Cultural Baggage July 18, 2010

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.

Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. It promises to be a great show here. In just a little while, we’re going to hear from some gentleman who are setting up a new university here in Texas and neighboring states to educate folks about the marijuana business. It’s MedCan University. We’ll hear from Mr. Dante Picazo and someone you’ve heard from before, a somewhat regular guest on our show, Attorney Jeff Blackburn.

Yet first, I have a couple of thoughts I’d like to share with you and I think something that is very germane. It’s a little interview I did here recently. Let’s go to those tracks first.


One of the guests how has been with the Drug Truth Network for the longest is Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge who is now retired. He’s now a drug policy specialist working for our behalf in the halls of the US congress and he now heads up Citizens Opposing Prohibition. Welcome, Howard Wooldridge.

Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge: Thanks, Dean. It’s good to be back with you.

Dean Becker: Howard, over the years we’ve talked about the fact that you have never used cannabis, but you made a trip to Oregon in the not too distant past and you got a story to share with us, do you not?

Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge: Yes, I did. I was invited out to Oregon by MAMA’s Sandee Burbank and for two weeks I spent time with some wonderful activists out there, medical marijuana patients.

There I learned that God’s medicine is so useful, in so many ways. Specifically for me, I’ve got kind of a bad right shoulder and they were able to show me that putting it on as a salve has the exact same effect as ibuprofen, like three Advil and the effects don’t migrate from your shoulder to your brain, so you stay completely sober. It doesn’t go through your liver. Once again, certainly proving to me, personally, that God’s medicine is often far superior to store bought pills.

Dean Becker: The other day, we were talking about the fact that the modern law enforcement officers seem a bit more compassionate in the way they go about handling their duties. Do you want to talk about that?

Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge: Yes, when I was a police officer in the seventies, eighties and nineties, our job was exclusively about public safety. When we would run upon a case, often, like a traffic accident or somebody got drunk or stupid and crashed into a tree or whatever else. As long or the person didn’t hurt or kill somebody else, we didn’t have a lot of compassion. We were more likely to make a joke about it as opposed to having any feelings of, you know, like too bad for the kid or too bad for whoever.

Over the decades now, forty years of this Drug War, there’s something, a strange chemistry going on where now a significant number of police officers feel it’s their duty to try to correct stupid. A person whose got a problem, a drug problem, they now believe that the best course of action, “Hi, I’m from the government. I’m here to help you by putting you in jail because you are putting something in your body which we feel is not good for you”.

This has been a significant change for a lot of police officers over the past, oh, roughly twenty years. Like we see, like a good report by Radley Balko of Reason, my profession is entering one hundred to one and fifty homes everyday on a SWAT raid, in addition to, of course, thousands and thousands of cars are gone into on traffic stops and thousands of pedestrians on our city streets, like in New York and other places.

Cops just walk up and say, “I’m going to search you” and/or “Show me your marijuana and I won’t arrest you”. We’ve really developed a brand new mentality that is quite alien and foreign to me, in that, we now believe we have a duty for your personal safety. That’s scary because you know, if the government says it needs to protect you from your own stupidity, the logical conclusion of course is that we should make alcohol and tobacco illegal. You know their trying to make salt a little bit illegal. This is a scary, slippery slope as far as I am concerned.

Dean Becker: Now Howard, you talked about all of the instances of SWAT teams making those raids and in all too many instances it’s where people have a similar green product which gives them benefit. Am I correct?

Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge: Oh sure. The vast majority of people arrested for prohibited substances, of course, is cannabis, it’s marijuana. As we saw in that terrible raid in Columbia where they simply, off hand, shot and killed the family dog and terrorized the family, the little boy there. Here in DC, of course, we had the mayor have two dogs shot, one of them running away. That’s just kind of standard operating procedure.

We’ve completely, as a profession, lost our way, in terms of, we’re supposed to be there to protect and serve. Now we have become an agency which is more “search and arrest”. If people, dogs or whatever else gets hurt in the process, we really don’t care. It’s almost like we’re on some type of a jihad mission and God’s on our side so no matter what we do, we’re going to be forgiven for any sins, if you will.

Dean Becker: Alright, once again, we’ve been speaking to Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge, now retired. He heads up Citizens Opposing Prohibition. Howard, please, give us your website.

Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge:


(game show music)

It’s time to play, Name that Drug by its Side Effect.

Lightheadedness, shakiness, headache, nausea, tiredness, fluid retention, anemia, pregnancy for pre-menopausal women, bone fractures, dark urine, yellowed skin, angina, myocardial infarction, heart failure and death.


Time’s up. The answer from Glaxo Smith Kline: Avandia for diabetes.

Please be advised that Avandia now has a black box warning label per the dictates of the FDA.


(country music)

(singing) War is peace
Peace through war
A hundred years of prohibition
At least a hundred years more

We’ve got to fund the terrorists and gangs
To save the kids
We’ve got to do the same damn thing


Alright my friends, it ain’t exactly a hoedown. You are listening to the Cultural Baggage show on the Drug Truth Network. We do have with us in-studio, Attorney Val Zuniga here in Houston. I caught his sign on the freeway and he’s going to be our guest on Century of Lies. I think he’s going to contribute a couple of cents worth of discussion during this conversation but I want to welcome first, Dante Picazo he heads up this new outfit, MedCan University as well as one of his attorneys, famous from the Tulia case, Mr. Jeff Blackburn. Welcome both of you gentlemen.

Dante Picazo: Thank you, Dean.

Jeff Blackburn: Thanks a million for having us on Dean.

Dean Becker: Oh no, it’s an honor to have you guys with us. Dante, I want to go to you first. Please outline to folks what this MedCan University is about.

Dante Picazo: Well, the genesis of MedCan University has been out of pure need. The tremendous amount of bogus information that we receive on a daily basis from most people in the cannabis industry. Pro or against or in any place where they are, it’s false information.

To give you an example, on October the 19th 2009, the Obama administration sent a mandate that said that actually the dollars that we’re spending, that the federal government was spending and the resources to arrest people that had an ounce a marijuana or something like that, it was just not the priority of the administration.

Well, a lot of people thought that now, under the Obama administration, that medical marijuana is legal. They really don’t know that President Obama or his administration did not change the law.

Consequently, people are making a great amount of mistakes. Since the laws have been a bit confusing and they seem to be changing on a daily basis, with California under Proposition 215 and Colorado and Washington DC and many new states joining this movement, people really need to know the Truth.

We call this the new or other face of marijuana. We don’t talk about the marijuana that’s given to teenagers in the schools, purchased in the dark alleys at eleven o’ clock at night from dealers and the marijuana that indirectly kills people. We abhor that. We definitely do not want a wonderful medication in the hands of drug dealers.

Consequently, we have created a university. We have created classes that people can come in on their weekends, Saturdays and Sundays. So, they can truly understand what exactly is happening with the industry.

There is a medication called Sativex that has been prescribed to patients in Canada, for quite a while now. Also, it was approved in the UK and apparently it’s going to be utilized pretty soon in France, Spain and Italy. According to some literature that I have received, it’s already in Phase 3 of clinical trails in the United States.

So we may have cannabis legal for everybody in the country, out of Walgreen’s or CVS a early as a year or two.

Dean Becker: As I understand it, that product is going to be distributed by Bayer, if I heard right. Now, that was Dante Picazo who heads up MedCan University.

We also have on line Attorney Jeff Blackburn. Most of you have heard him on this show before and I am certain that you’ve heard about his involvement with the fabled Tulia case. Welcome, Jeff Blackburn.

Jeff Blackburn: Well, thanks a million for having me on again, Dean.

Dean Becker: Jeff, I wanted folks to realize, that despite the fact that we don’t quite have medical marijuana law here in the state of Texas, you were able to obtain an acquittal on a gentleman on medical marijuana grounds, so to speak. Were you not?

Jeff Blackburn: That’s right. I think, as far as we know, that was the first medical marijuana necessity defense that was successful. I think that other lawyers – I’m hopeful always – that other people have seen that example and are probably doing the same thing. Sometimes it’s hard to for the word to get out.

Dean Becker: Well, sure.

Jeff Blackburn: Well, you know the verdict and the verdicts that we’re getting, are a reflection of what we also see in the polls right now. It’s very important to think about this in the terms of what Dante is doing with MedCan. I think this is a very exciting development because of this.

Dean Becker: Well, I do too. When I first heard about this, I think there were four or five cities within Texas that were listed in the schedule for the seminars and yet because of the response, it’s now even branching out into other nearby states. You want to tell us about that, Dante?

Dante Picazo: Absolutely. We’re going to start on August the 28th and the 29th in Dallas and God willing and hopefully, we will be in Austin on September the 25th and 26th. In the next month it will be Houston, San Antonio and El Paso and then we’re going to other areas that are very close to Texas. Such as Arkansas, Oklahoma and the last, perhaps five years, most of us have been flying to California to Oaksterdam University to try to understand this magnificent, beautiful and also profitable industry.

We thought, why don’t we provide this service to the people in Texas? So, we don’t have to travel so far to understand something that is probably going to happen in a little, in a different way than it has happened in California, when God willing, it comes to Texas.

As a matter of fact, we are preparing to present two different bills as early as Monday the 26th at 2PM at the Capitol Building and the presenter is going to be Mr. Clif Deuvall, he’s the founding, Executive Director of NORMAL of Waco. He’s introducing a bill for medical marijuana. It’s going to be given to Steven Albright who is the chief of staff for Senator Robert Nichols.

The following day, the Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care is introducing another medical marijuana bill and this is going to be said from 7:30 to 9:00 PM and it’s going to be in Austin also. The address is 5555 North Lamar, Suite L137. We really need to be there. We really need to be supporting these people that want to bring medical marijuana to Texas.

Again, this is something that we, people that could utilize this medication, need it desperately.

Dean Becker: Well, folks this show seems to be centered around Texas but I guess the fact that MedCan University is going to be doing seminars in other states, kind of nationalizes it.

I often bring Houston and Texas into focus because we’re bad examples. We’re examples not to follow but if we can make those changes here, it’s like a like a reverse of the Frank Sinatra Song. If we can break it here or make it here, we can make it anywhere.

I think this is a bold move and I want to pat you guys in the back for taking this step. I think you will find plenty of people out there ready to educate themselves. I was just out touring some the hydro shops, the grow shop providers, if you will. They have magazines, huge, hundred page magazines, thick, full color magazines that they’re giving away.

They don’t have pictures of marijuana in there but you know what they’re advertising this for. You know there are all kinds of watering and nutrients and every kind of lighting system and container and whatever. It’s all designed to make it possible to grow good quality marijuana with in the confines of one’s own home.

Jeff Blackburn, I want to go back to you on something. You were talking about some numbers. I think it was four years ago, that Zogby did a poll right here in Texas and found that 75% of the people were for medical marijuana and I’m sure in the last six years that number has probably increased. Jeff?

Jeff Blackburn: Absolutely. Absolutely. Here’s what you have to understand that this a problem that all those of us, in all of our various walks of life, lawyer, educator, business men like Dante, all of us have been trying to find a way. I mean, we all know that the people are with us on this. People, not just in other states, but in our very state, right here, think that in their vast majority, marijuana prohibition is stupid.

Certainly, when you poll them about medical use cases and to me, these are very close to me because I’ve gotten to know a lot of clients that who are very sick and very much in suffering and suffer a great deal. They can only be redeemed, really and healed through this powerful, natural, very, very useful substance. It’s given me a different take on it.

This is clearly an idea that’s right and we all agree with that. The question has been, so what, what do we do about that? We have the people, I think. How do we politically organize a process to make this happen? I think a big part of the problem has been that a lot of the folks that have been out in front on this, have been frankly, kind of exotic, hard for the average voter to relate to.

We have numbers of regular folks out there but what they see is some pretty, what they would perceive as kind of “out there, nutty people maybe and they say, “Well, they’re not speaking for us”. What we’re seeing now is, regular people, professional people, like Dante, now emerging as spokespeople of, I think, that very reasonable middle class, middle group of people.

That’s why I’m convinced that we’re going to – I mean, good ideas in Texas, rarely agree, Ok? I believe we’re going to get to a place, maybe not this session, but certainly by the next, where the good idea, that a well regulated, professionally operated, medical marijuana program is right – is going to come to Texas.

Dean Becker: You know, the fact is, that it’s been said that, 60-70% of profits these barbarous cartels are making down in Mexico comes from the sales of marijuana and it just seems that we’re shooting ourselves in the foot on a constant basis.

To underline what you’re saying, there was an e-mail I picked up today. It’s talking about veteran’s health administration now tolerates veteran’s use of medicinal cannabis as an adjunct therapy to VA hospital supplied opiates.

This is a brand new story. This is now saying that all of those thousands of our brave men and women coming back with post traumatic stress disorder will be able to use cannabis while they visit those VA hospitals. Your thoughts there, Dante Picazo?

Dante Picazo: Well, I think it’s a great thing and the misconception – I thank Mr. Blackburn for thinking great of what we’re doing. He is a very knowledgeable man. He has done beautiful work for the cannabis movement in the state of Texas and we are very, very lucky to have him as a legal entrepreneur in this beautiful industry.

Again, to answer you question, Dean, this is something beautiful. The misconception of cannabis actually makes people hungry, so they can endure, so they can withstand the pain when they are going through their chemotherapy treatment. That is so far behind. The doctors in the United States and many other countries, they have actually discovered that THC can actually help cancer in more than just giving people back their appetite.

So, absolutely, it is a great medicine and it doesn’t just have to be smoked. As a matter of fact, people will be incredibly happy when they come to our university and they discover that now you can use a vaporizer or that you can do your popcorn with cannabis powder. There are tinctures that most of the people that have multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy are putting a drop of the tincture of cannabis in a mixture with alcohol and it mitigates the pain of their next seizure.

So, I think it is all, let me use the word ignorance without insulting anybody because that’s not what we do but it’s just the lack of knowledge that we have on this magnificently beautiful miracle drug the things that – or how it can be utilized.

Again, to answer your question, I think it’s a beautiful thing.

Dean Becker: Thank you, Dante Picazo. Now, I don’t know if you guys had a chance to hear, the had that opening segment with former Officer Howard Wooldridge. You know, I’ve known Howard for over ten years and I always kind of teased him, “You mean you never even smoked pot?” and the truth is he still hasn’t.

Yet, when he was up in Oregon, he got a little jar of this green salve that he now rubs on his shoulder and it takes away the pain. It takes away the need for these other medications that can harm your liver and kidneys and who knows what. We’ve been fooling ourselves, that we’ve been harming ourselves for decades. Have we not Mr. Blackburn?

Jeff Blackburn: Oh absolutely. You know, I’ll tell you, one of those things that Howard reported about that’s really important. If you think about it, the more momentum our movement has, in some ways, can be judged – I’d say the level of momentum we have can be judged by the sort of crazy, last gasp resistance being made by the very hard core of the police establishment.

I am actually, very optimistic, I think that with – part of our problem has been and I just want to throw this out for all the listeners, part of our problem has been that we are defensive sometimes. We respond to a lot of insanity from prohibition authorities and in doing that we become negative.

We talk about how awful the Drug War is and everything else. I think what it’s time to do is – and this my sound odd coming from an opponent of police abuse like me, but I think it is time to take a really positive approach, to explain to people on a very grassroots level what the true benefits of this amazing substance are.

I think that, I haven’t seen anybody yet arise to do that before Dante stepped up and assembled this incredible group of people, doctors and all kinds of folks ready to do that. That’s going to be what it takes to change the law in Texas and I think we’re going to get it done.

Dean Becker: You know I think what really irked Howard more than anything, a few years back, his horse Misty, the one he rode across America twice to talk about the need to end this Drug War but his horse Misty, had a very lame foot. There was talk of putting her down.

He feels certain that if had had that same cannabis salve to use on his horse that it might have mitigated that circumstance as well. He’s coming around. He’s still not smoking but he knows now the positive properties of cannabis.

I tell you what, Dante, we just got a few minutes left. I want to give you the chance to talk about the upcoming schedule for these seminars. The dates, the cities and point folks towards the website.

Dante Picazo: Well, absolutely, people can find everything regarding our curriculum, our classes and our university on

The phone number is 214-494-4222.

The classes in Dallas will be August 28th and 29th. Then we go to Austin Texas on September the 25th and 26th. Then it will be in Houston, your hometown on October the 30th and the 31st. In San Antonio from the 27th and the 28th in December and the 18th and 19th in El Paso Texas.

Dean Becker: Alright and as you said, further down the road, I guess, beginning in 2011, it’ll be Arkasas, Oklahoma and –

Dante Picazo: and Florida.

Dean Becker: And Florida. Wow. So, Ok, this is starting to speak to the resounding truth. I think that’s echoing all across America. People understand this they are kind of constrained by, what I call this kind of this quasi religion of Drug War from speaking what they know to be Truth.

They don’t want to be demonized or singled out as, I don’t know, “morning crack machines in the junior high”, that’s the old phase, isn’t it Jeff?

Jeff Blackburn: Oh yeah.

Dean Becker: The fact of the matter is that the truth is on our side. We want to take away these criminals’ ability to thrive from our ignorance. That’s really the key point, I think.

A quick thought, a recent publication, I’ve lost the publication’s name, but it’s by Paul Armentano and he’s talking about the further need for scientific study on the of efficacy of marijuana. He says the real challenge is demanding that pundits, politicians in the media, actually pay attention to the research that is presently available. Because it’s already a slam-dunk, isn’t it gentleman?

Jeff Blackburn: Oh, absolutely. Listen, there is already a huge body of information not just anecdotal, story by story information. It’s out there. That’s just a stall tactic right now for politicians who just don’t wan to make the next step – yet.

Dante Picazo: Dean, there have been 17,500 studies on cannabis in the last thirty-five years. Our government and our doctors know much more about cannabis than we do know about aspirin.

Dean Becker: And aspirin is still giving some of these, even hard drugs, a run for their money in so far as the damage they cause. Boy, I tell you what gentlemen, we have about a minute and a half left here.

I want to let folks know that I will be speaking at these seminars as well. As my listeners know, I am a grower. I did it for thirty five years. I’ve given it up since I got into radio, so I think the statute of limitations has expired, hasn’t it Jeff?

Jeff Blackburn: Oh, I think so. (laughs) I think we’re Ok on that.

Dean Becker: Alright.

Dante Picazo: Let me tell you real quick, Dean, if you don’t mind.

Dean Becker: Well, we’ve got a minute. Hurry up.

Dante Picazo: We will be teaching cannabis politics, horticulture, cooking, advertising and marketing, the science of cannabis, federal law vs. state law, legal rights, ethics, history, real estate, security, profits. It’s going to be a magnificent seminar.

Dean Becker: Folks, again, I urge you to visit the website. Real quick, Dante, that website?

Dante Picazo:

Dean Becker: Alright gentlemen, Mr, Jeff Blackburn, Mr. Dante Picazo, I thank you for being with us on Cultural Baggage. A couple of quick notes to share here:

Next week on Cultural Baggage, out guest will be Len Richmond. He’s a producer of a new movie called, What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?

We’ll also hear from Michelle Alexander about the new “Jim Crow” and please stay tuned for the Century of Lies, which follows next on many of the Drug Truth stations.

Our guest will be Val Zuniga, Attorney at Law, heads up,

You guys are the answer. You know that. Get yourself educated. Tune into these conferences. Be a part of the solution and don’t be a part of the problem. That’s really what we’ve got to do. As always, I remind you because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. 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 is produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.

Drug Truth Network programs are archived at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript provided by: Ayn Morgan of

Tap dancing… on the edge of…