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COLOFF: Welcome back to the program. Local talk radio on KCNZ. Talking about the medicinal uses of marijuana. Should it be legalized in Iowa? It has been in Arizona and California. Is this sweeping the nation? Is it going to be everywhere soon? Well, not in Iowa probably. It sounds like it won't come up this year. We've got a caller on the phone. Allen in on line two, but first off we want to give the other Allen, Allen Helmers, our guest here in the studio, a chance to answer the question. A caller called in and wanted to know if he would support legalization of crack cocaine if it helped make someone feel better. Or, how about heroin? What if that helped someone feel better?
HELMERS: Cocaine is already available through your doctor. Crack cocaine, there's really no medical use for it, according to any literature that I've ever read. Yes, I would support heroin, which I do believe is available through doctors in some states, it was on the Arizona referendum, for chronically ill people, under a doctor's supervision. I don't think heroin belongs on the street, as well as any other drug. It's too easily abused.
COLOFF: Uh hum. And, Ron, any comment on that? What if we passed this, and then we have the next group that want to legalize something else?
CORBETT: Well, that's the point I've been trying to make, that all the safeguards that the legislature, whoever, other legislators around the country can put in, this issue it just seems to me, at least the way I understand it, and what I've been able to read about it, that it's way open to abuse and misuse through the process, with today anything being classified as a medical use. I mean, so for you to start saying that, well, only people that have chemotherapy are allowed to use it. Well, what happens if someone develops carpal tunnel and they have some extreme pain in their wrist? And then some person that has it says, well, these drugs aren't working for me, so I want to use marijuana. And so, I mean, where do you draw the line on an issue like this?
COLOFF: Uh hum.
CORBETT: And, I don't know where you draw the line. So, rather than trying to guess where to draw the line, we've elected not to authorize this in Iowa. Let some of the other states, through their referendum process, it seems to be the only way they can get it passed, let them try it. And, in three years from now, we'll have an understanding. And, in three years from now we'll have some results. Was it abused, wasn't it abused? All these questions that I've been asking and we've been bouncing back and forth, maybe we'll have some more information. So let's hold off for three or four years and see how it works in some other states.
HELMERS: Do you think that doctors are over-prescribing morphine and other pain killers for people with carpal tunnel now?
CORBETT: Oh, I don't know. I don't know.
HELMERS: Well, there's the point. I mean, if the doctor is prescribing the marijuana, that's the whole point. You must have missed 60 Minutes last night. It started out with a great article about how America is killing its sick people because they're afraid to prescribe pain medication. It was a terrific piece there. I wish you would have seen it.
CORBETT: Yeah, I did miss it.
COLOFF: Okay, we've got another call on the line here, and if you want to get in on the discussion, 277-1918 or 1-800-913-9479. And, Allen from Waterloo, thank you for holding Allen. What's your comment here on the air?
ALLEN: Well, I just wanted to comment on the idea of when will our legislators understand that prohibition does not work, it never has worked, and never will work? These people are going against historical and natural law, and until they come around to this understanding, that it is honest education that works to help people out, prohibition will not work. Since they put a profit into it, drugs will always be out there. The only way to really get a handle on it is to go ahead and let the people do what they want to do, but honestly education them about it.
COLOFF: Mr. Corbett, do you think this is prohibition, or just...
CORBETT: Well, what you're advocating is, what the caller is advocating is legalization of all drugs then. Correct?
COLOFF: Caller, are you there?
ALLEN: I think they should legalize marijuana. I do believe that they should go ahead and decriminalize everything else. Yes, honest education is the only way to do it.
HELMERS: Because it doesn't make sense locking a person with three ounces of marijuana up for five years, and locking a person who raped a five year old kid up for two. I don't see what's going on. You guys got to start thinking about the laws you're writing.
CORBETT: Well, we do. And...
HELMERS: Well, that's what's going on.
CORBETT: And you know there's a lot of problems out there with substance abuse. Allen, you've already pointed that out. You got hit by a drunk driver.
HELMERS: And you gave her seven days in jail.
CORBETT: People will abuse alcohol. They will abuse other substances. And, they will abuse the right to use marijuana for medical purposes. So, I think we've proven it. They'll be abuses in it. Now, how do you handle the abuses?
HELMERS: Well, people abuse food. People abuse anything there is that can be abused. How do we stop all the abuse?
COLOFF: Allen, are you still on the phone Allen?
COLOFF: Okay, do you think that, you mentioned legalizing marijuana for all purposes, is that correct?
COLOFF: Do you think that if it was legalized for medicinal purposes you'd have a greater case to make to have it legalized for all?
ALLEN: I think it would probably help out, yes. I mean, obviously, this drug war that we've got now doesn't work, hasn't, and it won't. So, let's start thinking of some more positive approaches, instead of this negative idea of prohibition.
COLOFF: So, this could be the first step in your goal to have it legalized for everyone?
ALLEN: I mean, well, you also have to look at the history of things. Like, marijuana basically didn't exist until in the 1930s. The historical name is hemp.
COLOFF: Uh hum.
ALLEN: And, there's two forms of hemp. There's an industrial hemp, and there's a medicinal hemp.
ALLEN: And when they changed the name in the Congress, they changed the name to marijuana and made it all illegal.
ALLEN: What they've done is held back the farmers from growing the industrial form of hemp also. The Iowa Farm Bureau has just passed a resolution calling for studies and research into it for growing it here in Iowa.
COLOFF: Okay, Allen, thanks for the call. Appreciate it.
ALLEN: Thank you.
COLOFF: Okay, Mr. Helmers. We heard from the caller that this could be the first step to legalizing marijuana for everyone, and it sounds like he was talking about letting farmers grow hemp for whatever purpose. Now one of Mr. Corbett's concerns was that this was kind of the first step to an explosion here, and drug paraphernalia, drug use. Do you agree with that?
HELMERS: Ah, no I don't. I think that the drug use will end up going down over it.
COLOFF: It will go down?
HELMERS: I do. I really believe so. And, that's been the way it has gone in the Netherlands and other European countries who are legalizing. There's a couple more, Belgium legalized just a while back. It doesn't pay to put non-violent, peaceful people in prison. Most enlightened societies are aware of that. And I'd like to get back on one point that Mr. Corbett made earlier. The people who backed these resolutions in California and Arizona, the political people, a few of them were Reagan's ex-secretary of state George Schultz, former U.S. Senators Barry Goldwater, Allen Cranston, and Dennis DeConcini, and Nobel economist Milton Friedman, and conservative William Buckley. The people who bank rolled it, like George Soros, one of America's richest men, contributed $550,000. Peter Lewis, Cleveland Insurance tycoon, gave a half a million. John Sperling, president of Phoenix, chipped in, as did Lawrence Rockefeller, Nelson's brother. Don't tell me that's a line up of busy minded pot-head hippies. I mean, the problem is you're trying to turn it into a Cheech and Chong show.
CORBETT: No, that's not...
HELMERS: There's a medical need, and people are being punished in this country. Is the next step for me to call Dr. Kevorkian? Or, are we going to do like the Nazis did and load sick people in the back of trucks and run the exhaust up into them, so when you get them to the hospital you don't got nothin' to do but bury 'em?
COLOFF: Okay, Mr. Helmers...
CORBETT: Well, first of all, I never said anything about Cheech and Chong or how I've tried to frame this issue. Now, don't think that I'm trying to make this into a Cheech and Chong show. I haven't said anything about that. I've been pretty open with saying there's been studies on both sides that have showed, yes, there is some medicinal value, and other studies that have said no. I haven't tried to make this a partisan issue. I haven't been in any way...
HELMERS: I didn't say you did. That's the tones I've been getting out of the media.
CORBETT: Out of the what? Out of the media?
HELMERS: From other politicians.
CORBETT: Well, you pointed out, that there's, I didn't say that this was a partisan issue. I know there's Republicans that want to use it, want to legalize this. And there's Democrats that do, and there's some on the other side that don't. President Clinton doesn't think it should be done. His chief drug czar, Barry McCaffrey, doesn't think it should be done. Yes, former Senator DeConcini, he thought it should be. Yeah, there's honest people can have honest disagreements. And, I haven't criticized anyone for wanting to push this at all. What I've said is, where do you draw the line on this slippery slope? How do you prevent the fraud?
HELMERS: Let's make it...
CORBETT: In the system?
HELMERS: Put it, reschedule it on the same level with cocaine, morphine, or any of your other Schedule II drugs.
COLOFF: Okay, we're going to take a call here. We've had Andy waiting on line one for quite a while now. 277-1918 or 1-800-913-9479. Andy from Waterloo, you're on the air. How do you feel about this issue?
ANDY: Well, I agree with that first caller. I can't understand why this man keeps talking about prohibiting it. If you're going to, if these people really need marijuana, and physicians say they do, then they should be able to have it. But, hey, let's quit fooling around, that's not prohibiting it.
COLOFF: But, Andy, what about if you were laying in bed and you said that you needed it, and how can I prove that you don't? What would happen if that happened?
ANDY: Well, I have a doctor. And, if he says I need it, then fine.
COLOFF: But, don't you think people lie to their doctors once in a while?
ANDY: That's right.
COLOFF: Well, how do we prevent that?
ANDY: You don't prevent liars. I mean, look at the politicians we got here today.
COLOFF: (laughter) Well, that's a cheap shot, Andy.
CORBETT: What have I lied on?
ANDY: You haven't lied to me, sir.
COLOFF: Mr. Corbett, go ahead.
CORBETT: You said, look at the politicians. What have I lied to you this morning?
ANDY: You haven't lied, sir, but Senator Harkin did a lot of it.
COLOFF: Well, we're getting a little off the topic now.
ANDY: Yeah. But my feeling is this, that if you, this is the first caller said, that if the doctors say you need it, you need it. And just because people lie to the doctors, that doesn't mean that my statement is wrong. If the doctors say you need it, and if I need marijuana, fine, if the doctor says so. That's the only thing. And, talking about profit, my goodness, look at what the dopers are making today. The prostitutes, the pushers, out on the streets. They're making big profits. They're robbing out homes in order to get that dope money.
COLOFF: Andy, I appreciate your call. Thanks for chiming in.
COLOFF: Okay, Andy from Waterloo. And we are going to be back, we've got to take a break here for another CNBC business report, and have more from Ron Corbett, Republican from Cedar Rapids is the House Speaker, and from Allen Helmers who's an advocate for the medicinal use of marijuana. More of the program on local talk radio coming up here on KCNZ. It's now ten minutes before the hour of ten o'clock.
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