Cultural Baggage, June 10, 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.
Dean Becker: Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. We hope to get Casper Lietch with us here in a little bit; having a little trouble reaching him. He's the producer and host of Time4Hemp.com.
They produce podcasts and do audio and video interviews with folks like Willie Nelson and he did some with Timothy Leary, a couple of congressmen, et cetera, lot's of musicians. Very marijuana-centric but very good website – again that's Time4Hemp.com. We're trying to reach Casper Lietch as we speak.
We have a couple of other segments. We are going to share with you today. We have a report from Bruce Mirken, he's the Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. We'll also have a chance to hear from some other folks but I do understand we now have Mr. Casper Lietch with us. Hello, Casper.
Casper Lietch: Well hello and happy Wednesday. How are you doing?
Dean Becker: I am real good, Casper. I was just telling folks a little bit about your endeavors. Why don't you tell them about Time4Hemp.
Casper Lietch: Time4Hemp.com is a site that people can stop by and visit and learn all about the marijuana movement. I have been doing interviews with the founders of the marijuana movement since 1991.
Time4Hemp began as the first television series ever in the history of broadcasting to focus on marijuana. It was put together when were writing the California Hemp Initiative - Jack Herr and Dennis Perrone, Dr. Todd McCurry and Leane Osborne and a variety of activists put together a thing called the California Hemp Initiative.
We were trying to make, of course, medical marijuana legal in that state. We were fighting a large treasure chest known as the D.A.R.E. program and so in order to combat that, we had to find some way to do advertising.
I put together a little community cable access show where I asked guests, in this case, activists, to talk about making paper out of marijuana, fuel out of marijuana, fiber out of marijuana, medicine out of marijuana. And then, once it broadcast into public domain, we could use it in our advertising.
Activists from around the country found it to be interesting enough and educational enough that they insisted that it air in their communities. What happened was that Time4Hemp became the first community cable access show to debut in 19 states, 23 cities.
The first to ever go national and it did that in three weeks. It went international in six weeks, so apparently people out there really do believe that it is Time for Hemp.
Dean Becker: I would agree with you, Casper. The fact is that more and more people are becoming willing to say so. More and more people are willing to put their effort into changing these laws, more willing to speak to authority and get it done. And it is happening, don't you think?
Casper Lietch: It is exciting. We now have, I think 17 states that have re-legalized it for medical purposes. We have got Massachusetts that has now decriminalized it. Up to an ounce, if it's anything, it's a ticket.
And in California they have medical marijuana dispensaries that if you have a medical marijuana card, you are able to go in there and legally buy marijuana for your medicinal needs. You can grow six plants or less in that state for your own medicinal purposes.
The state of New Mexico recently passed re-legalization for medical purposes and they went to step farther. They want to make certain that the states obligations do not end with re-legalization for medical purposes, they wanted to make certain that their patients in that state did not become criminals to get their medication so the state of New Mexico began growing marijuana to disperse to its medical marijuana patients within that state.
Our president has made it clear that our tax dollars should be spent and better utilized than taking people off the street because they touched a plant, putting them behind bars at the taxpayer's expense and taking the manpower from the police force to track down users.
The new attorney general has stated that if there is re-legalization in that state for medical purposes, he doesn't intend to use the resources of the DEA or the FBI or et cetera, et cetera, to go and arrest people for using marijuana.
And the drug czar is from Seattle and there he decided it was better to, instead of putting people behind bars for use of marijuana, et cetera, was to put them in rehab. He also stated a few years back that Seattle police was not, I mean, the Oregon police was not going to be closing the doors on people for using marijuana, they weren't going to be arresting them, kicking in the doors – it was low priority.
So, yeah. There is a huge turn around in this plus, during the Great Depression, what helped pull the county out of the economic woes that it faced was when they ended prohibition.
States could then tax liquor, they could also sell liquor license, they could also regulate liquor and regulate price and distribution points and that money started going into the coffers that began to help rebuild the states and to rebuild this country. I do believe that our president and his administration are smart enough and clever enough to recognize that we can either continue to send this money over seas because we are not going to stop smoking it.
Or we can let our farmers grow it, tax it and then start using it for fuel – you make twenty barrels of oil out of every acre that you grow. That's backed by our own World War II Government Standards. Our own government's known that since World War II.
We can use it to make paper and fibers and fuels. Right now BMW is making an auto body with hemp oil – not completely but using as part of that. And they are also making Pampers over in Europe – the same people that make Pampers here make Pampers in Europe out of hemp. It biodegrades in five to seven years – what they use here in the United States degrades in almost fifteen years. So, I would like to think that, yeah, this really is going to turn around.
More and more people are becoming smart about the products that are made from it – clever about the taxes that can be made off of it and understand the reality of the fact – it's not going to go away – it's like outlawing sugar. You just made a lot of criminals out of good people by outlawing sugar because they are still going to get their Snicker bar.
Dean Becker: Well, you bet. Friends, we are speaking with Casper Lietch, producer and host of Time4Hemp.com. Now, Casper, you indicated this started out as a video effort. Over the years, though, you have kinda morphed. You have taken some of the audio from those video productions – put it online and also produced other audio shows, podcasts – which you release on your website, right?
Casper Lietch: Yeah. I am pretty excited about how this has grown. Originally when I quit production on the series, it was just so costly to do – camera angles, the studios, the sets and designs. We had PBS not wanting to broadcast the material and FOX standing in our way and no one wanting to underwrite it – you know, censorship of the press. And it was really difficult to get the message out.
But still, in spite of that, hard working activists latched on to Time for Hemp and realized what an educational tool it was. I mean, after all, you have the founders of the marijuana movement being interviewed - Jack Herr, who wrote the bible of the marijuana movement. Dan Burr, The Emperor Wears No Clothes.
Dr. Todd McCurry, who was on the presidential commission to research whether or not marijuana should be outlawed or not and appointed by Richard M. Nixon. When he concluded that it should be, they buried the report and fired him.
We have the founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, Kevin Zeese; the founders of High Times and editors of High Times. We had all the mouths of all the movement on the show. From the horses mouth you are able to learn the truth about the wonders of this plant and how insane the war on drugs was.
Well, when I started the internet site in 1999, I was one of the first to post the videos on the website. I promised my guests each time they sat down, that I would do everything I could to raise their voice so loud that everybody on Earth would have a chance to hear what they had to say. And I really believe that what makes Time4Hemp so spectacular are the guests.
So, I began to put the videos up there of Willie Nelson. Willie Nelson came by and was a guest on the show. Dr. Tim Leary, we had a fabulous interview with him and I redigitized that and put that up there.
People really did enjoy the videos that were posted on the net so in 2007, I was wondering, well what more could I do with this site and podcasting had come into play and so on July 4th, 2007, Time4Hemp released its first podcast and our first guest was Alan St. Pierre from NORML, the director of NORML.
Our second was Keith Stroup, founder of NORML and from there on we just kept getting the founder of LEAP and members of LEAP and doctors and lawyers and patients and the next thing you know, we are celebrating our two year anniversary this July 4th, we have over 225,000 people that downloaded around the world.
If you go to i-Tunes and type the word hemp into the i-Tunes search engine store, we're the number one and number two podcasts recommended globally. We are succeeding in putting a spotlight on hard working activists and remarkable marijuana musicians that are raising the truth about using this plant for paper, fiber, fuel and medication.
Dean Becker: OK, Casper, I tell you what. I want to talk about some of the musicians you have had on your show but we are going to take just a quick little musical break to show how accepted, how forthright the presentation of need for change is across America. This comes to us from Family Guy.
[cut to Family Guy clip]
Brian: No more oppression. We as American adults with free will have the right to use marijuana if we choose to – enough government profiteering under the guise of morality – enough with this phony war on drugs.
Stewie: You know you are going about this all wrong. If you want to win people over, you can't just drone on like Ben Stein – you've got to have a little more showmanship. Here, watch.
[singing about a bag of weed]
Stewie: There you go, you are all getting it now.
[singing about a bag of weed]
Stewie: There you go, Brian.
[singing about a bag of weed]
Dean Becker: OK, it just goes on and on, but I think you get the point: it's time to talk about marijuana. Show me the bodies! Where is this huge stack of dead bodies that would justify what we have done? And of course, there isn't even one.
We are speaking with Mr. Casper Lietch. He is producer and host of Time4Hemp.com. That's Time, number 4, Hemp dot com. Hello, Casper. What did you think of that Family Guy show?
Casper Lietch: Well, we have that up on the front of our website so that we can show that there is tongue in cheek in humor and everything, but look - here is the serious facts.
Number one: There are officers out there that are laying their lives down, facing gun bullets, facing kicking in doors of horrible criminals just because somebody wants to outlaw Mother Nature's plant – a weed. Look – there are people who are living off of our dollars and not paying taxes on it in Mexico and foreign countries, and using that money to fight against us. That is true and it's not because we are so addicted to the pot, it's because our government has outlawed the marijuana. It's a plant.
So we are sending all that money overseas and putting into the pockets of the black market. Look, here's the facts. If we had a point of sale where a 14 year old child could not make that purchase – you had to show an ID and make the purchase and it was taxed - we can take the taxes and apply it to the healthcare problems that the baby boomers are dealing with.
That would make a lot more sense than sending our police officers out into the streets to face bullets and put money into the hands of the black market because somebody wanted to outlaw marijuana because the truth – the reason why they did it is that it stands in direct competition with the petrol oil companies.
Dean Becker: Exactly, right. You know, when I am out in California a lot of times, get to see, even up in Seattle, come to think of it, I saw “los marijuanos.” You and I were talking the other day; you have got to see Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys do their show live. It is – it's so fantastic.
As I understand it, you and Jet Baker – whose music has been featured on our shows many times – kind of worked together as co-hosts on some of the podcasts, right?
Casper Lietch: Yeah, here recently Jet and I had done a “joint” shows – he was my “joint” host. I have had a handful of “joint” hosts in the past. Gate McGalbreath was my “joint” host...
Dean Becker: Gate? Well, he's something, he's something...
Casper Lietch: When we had congressman Barney Frank on as a guest. Congressman Barney Frank has a decrim bill he's trying to get through, so...
There is a lot of music. One of the things we do at Time4Hemp today, there are two podcasts, on the Time4Hemp today program, we focus on the activists. If I were to have you on as a guest, which I probably will someday very soon, we would talk about your work in the marijuana movement, your work in radio, how you developed your website and then go to music, come back, spend ten minutes or so.
On the Time4Hemp music podcasts, it's my way of saying thank you to the musicians who have been nice enough to lend their music to the Time4Hemp Today show. Again, talk ten minutes, play music, talk ten minutes, play music.
So in the time music broadcasts, a little bit more of an FM format. Lot's and lot's of music, a little bit of news, a little bit of chat and it's our way of putting a spotlight – cause these musicians – look, if Paul McCartney and Beyonce were to put out a song about how fabulous marijuana is, the only thing you would ever hear about it in the press would be what a wrong thing it way they did. You'd never hear the song.
But, these people have said, look – they are talented. We are turning our back on the possibility of having a number one hit on the top 40 or getting any commercial success – to us it's more important to teach people the truth about using marijuana for paper, fiber, fuel and medication.
And so, we are going to dedicate our music and our time and our energy to that. To me, this is a way of putting a spotlight on them and their efforts as a way of saying thank you.
Dean Becker: Exactly. Now, Casper, if you can arrange for me to be on your show, I'd appreciate it. I even have a song I would like to submit for that break. It's called Eternal War, and I wanted to point this out to the listeners.
I posted two new videos on YouTube. You can find those at FDBecker. One of them was our guest on the last century of Lies Show, Dr. Joel Hochman. He is talking about the – he is giving guidelines for children about thinking about using drugs and another for the parents of those same children. That's on that video.
Then I have a second video that features an interview with Tommy Chong when he was here in studio. A report about the US being the world's leading jailer and it ends with that song I am talking about, Eternal War and it – check it out, it might be useful for our show, Casper.
Now, you have, over the years, seen this change. I have talked to several guests about this lately. I think we are on the cusp, I think that dam has cracks in it; I think there is water leaking through. I think this thing is breathing its last. Your thoughts on that...
Casper Lietch: Oh, I agree and any type of police operations that are stepping up or doing so as like a last gasp effort, first of all it's a cash cow. Any police department that kicks in the door and confiscates a lot of marijuana and cash and merchandise, gets to keep the merchandise and cash and use it for their own police patrolling and police funds so there motivation for them to do that to you.
There is motivation for the prosecuting attorneys to haul you up before the judges because, after all it justifies their salaries, even though judges are mad and furious about this, and they are tired of the mandatory minimums that have handcuffed them to a justice system that they hate. They still recognize it's a cash cow that pays their system.
There are jail guards that really don't want to see this end because if it does, then there won't be so many people in prison. And we do have the hugest population per capita behind bars than any other country so, they would like to see us all become either a prison guard or a prisoner. I mean, it just funds the paycheck.
There is a huge motivation. And even lawyers. Lawyers will tell you – Oh, it's horrible, we want to end the war on drugs – but golly, if they do, they you don't need to hire them if you get busted for marijuana.
Also, there are people like LEAP, leap.cc, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a great organization. They encourage ending the war on drugs and re-legalizing all drugs and making them all a medical problem and some people find that pill a little hard to swallow.
But, here's the pill that you can swallow, if we were to re-legalize marijuana and began using it strictly for fuel, and if you grow it for fuel, you are growing a whole different strand than if you are growing it for smoke. So, if we started growing it for fuel, in two years time, we could be 100% free of any type of dependency of foreign oil.
Dean Becker: Well, OK. You know, you have – talking about the persecution a minute ago... You and I have both had Mr. Charles Lynch on to talk about his situation. A very troubling thing that in a state where there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of marijuana dispensaries, that the government took time and money, effort, manpower, to convict and sentence him to prison.
Now, there is a good chance that he is only going to spend - at max - one year, one day in prison. That's a lot. He is out on appeal right now. What was your last discussion with Charles? What do you hear from him?
Casper Lietch: It's still all up in the air but, you know it doesn't look good for a guy by name of Eddie Lepp. Eddie Lepp was three years in a row growing 62,000 marijuana plants, growing it for patients who could not grow their own in California.
He did it by the numbers. He contacted the district attorney, he contacted the governor, he contacted his DEA, he filed for permits, and he began growing it. First two years he did it, right when they started coming to harvest, the DEA came in, tore down all the plants and just walked away. Sorry, there, they tore down the plants, hauled them in as evidence.
On July 10th, now that he has been sentenced, he got to surrender himself and begin facing a 10 year sentence. At the age of 64, he is facing life in jail. It doesn't make sense. And here it is in California he was doing it. I mean, if you are sick and you have to go through chemotherapy, and you got to do this in a few weeks, how are you going to have time to grow your own marijuana?
Dean Becker: Or the ability?
Casper Lietch: Yeah. I mean, in the house. And you are worried about your getting to and from work and worrying about your medication and getting to your doctor's appointment; you ain't got time to be horticulturist.
So, he was growing this for people who couldn't grow it for themselves. They contracted him to grow their six plants and he did it all by the numbers, all by the [legislature] said to do it. And when he did it, they hauled him in. Now he is going to face, basically in his situation, life in jail. He'll probably die in there, he is 64 years old. Ten years from now, even if he comes out, what? Sheesh!
Dean Becker: I look at it like this; Eddie grew that openly out there on Highway 101. He talked to everybody in his quote chain of command, tried to do the right thing. He was hoping to make it possible for all these medical users and sacramental users to have a hit of good old cannabis.
And yet now, he is taking the big hit for all of us. He stood forth boldly and lived by the law of California and now he is being fed to the meat grinder. It's an abomination.
Friends, we have been speaking with Mr. Casper Lietch, we have got about a minute left, Casper. I understand you are going to be doing the Marijuana Awards Show here real soon...
Casper Lietch: Yeah, there is an organization that puts together the Global Marijuana Music Awards and the American Marijuana Music Awards. The winners of the Marijuana Music Awards are going to be announced through Time4Hemp.com. It's a big event this year.
What's going to happen is the show will be broadcast first through an FM station in Chicago, once in Australia and there is a radio station that broadcasts through myspace 24/7 and they are going to broadcast the show as well. And it's going to happen simultaneously, pretty much globally.
Then we are going to post it up on Time4Hemp.com Saturday night. We put a new show every week. We encourage people to go by every Friday or so, or again, subscribe to our RSS feeds so they know when there is a new show up there and you can find us on iTunes.
I appreciate you bringing that to everyone's attention. Big show, too. A lot of the founders of the marijuana movement doing the presentations: we have got Marc Emery coming on, Keith Stroup, Ed Rosenthal, Ethan Nadelmann, Eddie Lepp, maybe even Willie Nelson, who knows, he might popping up there as well.
Dean Becker: Well, I tell you what, Casper, thank you s much. Once again that website, Time4Hemp.com. Casper, we'll be in touch.
Casper Lietch: I love you for having me on as a guest. Keep strong everybody.
It's time to play Name That Drug by its Side Effects!
Rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, yellow eyes, swelling of the gum, hoarseness, [dark] hearing and fainting, fever, irregular heartbeat, mental or mood changes, seizure and death.
The answer: from the UCB group, Zizol, for asthma.
Dean Becker: Well, we haven't talked to him for a few weeks, but there's some amazing news breaking up in Rhode Island and to tell us about it, we have the Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, Mr. Bruce Mirken. What's going on, Bruce?
Bruce Mirken: The state of Rhode Island just became the first state in the US ever to take an existing medical marijuana law and expand it to allow state licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. They did it by over riding the governor's veto.
In the state house of representatives the vote was unanimous, 67 to 0 to over ride the governor's veto; in the state senate there were I think 3 votes against at 35-4. So just an amazing vote, so shortly, in Rhode Island, medical marijuana patients will have the option of either growing their own medicine or obtaining it from a compassion center, as it's called, licensed and regulated by the State of Rhode Island.
Dean Becker: Now, the governor vetoed this bill but it wasn't but just a couple of days until the legislature over rode it, right?
Bruce Mirken: It took just a few days and what is interesting about this is, of course, he's vetoed every medical marijuana bill. He vetoed the original bill in 2006. He turned around and then when they made it permanent, the first bill had a 1 year sunset, they made it permanent in 2007 – he vetoed that. They over rode him and they over rode him again this time.
Each time, the votes get more overwhelming, which I think is the answer to all the stuff we hear in other states where we are still trying to get a medical marijuana law passed. The police always come up with these bizarre horror stories about how this will flood our state with pot and all of kids will turn into druggies, et cetera, et cetera. And, of course, none of this happens. If it was happening in Rhode Island, they wouldn't keep passing these bills by unanimous votes.
Dean Becker: Well, Bruce, do you think if 49 of the states vote for medical marijuana that the feds will finally get on board?
Bruce Mirken: Well, you know, I think the feds are beginning to move. I mean, part if the reason this happened is because the attorney general of the United States has said publicly more than once they are not going to spend any justice department resources going after people who's actions are legal under state law.
I think that has given the legislature in Rhode Island the feeling that it is safe to do this and I think there is going to be a snow ball effect. I think we are going to see more of these things happening and sooner or later, federal law will be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.
Dean Becker: The reason I said 49, is because I live in Texas and I don't think we are ever going to pull our heads out, but tell us about some of the other states that have marijuana laws in the works.
Bruce Mirken: You know, there are medical marijuana bills moving ahead in a bunch of states. Very close to passage in New Hampshire, they have just been trying to figure out how to deal with the governor, who raised a bunch of objections. They have got a conference committee report now that should answer those, we hope.
Bills are moving forward in Delaware where there is a hearing later this week. North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania - I am almost having trouble keeping track.
Dean Becker: Well, I know you guys at the Marijuana Policy Project are doing your best to help these efforts to move forward. Please, give us your website where folks can more.
Bruce Mirken: Sure. People can find us on the web at mpp.org. Triple W dot MPP dot ORG and please do check us out and sign up for email alerts.
Dean Becker: Gotta go but please remember 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.