Medical Marijuana Interview with Activist & Hero Rudy Reyes

DFW NORML sat down with Rudy Reyes, the nationally recognized hero of the 2003 Cedar Fires turned medical marijuana activist while in Texas recently. Reyes spent much of the ’00s as a local politician and rabble-rouser, running for both San Diego County supervisor and city councilman of Santee, a San Diego suburb. His experiences as a trauma patient –– he suffered third degree burns while trying to rescue victims of the 2003 Cedar wildfires –– are what catapulted him into the role of citizen advocate for the healing powers of cannabis.

A lot of politicians look at medical marijuana patients and say, ‘You look fine to me,'” he told DFW Norml’s Pete Marrero. “They experience ‘visual discrimination,’ because their health problems are on the inside of their bodies. Well, you can look at me and tell exactly what’s wrong.”

When Reyes was first hospitalized with his burns, he suffered near-fatal side effects from the narcotic pain relief drugs doctors were using. He was eventually approved for a program of cannabis treatment by the University of Southern California at San Diego. The medical marijuana proved a smashing success, but Rudy’s decision to grow his own plants prompted federal DEA officials to raid both his home and the medical marijuana dispensers he worked with. Charges against him were dropped, but only after officials determined that prosecuting Reyes, a first responder severely injured in the line of duty, would create “a circus,” according to the San Diego County district attorney.

The whole mess prompted Reyes to become involved with California politics at the city and county levels. He urges all cannabis users to educate themselves on the democratic process because “there are certain rights that they can’t take away from us,” he said. Exercise your citizen rights and let your voices be heard on the side of reforming America’s marijuana laws.

Special thanks to Feed Your Head for inviting us to bring Rudy to speak at their drum circle and to Hempy’s Emporium for hosting our interview. Herb’s the word!

DFW NORML Interviews Hip Hop Legend Immortal Technique

DFW Norml recently had a sit-down chat with the New York-based Peruvian American rapper Immortal Technique before his performance at Trees. As you’ll see, IT’s views on federal drug laws and their connections to various social ills are wide-ranging and passionate. Indeed, anyone who’d dismiss him as just another pissed-off hip hop artist isn’t hearing the frustration at injustice that he’s expressing here. He wants to be part of the solution, and he’s asking his fans – especially cannabis dabblers – to get involved in the reform movement.

As IT sees it, cannabis prohibition doesn’t just prevent citizens from gaining legal access to a natural herb with proven medicinal (and, of course, recreational) benefits. Prohibition helps fuel the whole incarceration industry by selectively targeting, prosecuting, and detaining people of color and those on the lower end of the income scale for non-violent “offenses.” (IT, who’s spent time in prison, wisely notes that inmates “separate themselves by color but are united by class”). He’s also aware that the powerful pharmaceutical industry and its lobbyists want to sell their own chemical remedies to the public and aren’t too keen on sharing that market with a legalized Uncle Hemp.

None of this means that IT is oblivious to the potential misuse of pot. Like any mind-altering substance, people need to take personal responsibility (“the essence of America,” as he puts it), such as not driving while stoned. And they need to ask themselves if they’re using marijuana, or any substance, to stay isolated from other people – a sure sign of addiction. Even reform advocates need to do some soul-searching. Do we want decriminalization or legalization? The latter opens the door to all kinds of government regulation that could very well affect the quality and supply of the herb.

But the bottom line for IT is: End prohibition and return the hemp plant and all its uses to the people. He’ll use every platform he can find – the stage, the recording studio, and web interviews like these – to continue the fight from where he stands.

So the question now is: How will you help end prohibition?

Herb’s the word.

DFW NORML’s February Meeting Video Recap

The February meeting of DFW Norml took place at Dallas’ Curtain Club with a friendly, enthusiastic crowd of over 120 folks in attendance. Some important business was discussed: DFW Norml executive director Shaun McAlister hosted and discussed plans for our group’s upcoming regional conference June 7-9 in Fort Worth, where activist and radio host “Radical” Russ Bellville (“the independent voice of Marijuana Nation”) has agreed to speak and participate.

DFW NORML’s Deputy Director William Jenkins also confirmed details for the group’s upcoming 420 celebration (on April 20, duh!) at Dallas’ Green Elephant.

Former executive director Larry Talley talked about the Texas Medical Marijuana Act of 2013, filed as a bill with the current state legislature and awaiting a sponsor.

Elizabeth Rodriguez, one of the founding members of DFW NORML encouraged attendees to write, call, or – better yet – have a face-to-face meeting with their state reps about the legislation. (She also assuaged any fears that playing the role of citizen on this particular topic would somehow “out” people as pot smokers.Thankfully, state officials have better things to do than persecute anyone who gets involved in the political process).

Criminal defense attorney & DFW NORML’s Public Information Officer David Sloane then took the mike to recount an incident when a client texted him about where to find acid. David turned it into a teachable moment, offering this bit of sage legal advice to the texter and the audience: “This stuff’s not private at all. Nothing should go in a text message that you wouldn’t put on a billboard across from a police station.”

C.J. Maestas discussed Cash Hyde, formerly the youngest medical marijuana user in the U.S. who bounced back from cancer complications with the help of refined cannabis oil. The re-criminalization of medical marijuana in Montana halted that treatment; Hyde later died. The Cash Hyde Foundation was created to inform patients and their families about cannabis as a viable medical treatment option.

Finally, Shaun honored Larry with “Cannabis All Star” recognition for his work on the Texas Medical Marijuana Act in particular and cannabis legalization in general. Don’t miss the March meeting of DFW Norml!

Photos from DFW NORML’s February Meeting at the Curtain Club

DFW Norml Interviews Waka Flocka Flame

During DFW Norml’s recent backstage chat with Waka Flocka Flame, the Atlanta hip hop artist and animal rights advocate confirmed that you can have too much of a good thing. Flame warns fans about the ass-kicking potential of what he calls “the edibles,” or ingestible cannabis products like brownies, candy, and cookies. One brownie laid out the veteran herb enthusiast for, like, two days. “Man, I was high for no reason,” laughs Flame about his marathon cloud ride. “I woke up the next morning and thought, ‘How the f**k am I still high?'”

While on tour supporting his 2012 album Triple F Life: Friends, Fans and Family, the artist doesn’t have to search too hard for supplies. Sorta like Elvis used to get pelted with panties and hotel room keys when he performed, fans throw blunts and half ounces onstage during his shows. But again, Flame advises moderation and common sense, especially to fans still living under cannabis prohibition in 48 of the fifty states. “People shouldn’t keep their marijuana use a secret,” he said, but “there are certain occasions when you don’t want to walk in smelling like a pound.” A Waka Flocka Flame show is not one of those occasions, by the way.

Special thanks to House of Blues, Doobi.us and PVM Entertainment for making this interview possible.

DL Hughley Sits Down with DFW NORML

When comedian and “cannasseur” D.L. Hughley sat down with DFW Norml before a recent performance at the Addison Improv, he said this about the group’s efforts to legalize cannabis in the Lone Star State: “Well, good luck in Texas!”

But the affable Hughley, who’s seen a complicated range of attitudes toward herb in cities from Dallas to Seattle, also acknowledges that we’re living in a country of rapid social and cultural change: “This is not our father’s America, and I think that’s a good thing.” For him, the use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes should have no more stigma than, say, having a glass of red wine.

Hughley, who’s working on a comedy series for F/X and an animated show for Fox, is the latest performer who’s “come out of the closet” –– or “come out of the clouds,” as he jokingly puts it –– about their enthusiasm for herb. The more celebs who’re willing to stand up and be counted as advocates for pot legalization, the more places like Texas will be willing to relax their attitudes.

Thanks to Doobi.us for shooting, “twoinchfang” for editing and the Addison Improv for hosting us.

Herb’s the word.