Cultural Baggage March 18, 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.
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Hello, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. You may remember a few months back we had Lady Neidpath, Amanda Fielding. She's Director of the Beckley Foundation in the UK, a major drug study outfit and this week we have an extended interview with her, featuring Michael Krawitz. They we're both in Vienna, attending the United Nations Conference on Drugs and how they're determining the next ten years of Drug War, for us all.

We'll have a report from Doug McVay with Drug War Facts, a little bit of this and that. But for now, let's go to Vienna.
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Michael Krawitz here, reporting for Dean Becker, for the Drug Truth radio Network. From Vienna, Austria at the United Nations. Headquarters of the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention and the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board.

I am very pleased and honored to be here today to continue an interview that was done by Dean Becker with Lady Neidpath, Amanda Fielding, from the Beckley Foundation. Reporting about her work with Cannabis, in the Global Cannabis Commission Report of Beckley.

Lady Neidpath, first if you could, maybe you could talk just a little bit to get people caught up that haven't heard the previous report by Dean Becker yet. Although I do refer everyone to the previous report on the website, at the Drug Truth radio Network. Could you please introduce yourself and the Beckley Foundation and subsidiary bodies, that you wish to talk about?

Lady Neidpath: Hello, there. Very pleased to be here. I'm founded in the Beckley Foundation, which delves research into ways in which we can improve drug policy. As well as research into the nearest physiology, underlying altered states of consciousness and I'm here at the UN as a UN Accredited NGO, which means one has the right to present papers and be present at discussions.

We've been presenting here a Beckley Foundation Global Campus Commission Report, which was authored by some of the leading drug policy analysts in the World. What the report has done is, to bring together the latest scientific evidence on all issues surrounding Cannabis that policy makers, and indeed the public, need to know to make better informed decisions.

So the report goes into the harms of Cannabis use, to the user. The different ways in which it is regulated around the world and analyzes the benefits and harms of these different ways. It also goes into possible alternative ways that it could be regulated in the future, in order to give individual countries more freedom in which to devise policies that better affect their individual needs.

Mr. Michael Krawitz: At the time that Dean Becker last interviewed you, you were just completing the commission. Now it's nearly a year later and the commission is now at it's final stages and being released to the Nations of the World. Did you have any preconceived notions that weren't exactly what you found to be the truth about Cannabis in this study?

Lady Neidpath: No, I wouldn't really say that. But I would say that this ten days I've been at this UN meeting, is fairly depressing in a sense, of the possibilities of moving forward in the ways we regulate Cannabis. There seems to be, typically it wasn't mentioned in any of the declarations. I think there was one very, very minor declaration from the Japanese saying, 'We should look into the control of hemp seeds', which is a fairly side issue. Otherwise it's unmentioned.

It's basically, Cannabis is the innocent in the room. It is in fact, the drug that maintains the War on Drugs. It consists of eighty percent of all illegal drugs used. Basically roughly, now it's a hundred and sixty-six million people, estimated by the UN that use Cannabis worldwide, out of an estimated two hundred million who use all illegal drugs. So that if Cannabis wasn't in the system, the system would be so small, it would nearly represent one percent of the global population and wouldn't warrant these vast sums of money and human suffering, which is involved in maintaining the war on drugs.

I suppose one could question whether that is why the UN is so determined not to discuss the question of Cannabis, at their ten yearly review of drug policy. It is fairly amazing that it has not been discussed. Mr. Costa, in his introductory remarks only reference, which came near to Cannabis, was when he was saying that, 'To look at more liberal ways of regulating drugs, was rather like allowing pedophilia and selling of arms.' It's not looking at whether we could investigate alternative ways of regulating how we use Cannabis, in order to bring down harms and protect the public health. That is the point of the report, that we've made.

Mr. Michael Krawitz: Of course, Dr. Costa is the UN Drug Czar. The head of the now UN ODC or UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention. Previously named the UN DCP or the UN Drug Control Program office. Which was very similarly named to the ONDCP, which is the United States Office of the Drug Czar.
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Alright, my friend. You are listening to Cultural Baggage, on the Drug Truth Network. We're tuning in to our friends in Vienna. It's Michael Krawitz interviewing Lady Neidpath, Amanda Fielding. Director of the Beckley Foundation, a major drug study group in the UK. Let's get back to it.
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Michael Krawitz: The Japanese, in their presentation on Hemp seeds, talked about increased risk from higher THC - or more potent marijuana and a possible link to psychosis, or marijuana madness. It is interesting to note that in the United States, one hundred percent THC is available by prescription, in a petroleum oil based synthetic drug, called Marinol. Now I wonder if you have any comments on the possible links between marijuana use - or Cannabis use and psychosis, based on your report?

Lady Neidpath: Yes. The one thing I think the association of Cannabis triggering psychosis has, at least in the UK, been very exaggerated. However, I do think that the higher strands of THC are more likely to trigger a reaction in the vulnerable minority who have a genetic disposition to psychosis.

Actually I'm very, very interested in this question of THC ratio to other cannabinoids. For instance, Cannabidiol CBD. Which is, we're only recently doing research on in these last few year and it is a very highly effective stress reliever. It's Antephialtic and in the natural Cannabis product grown naturally THC and CBD were fairly balanced in the ratio, 50/50. Now the interesting thing in the UK, the home office has just done research on Cannabis taken on the streets and it is very, very high THC and low, or to no, CBD.
We're just starting research in the dispensary in California, to see what is the ratio of THC to CBD being given out there and in the first months analysis, strangely that also came up with almost no CBD showing. I think this is something we need to do more research on and indeed look into going back to the more 'old' type of Cannabis which had a more equal ratio.

Michael Krawitz: There's a very interesting point about CBD, because the Cannabis that's available on the street is grown for the highest level of THC. Because of the illegal markets. I have been told by individuals from the Netherlands, that they would actually like to introduce lower THC Cannabis. So that people could partake of it as a non-medicinal agent and not be so intoxicated, and that the laws as they stand, are actually standing in their way of that activity.
It's also interesting to note that the US Government has never made any mention of any of the other constituents of Cannabis being harmful. The only constituents that they ever talk about being harmful is THC. Which again, makes you scratch your head when you think about Marinol being one hundred percent THC and by the same standard that they are applying are perfectly safe. A Schedule 3 drug in the United States with a very low harm profile, compared to the other drugs of abuse.

In your report on the Global Cannabis Commission, you talk about interacting with Nations and working within these Nations to try to help them understand and find new options for drug policy in dealing with these issues of Cannabis. How is the report being received by these Nations?

Lady Neidpath: I'm going to say, extremely well. We've had several bi-lateral meetings indeed. Today we've got I think six, with various nations around the World. The representatives have done their homework. They've studied what the report says and they are very interested. But nevertheless, the majority of them say that, 'It is not their country's policy to look into alternative methods of regulation.' Although they personally find it very interesting.

I've just come from a meeting just now, when the representative said, 'It's difficult to assess whether a more approach, which decriminalizes or even possibly regulates supply, is possible without having data on how it works.' But that's a very 'catch 22' syndrome because how can you have data on how it works, if one's not allowed to do it in any country, to get the data?

Because the only country, more or less, we've got data on is the Netherlands. But that doesn't have a legal supply. It has a legal possession in small quantities and they've much research done on that. Indeed the research is that, the Netherlands has a much lower use of Cannabis than either the UK or the USA, where the prohibition is much stronger. So one would think that that would indicate that lowering the punishment for use doesn't encourage the prevalence of use, and this is also shown in Australia.

The people I often talk to say, 'That's not evidence enough.' Well then, I'd suggest that a few countries who would like to explore alternative ways of controlling Cannabis supply and production, should be encouraged to do so. So that we do get evidence and we watch it very, very carefully to make sure it doesn't go in the same way as alcohol or tobacco, which is into a high level of abuse.
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Dean Becker: Alright. You're listening to Cultural Baggage on the Drug Truth Network. An aggregate of sixty-one independent stations; Pacifica, college, pirate. We're listening to an interview done by Michael Krawitz. He's talking to Lady Neidpath, Amanda Fielding. Director of the Beckley Foundation in the UK and they're at the UN Convention on Drugs, in Vienna.
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Mr. Michael Krawitz: In your last interview with Dean Becker, you spoke about the Commission on Narcotic Drugs which we are now attending, being a year off. Now that you are coming into the end of this Commission on Narcotic Drugs and you've had meetings throughout this time and have witnessed some of these events, do you have any observations from this point, that would be different than your ideas that you may have had last year, about your relationship and ongoing work with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs?

Lady Neidpath: I have a better idea 'cause I have never actually been to a UN meeting before. The official meeting... Each country has it's five minutes and in fact although the terms have changed, in the Costa kind of welcomes in his speech, a more harm reduction approach. However in the declaration, they cut out harm reduction. So much so that I think it was twenty-six countries led by Germany, made a statement reserving their rights to a harm reduction approach.

So I think I'm right in saying that officially, the declaration has moved slightly back. What I would say from private conversations with the delegates, there is an interest in investigating different ways of approaching the Cannabis issue. It's possible that certain countries, like Brazil and Latin American countries and possibly India and some countries in Europe, we could get together to investigate the possibility of looking at the new Convention for Cannabis.

Since I think our last vote we have, at the Beckley, comprised a new draft Convention for the control of Cannabis, based on the Tobacco Convention. Which it regulates it very carefully and does not permit any form of commercialization, such as advertising or selling to children and it's an approach. Trying to control what sort of Cannabis is produced and labeling what is the THC and CBD content and instead of leaving it in the hands of cartels, it's bringing it into the regulation of government agencies.

It would be interesting to further the investigation, of whether this approach has value and that is what we've largely been doing here. Also we've had two public meetings and many, many private meetings, putting forward the different alternatives one can go down, in the regulation of Cannabis.

Michael Krawitz: Now, big news on this Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting has been the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, and his chewing of the Coca leaves and making it a very strong presentation for his peoples' right to use this plant in their practices and rituals, and medicine, and recreation, and that the using of this Coca leaf in it's natural state, did not constitute a drug or lead to the use of other types of harder concoctions, like cocaine. I'm wondering if the actions of President Morales, in any way affect your work?

Lady Neidpath: I completely sympathize with what he asserts and does. Because indeed, Coca's been used for thousands of years and in the same way as Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in India. Where it is associated very much with both spirituality and medicine, and it is the drug associated with Shiva and now today still, the Brahmins and the Sados use Cannabis regularly.

I think and indeed I suggested to one of the Bolivian ambassadors, who was very interested in the Cannabis Commission and said, 'Probably the way forward for them, would be to denounce the convention in regards to Coca leaf and re-exceed with a reservation on Coca', as is one of the ways we are suggesting that individual countries can approach the Cannabis issue, if they want to.

As indeed in recent years, I spoke to the leader of the opposition in India who felt very, very strongly that Indians' traditional use of these sacred plants should be protected and indeed before criminalization and commercialization came into India, they had no problem with the use of Cannabis and opium.

Michael Krawitz: In the United States, it's no mystery and no secret that many of our most creative individuals use Cannabis. But you have suggested to me, that there may be actually a link between creativity and Cannabis use and that you are indeed studying this with the Beckley Foundation. Can you comment on that?

Lady Neidpath: Yes. As you say, traditionally it has been closely associated with potentiation and creativity. We are, the Beckley is, working with the University of London on a very interesting research project where we surprisingly have permission to investigate six hundred individuals using their own Cannabis. Who we have taken genetic and personality data on and also data on the type of Cannabis they're using and taking the ratios, THC to CBD, and further having a questionnaire and creativity test. We're in the middle of the research and I don't have any results. But we're looking to see if there is a increase potentiation to creativity.

I think these researches, which also look into the potential benefits of these substances, because one might ask, 'Why do a hundred and sixty million people around the world use Cannabis?' Of which, at the very, very most, ten percent receive problems. The rest use one presumes, because they experience benefits and amazingly there's been relatively no research on, 'What are the benefits underlying this wide spread use?' Because maybe we could use the information we get out of that. One, to understand why they use it and Two, to help in the alleviation of suffering in other areas. So that is very much what the Beckley Foundation is focusing on, in our research program.

Michael Krawitz: I want to thank you very much for sharing some thoughts with us today and a little bit of an update on your previous report, with the Drug Truth radio Network and I want to let you close, if you want to have any further comments for our audience, before I say good-bye.

Lady Neidpath: Well, I just would like to say good-bye and thank you very much. I hope something reads slowly or indeed quickly, evolve that the policies which regulate the use of Cannabis, so that innocent people who do harm to anyone are not prosecuted and thereby have their human rights violated.

Michael Krawitz: Thank you very much. This has been Michael Krawitz reporting for Dean Becker, with the Drug Truth radio Network. Over and out, from Vienna.

Lady Neidpath: Is that alright?
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Dean Becker: Yes, it was alright. Once again, that was Michael Krawitz interviewing Lady Neidpath. Amanda Fielding, Director of the Beckley Foundation in the UK. They were attending the UN Conference on Drugs, in Vienna. Thought you did a great job, Michael.
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It's time to play: "Name That Drug - By It's Side Effects!"

Headaches; sore throat; nausea; diarrhea; fever; tiredness; cough; flu like symptoms; painful skin; pneumonia; respiratory problems; COPD; infections caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, cancer and death.

(((gong)))

Time's up! The answer: Abatacept or Orencia

From Bristol-Myers Squibb. For 'Rheumatiz'.
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In April 2006, the Mexican National Legislature approved a measure decriminalizing possession of personal use quantity of controlled substances, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin. As the Associated Press quoted at the time, “Supporters said the law would let police focus on drug smuggling, rather than on busting casual users. The law would also stiffen many drug related penalties. For trafficking, for possession near schools and for possession of even small quantities by government employees. Criminal penalties for drug sales would remain on the books.”

The legislation needed only the signature of Mexican President, Vicente Fox, to become law. The US pressured the Mexican government to kill this move because it discredited our policies. Fox was torn between what he must have known was the intelligent thing to do, and his belief that the Bush Administration would not let him do the right thing. In the end, he took the cowards way out. The bill died by a 'pocket veto'. That is, he left office at the end of 2006, without having either vetoed or signed it.

Fox's successor, Felipe Calderon, immediately pulled the military directly into the drug war. In 2007, the Mexico City newspaper, El Universal, estimated that some two thousand, seven hundred people were executed in drug war violence. In 2008, that number more than doubled to over five thousand, six hundred. According to Reuters, more than one thousand people were killed in January 2009 alone, in Mexican drug war violence. The madness of this drug war must come to an end.

For the Drug Truth Network, this is Doug McVay, Editor of drugwarfacts.org
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{Eternal War - Featuring instrumentation from Mr. Guy Schwartz and Dean Becker doing vocals}

If they stop Afghanistan from growing opium
and they cut down the Columbian cocaine
When Mexico runs out of marijuana
They think we'll quit getting high
But the drug store on the corner's standing by.

Cut me loose, set me free
Judge what I do, not what I put inside of me
Why do you pick my pocket, just let me light my rocket
Who died and made you the boss of me?
Get out of my life, let me be.

VISER and Merck kill more of us than the cartel's crap ever could
They thank us for our silence,
Each years hundred billion dollars
and the chance to do it forevermore
Drugs first eternal war!

Cut me loose, set me free
Judge what I do, not what I put inside of me
Why do you pick my pocket? Just let me light my rocket
Who died and made you the boss of me?
Get out of my life, let me be.

Are we just peasants in the field?
Let's stand for truth or forever kneel
Every 16 seconds we hear the slammin' door
and we owe it all to eternal war.

The first Eternal War!
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Alright. The following comes to us courtesy of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, ssdp.org. It's a 'capture' of General Barry McCaffrey, the former drug czar. He's on a panel and I want you to listen close. He's the one who, basically answers the question.
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Question: Why not just legalized drugs?

General Barry McCaffrey: There's a ten minute answer, there's an hour answer, there's a three day answer and fortunately, since I'm not in public life, I actually don't care. I care about sixth graders thru twelfth graders and if you're forty years old, you're living in Oregon and you have twelve giant pot plants in the back of your log cabin, knock yourself out.
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So when former drug czars really don't give a S***, maybe it's time for us to speak up, stand up and to change this madness.

Thanks again to Michael Krawitz and Lady Neidpath. Once again I remind you, that 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 produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.

Submitted by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org