saying they've got to kick fifty-nine thousand of them out. Because it's unconstitutional, this overcrowding.
Mr. Charles Lynch: Right. Myself, I would be in a Federal prison, not a State prison. I don't know. I'm sure they're a little overcrowded, too.
Dean Becker: No doubt, no doubt. Charles, I want to thank you. First of all for being our guest, for being intelligent enough; courageous enough, to have opened your dispensary and despite the setbacks at this time. We will stay with your story. We want you to know that we believe in your courage and your commitment and we're not going to forget you, no matter what the Feds decide to do. Give them your website one more time and any closing thoughts you'd like to share.
Mr. Charles Lynch: OK. My website's, www.friendsofccl.com and I'd just like to thank everybody that's helped me out. There's been Cheryl, who's done a lot of activism work for me. The City of Morro Bay, they came to my rescue during the trial. The Mayor and City Attorney, City Council members, although the State of California - like the Governmor and Attorney General, haven't done anything to help me. That I'd like to thank those people. My family, they've posted a four hundred thousand dollar bail...
Dean Becker: Wow.
Mr. Charles Lynch: ...for me to be out of jail this past year and a half. I just think it's time for the Federal Government to end the civil war against the people; the people of Medical Marijuana states and change the laws. They've got to reschedule it. Get it out of that schedule I area.
Dean Becker: Yeah.
Mr. Charles Lynch: Yeah. Thanks definitely to everybody. Thanks to you guys for getting my story out there today. One other detail. This coming Friday, my story's going to be a part of the documentary on ABC News, 20/20...
Dean Becker: Good, good.
Mr. Charles Lynch: ...with John Stossel and then on Sunday, Al Roker is going to have my story in his documentary, the Marijuana, Inc. So my story's going to go Nationwide this weekend and hopefully the world and the nation will see the injustice that's happened to me and a lot of other people.
Dean Becker: Charles, thank you so much. Best of luck to you, my friend and please, keep us updated.
Mr. Charles Lynch: Alright. Thanks for having me.
Dean Becker: Thank you.
It's time to play: "Name That Drug - By It's Side Effects!"
Headache, low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, unexpected sleepiness, nausea, excess perspiration, trouble controlling your muscles (dyskinesia), hallucinations, uncontrollable gambling urges, compulsive eating and increased sex drive.
Time's up! The answer from Boehringer Ingelheim laboratories:
Mirapex! For restless leg syndrome (RLS)
For more than a hundred seventy-two years, one organization has been responsible for educating more US Presidential candidates, than any other. Skull and Bones, purveyors of fine opium products since 1832.
This is the Abolitionists Moment.
Just over one hundred years old, the drug war give no pretense of ultimate success. Deaths, from both contaminated drugs and turf battles, are on the rise. More lives are being ruined by AIDS and Hep. C. Terrorists are thriving. Cartels continue reaping their bloody harvest and the US gangs afford their high powered weaponry, by selling dubious concoctions to addict our children. Surely there must be a better way.
CSI: Does that look like cocaine to you?
Man: Well, it's all white and powdery. I'd say, yeah.
CSI: That's good enough. It's evidence.
Announcer: Stay tuned for CSI: Houston.
It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. But someone needs to tell the US Attorney's office. The Los Angels Times reports that, “The US Attorney in Los Angels, sent a confidential memo to prosecutors last week. Ordering them to stop filing charges against Medical Marijuana dispensaries, then abruptly lifted the ban on Friday.”
A Justice Department official said that the Attorney General, 'Did not direct L.A.'s US Attorney O'Brian or any other US Attorney to alter policies regarding the prosecution of such cases'. According to the times, “In addition to being told to stop filing new cases, prosecutors were instructed to refrain from issuing subpoenas or applying for search warrants in pending cases, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.” Friday, another email went out instructing prosecutors to resume work on Medical Marijuana cases.
Meanwhile in Illinois, legislation to allow safe legal access to Medical Cannabis, advances to the floor of the State House, having been approved by their Human Services committee and in Rhode Island, legislators are working to create a State regulated system of dispensaries. So that legal patients will have safe, secure sources for their medicine.
Reporting for the Drug Truth Network, from California the 'Land of the Free', this is Doug McVay. Member of the Board of Directors for Common Sense for Drug Policy. csdp.org
It's made of doorknob handles and covered with mayonnaise. It's faster than grease lightning and it will be your end of days. It's a slippery slope.
This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Most of my three decades long service to my Nation, was in a war on drugs. As many of you know, LEAP is an international organization and has members in over forty countries.
Last week, I traveled to Brussels as a guest of ENCOD, The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, to participate in Coca 2009 and had the privilege of addressing members of the European Parliament. I sat on a panel moderated by Frederick Polak, an Amsterdam psychiatrist and advocate for legalization. Which included the Bolivian Ambassador to the AU and the Bolivian Ambassador to Belgium, Joep Omen of ENCOD, as well as Adriana Rodriguez Salazar, a Columbian investigator specializing in the effects of fumigation and chemical waste on the Columbian environment.
The LEAP methods received much applause and I had several members of the EU come up to me afterwards, to further discuss our message of regulation and control. Later that evening, I attended a small reception and was joined by two staff members of the Bolivian Embassy, to further discuss the days events. South America appears very ready and willing to seek a different approach to the failed war on drugs.
The EU Ambassador and I further discussed the DEA policy of denying precursors entry into Bolivia, that are used in the manufacture of cocaine. As many of you know, Bolivia is a mining Nation as well as an agrarian one and they use many of the same chemicals in mining, as the cartels do in processing coca leaves into coca paste.
Many of you may also be aware that Bolivia has ejected all DEA agents from their country. I spoke to him about this and applauded his countries courage in taking this action. We must respect that all Nations have a right to decide their own internal affairs and not have the US trying to decide for them.
Next week, I'll go to Vienna, Austria to attend the Untied Nations Ministerial Summit and participate in a press conference held by ENCOD. ENCOD is pressuring the UN Office of Drug Control Director, Mr. Costa, to discuss a harm reduction policy, instead of a prohibition one. I'm looking forward to the trip and meeting as many of the international players as possible.
If you agree with LEAP, that the war on drugs is not a good public policy, than make your voices heard by speaking up and speaking out. Write letters, call or email your public officials. Legalization, regulation and control, coupled with taxation to be used for treatment and research for cures of addicitons, is a more sane approach.
Let's call for an open National dialog, to discuss this issue. There has to be a solution that will work for all of us. This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc, signing off.
This may sound strange, but I want to pay taxes. See, I don't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. I relax with something science has proven is much safer, marijuana and I want to buy it somewhere that charges taxes, to pay for schools and roads. Just like alcohol and tobacco.
What do you think should profit? Our schools and roads? Or drug dealers?
Visit the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation at www.mpp.org, or call 1-877-JOIN-MPP
Alright, my friends. That report from Terry Nelson, he's actually in Vienna, now. Attending that UN Conference. Here's something from today's Guardian Newspaper in the UK.
The global drug charade. Flying in the face of evidence, the UN is about to recommit to the tried and failed approach.
“Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So far in Vienna, the meeting appears to have struck a similar affliction.”
They close with the thought, “We're about to witness another walk up the political and diplomatic path of least resistance. It will do nothing to help the millions whose lives are destroyed by drug markets and drug use - and, depressingly, we can all book our seats for 2019, to go through this charade again.”
Sending good wishes out to Charles Lynch and to his Judge out there in California. I hope you guys take his advice that you get in contact with your legislators. That you do your part to end this madness and perhaps we can keep Mr. Lynch from going to prison.
As always, I remind you. That because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that drug. Please, be careful.
To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth.
This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.
Submitted by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org