Dean Becker is a drug reform activist and radio host whose shows Cultural Baggage and Drug War News broadcast on a total of 22 stations throughout the US and Canada. The source of his calling goes back more than 20 years, to a time when Becker was “on parole and running from a marijuana bust.”
“I’m hitch hiking back from California,” explained Becker. “The guy driving wants to stop. So I’m asking, ‘Lord what am I supposed to do?’ I am reading the bible and then I go for a walk into the desert. The wind picks up really strong and stops me in my tracks. It had pushed the cloud cover away, and the light of the moon was shining down. I could see that there was a canyon one step in front of me. I would have died. I got down on my hands and knees and crawled away from that spot. I considered that His request that I do something with my life. But it wasn’t until I heard about the Drug Policy Forum of Texas (www.dpft.org) that I realized others agreed the drug war was a sham and that something needed to be done about it.”
Although Becker lives in drug-war friendly Texas, he isn’t afraid to express his views openly, on air.
“I have contacted all my elected officials down through John Ashcroft, the governor, the police chief, the mayor, etc, and I proclaim my freedom from man’s law and challenge them on a daily basis,” he told Cannabis Culture. “They know who I am and I’ve never had one problem. The thing that is quirky to me is that I’ve never gotten a letter of complaint, not from any level of government or any segment of community.”
Becker credits shorter show lengths and especially his 5-minute Drug War News segment with being helpful in getting air time on 22 stations. It’s his half hour show, Cultural Baggage, however, that allows Becker the opportunity to interview people of mainstream political note – congressmen, senators and the like. Cultural Baggage and Drug War News can be downloaded from the internet (www.drugtruth.net), or caught on the radio at any of the stations listed on Becker’s site.
Becker’s Cultural Baggage has featured dozens of activists, including Cannabis Culture Publisher Marc Emery, Philippe Lucas of the Vancouver Island Compassion Club and Matt Elrod of Drugsense (www.drugsense.org), but Becker says that his most interesting recent interview was with “Strength of the Wolf” author Doug Valentine.
“He talked about the international nature of the drug war, about the conflict between the CIA and DEA. As soon as the DEA finds some higher echelon drug trafficker, the CIA says ‘he’s working for us’ and cut him free and let him go about his business. These are documented cases. Valentine interviewed former agents about how the drug war came into existence, how Harry Anslinger got funding and grew his organization, how the CIA would thwart their efforts throughout the world, and how they are still doing it in Afghanistan today.”
After three and a half years on the air, Becker sees radio as integral to the international drug reform enterprise.
“At this time it is one of the very few mainstream venues where we have a chance to expose the truth,” he said. “Many cities have the access channel. I’m on it here, doing a show called ‘Drugs, crime and politics.’ But with radio, and the growth that I can make with this little network of mine, it is the availability, it is our chance to reach the average Joe and let him hear the truth he can’t hear in the corporate media. What I do on a daily basis is expose the fraud of this drug war. It is open, obvious, glaring.”
Becker’s show is one of many alternative radio shows devoted to ending the drug war. Broadcasting out of KOPN Community Radio Station in Columbia, Missouri, host Dan Vites’ show, “Sex, Drugs and Civil Liberties” rips up the air waves on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm, Central Time. KOPN General Manager David Owens describes Columbia as the “alternative community of Missouri”, and Dan Vites as a legal attorney with an attitude. Vites’ show has been broadcasting for 10 years, and recent guests have included Hilary McQuay, campaign director of Americans for Safe Access, Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, DC, and Keith Stroup, founder and national director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in the US.
Fane of the Cosmos is another long-running drug reform radio show with a worldwide audience. Fane is hosted by myself and Dustin Cantwell of Nelson, BC’s Holy Smoke Culture Shop, and regularly features activists, authors, entheobotanists, shamans, DJ’s, artists, writers, philosophers, and spiritual elders. The show covers diverse topics including drug war news, cognitive liberty, spirituality, entheogens, psychedelics, hallucinogens, ecology, sexual practices and history, and revolutionary music. Former interviewees of the show have included Steven Marshall of Guerrilla News Network, Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, front-line hemp activist Marc Deeley and Grow Guru Ed Rosenthal. Fane broadcasts Sunday evenings from 10 to 12 PM at 93.5 FM in the Kootenays and simultaneously on the internet (www.kootenaycoopradio.com). The previous week’s show is available 24/7 from the archives of A-Info’s Radio Project (www.radio4all.net). A video version of Fane can be found on POT TV (www.pot-tv.net/archive/series/pottvseries-105-0.html).
POT TV also has great easy-listening cannabis music and comedy available on POT Radio (www.pot-tv.net/archive/shows/pottvshowse-3355.html).
So tune into pot consciousness on your radio dial, or via your computer, and get high on air!