CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

Here you can find a listing of all shows ...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

TruthToTell: Community Connections to Broadcast LIVE Forum on proposed new White Earth Constitution – Weds, Aug 14th on KFAI FM 90.3 and 106.7 and KFAI.org - AND Niijii Radio/KKWE, White Earth - FM 89.9 and http://niijiiradio.com/.

Erma Vizenor- White Earth Tribal Chair

Gerald Vizenor – Author/Poet, Wordsmith of the Constitution

Michael Dahl - Opposition Leader – Community Liaison for the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Niijii Radio

Sharon Enjady - Opposition Leader

Terry Janis- Attorney, Bush-funded facilitator of the Constitutional referendum

Community Partners include the White Earth BandNiijii RadioHonor the Earth andShooting Star Casino. ALL area residents are welcome to attend and join the conversation.

The show will air live at 7:00PM KFAI (FM 90.3/106.7/streamed at KFAI.org) in the Twin Cities and KKWE/Niijii Radio, White Earth. 

Additional distribution will come on TruthToTell’s regular air slot at 9:00 AM Labor Day Monday on KFAI, and on television at 8:00 PM August 19 on SPNN St. Paul Cable Channel 19, and MTN Minneapolis Cable Channel 16. We will supply audio and video programs to all stations and channels wishing to air them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

TruthToTell: Community Connections – HOUR TWO: WHITE EARTH: Constitutional Milestone Debate: The Audience Responds

This is the unheard hour of our two-hour program direct from White Earth Reservation August 14th. The first hour consisted of panelists delivering their views and statement, plus an analysis from Terry Janis (Lakota), 

LIVE Forum on proposed new White Earth Constitution – was broadcast Weds, Aug 14th on KFAI FM and KFAI.org - AND Niijii Radio/KKWE, White Earth-FM 89.9 and http://niijiiradio.com/.

Panelists:

ERMA VIZENOR – White Earth Tribal Chair

GERAL VIZENOR – Author/Poet, Wordsmith of the Constitution

MICHAEL DAHL - Opposition Leader – Community Liaison for the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Niijii Radio

SHARON ENJADY - Opposition Leader

TERRY JANIS (Lakota)- Attorney, Constitutional Reform Manager, White Earth­

Our Community Partners included the White Earth Band, Niijii RadioHonor the Earth and Shooting Star Casino. ALL area residents were welcome to attend and join the conversation and about 40-50 came to express their views.

Hour One of the show aired live Wednesday, Aug 14 on KFAI (FM 90.3/106.7/streamed at KFAI.org) in the Twin Cities and KKWE/Niijii Radio, White Earth. This is Hour Two and it has not yet aired anywhere.

Additional distribution has come with repeats on radio and television at on SPNN St. Paul Cable Channel 19, and MTN Minneapolis Cable Channel 16. We are supplying audio and video programs to all stations and channels wishing to air them.

But you need miss NOTHING of this entire evening's session.

HOUR ONE (The Panelists Speak) AUDIO is HERE and VIDEO is HERE.

HOUR TWO (The Audience Responds) AUDIO is HERE and VIDEO is HERE

Monday, August 12, 2013

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Writer-actors Freeman Gosden as Amos and Charles Correll as Andy in 1929 – two minstrel-style white actors playing Black characters Amos n Andy – stereotypically uneducated and living in NY’s Harlem neighborhood from the 1920s on was the most popular program on radio in the 1930s – 40 million mostly white people listened, but persisted despite a 1931 campaign by Robert L. Van, publisher and editor of the pioneer Black-owned Pittsburgh Courier to shut it down as racist. Hundreds of thousands signed on to rid the airwaves of the demeaning show, although, even white liberals and many black folks enjoyed the nightly antics of Amos n Andy, Kingfish, Sapphire and many of the other ongoing characters they encountered. As a kid in the 1940s, I was among them. Some of their work could be very funny. The series ran essentially from 1928 through 1960 on both radio and eventually television, where Black actors stepped in.

Amy Goodman and DemocracyNOW! aired this segment in October of 2011 as part of an interview with Amy’s colleague, Juan Gonzalez, and his co-author, Joe Torres of Free Press, the media reform advocacy group where he remains Senior External Affairs Director. Torres and González co-authored their 2011 book, News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media, a history of American media’s portrayal of people of color with special focus on media outlets owned and controlled by people of color, and how they were suppressed—sometimes violently—by mainstream political, corporate and media leaders.

I had the opportunity back in 2011 to record today’s interview with Joe Torres on his way through the Twin Cities as a guest of Main Street Project. The interview never aired here because its quality was not what I considered airworthy at the time. But in looking for a program for today’s TTT in our archive, I listened once again to its content, and, with the hope that you’ll be patient with its echo-y quality – we were in the back room of the Louisiana Café in St. Paul – Joe Torres has much to say about race in the media and media reform.

Again – the Torres-Gonzalez book is News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media. Torres advocates in Washington for media policies that serve the public interest and works to builds coalitions to broaden the media reform movement's base. He writes frequently on media and Internet issues and serves on the board of directors of the Center for Media Justice and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Earning a degree in communications from the College of Staten Island, Torres was, for a time deputy director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a journalist for several years.

Obviously we can’t take phone calls, but you’re welcome to give feedback to us on our Facebook Page – Facebook.com/TruthToTell or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll

GUEST:

JOE TORRES – Senior External Affairs Director, Free Press Media Reform.

Monday, August 5, 2013

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©2012 Khalid Bendib, www.OtherWords.org

Darul Arqam is a small school in the City of Blaine designed to teach Muslim children to memorize the Quran – the central religious text of the Islamic faith and believed to be the verbatim word of God, whom Muslims call Allah. That, it turns out, is one heck of a lot of memorization –  nearly 600 pages – 114 chapters. Quran (or Qu’ran, or Koran, if you wish) actually means “recite” and it’s the religious duty of Muslims to recite the word of Allah at will.

[By the way, it may surprise readers to know that much of the Quran incorporates some of the same Old Testament scripture assumed by Christians and Jews to be the word of their God: From Wikipedia: “…Muslims regard the Quran as the main miracle of Muhammad, the proof of his prophethood and the culmination of a series of divine messages that started with the messages revealed to Adam, regarded in Islam as the first prophet, and continued with the Scrolls of Abraham (Suhuf Ibrahim), the Tawrat (Torah) of Moses, the Zabur (Tehillim or Psalms) of David,[14][15] and the Injil (Gospels) of Jesus. – Wikipedia]

All this to say that it seems a simple matter to approve a proposal to establish a school that rarely teaches to more than 18 or 20 students at a crack. And, certainly no threat to any community. But, wait…xenophobia reigns!

Although, according to Minnesota CAIR, or the Council on American Islamic Relations, …the City of Blaine Planning Commission voted unanimously in June to approve Darul Arqam’s proposal, some 25 people attending the Blaine Planning Commission meeting expressed opposition to the school:

· Some neighbors submitted a petition with 80 signatures from approximately 50 houses in the neighborhood. One speaker stated that only 3 houses did not sign the petition.

· Instead of calling it by its name or referring to it as a school in both the petition and Planning Commission meeting, opponents referred to it as a “training center.” (for what – terrorism? Well, certainly!)

· The opposition questioned where the organization’s funds are coming from:

o   “I also am wondering...it concerns me that...they are offering this and targeting this for children, economically challenged families and a lot of their funding is donations. I don't know the ins and outs of how their organization is structured but I have some concerns about that, about how they are going to fund this.”

· Fear was rampant:

o    “My wife's been just terrified that somebody is going to grab her child.”

o   “I don't know who these people are but they have no business coming into the end of my block. Obviously, I just found out two days ago that there is a Muslim community that wants to teach Muslim to their people and they say they're not going to be a ‘religious organization.’ It is a religious organization, it's a church. That' my personal feelings.”

o   “We don't want them in our community.”

This is the fifth land use opposition case involving Muslims in Minnesota within the past two years. A week later, the City Council voted 5-0 to approve the school..

If that were a completely isolated example, we’d not bother, but these incidents, as well as more violent reactions, fed by many news media, especially rightwing cable news companies or mainstream outlets who should know better, but, nevertheless, prey on such fears for profit and political expediency, have multiplied at the local and national level since 9/11.

The hysteria surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001, have only been reinforced by other events in which those involved who consider themselves Muslim – or are “suspected” of being so – are hoisted on the petard of journalism’s voracious appetite for titillation and added to the cumulative evidence that “those people” have infiltrated our culture at every level and are prepared to destroy the American Way of Life – whatever that is. Once the media gets hold of a story, the public extrapolates localized facts into badly distorted generalizations about a nation at war with The Other. Witness the ripple effect of the Boston Marathon bombings and the deranged Army major who most people claim was driven to his violent acts against fellow officers by his Islamic conviction.

What drives our need to drag everyone who looks and worships like others into a war of nerves and rejection when just one of them has been adjudged guilty of a crime, especially assaultive behavior? Why has this country come to this in the last decade: that because of the religious fervor seemingly behind the destruction of New York’s World Trade Center and the assumption that religious fundamentalism elsewhere is somehow less acceptable than the same demonstrated among evangelists here and that all of Islam is dedicated irrevocably to our cultural and political destruction, not to mention murders in our beds?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with representatives of our local Muslim communities (yes, that’s plural) and their advocates to get their sense of what they’re up against and how, like other groups of color and vilified minorities, they are forced to cope with the expressed fears – subtle and not so – as Islamic refugees and immigrants settle our area in larger and larger numbers. These include Somalis and other East Africans, Indians, Arabs, Iranians/Persians, Palestinians, Turks, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Afghans and Indonesians, among others.

GUESTS:

LORI SAROYA – Executive Director, CAIR (Minnesota), the Council on American Islamic Relations


IMAM MAKRAM ELAMIN – Imam, Masjid An Nur (Mosque of the Light), North Minneapolis.

 

 


SAMAD RAFE – Darul Arqam, Blaine-based Hifz Quran school

Monday, July 29, 2013

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Does any one of us know precisely what is and what is not guaranteed by the Constitution by way of individual or privacy or free assembly, free press or free speech? Are such freedoms once assumed so easily limited by the laws and rules Congress passes and the Administration invokes. In other words – is our right to privacy threatened by our obsession with security?

Many advocates claim that government is illegally spying on us, threatening jail time and even physical injury if we speak out or peacefully and civilly disobey, tried for treason by turning to press freedoms to expose the government’s own obsession secrecy – its insistence that all things sensitive should be kept from public scrutiny, thus over-classified. Facts support this claim.

No one in power wants the eyes of their constituents prying into their business, even in what purports to a democracy that exists at the will and pleasure of those constituents – the voters, the citizens. This sense of entitlement to secrecy extends to all levels of government and the transactions they’d rather you knew nothing about, including wiretapping Americans, possibly you, and Internet spying. It won’t be long before those same powers come a-calling to ask you to keep them in power, insisting they’ve operated and behaved transparently and entirely in your interest, the public interest.

Well, we know better. The quest for secrecy in the halls of power has far more often than not been exposed for the damage it has done to the national and local good – not its exposure, and certainly not if the laws and constitutional provisions designed to rein in power have been thwarted to preserve it.

The increasingly accelerating imposition of secrecy, extreme prosecutions and punishments inflicted for shattering it, the extraordinarily expanding exercise of police powers to beat in skulls and arrest demonstrators and dissenters, the global hounding of leakers on charges of treason and the spying so-called national security agencies engage in the name of protecting us from faceless enemies, and not our freedoms when those freedoms mean the most, are emerging as the prime issues confronting our personal and electronic liberty in an age when the lines between the latter and the former so easily blur.

CAN WE STOP IT?

This week, we look at those questions at every level and try to get idea of whether or not this juggernaut can be brought to heel before even our most progressive policymakers have become irretrievably corrupted by their own hubris and the admonishments of the military and policy technocrats, not to mention the corporate media hounds that pretend to demand press freedoms for themselves but fail to call their governments to account for their anti-democratic ploddings.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with just three of the many local and national civil rights privacy and media justice activists immersed in this intensifying and alarming decline in Constitutional compliance.

GUESTS:

AMALIA DELONEY – Associate Director, Center for Media Justice & Director, Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net)

CHARLES (Chuck) SAMUELSON, Executive Director, ACLU-MN

 

 

 


MARK WEINSTEIN – Privacy Advocate and CEO, Sgrouples Private Social Network

Monday, July 22, 2013

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Why in the world is TruthToTell taking on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement trade pact now in negotiation half the globe away? Usually, TTT is less concerned with subjects like the TPP than we are teepees and HERCs and the local NAACP, among the many state, local and regional issues confronting our listeners and viewers.

The primary reason, we think, is that local and regional transnational corporations – like 3M, Cargill, ADM, Alliant Tech, the now ubiquitous Target (which has its name on practically every publicly owned facility and event in Minnesota) and who knows what others are the mute participants in this trade organization that has the potential for preempting and overriding all US and local laws and regulations theoretically ion business to protect consumers, workers and the public interest – think FTC, FCC, EPA, MPCA, Commerce, DNR (it ain’t all fish and wildlife there).

The other is that the likes of Congressman Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition and MN2020, the think tank often devoted to economic development are zeroing in on this issue.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query the people willing to step forward and discuss the issue – and that does NOT include any of the companies whose perspectives we sought for this show but who all refused. Target, 3M and Cargill were among those contacted.

GUESTS:

REP KEITH ELLISON (D-MN) – 5th District – Member, House Financial Services Committee; Co-Chair, Congressional Progressive Caucus; Founder, Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus

JOSH WISE – Executive Director, Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition

 

 

 


STEVE FLETCHER – Fellow and Director of Grassroots Strategy, Minnesota2020; founding Executive Director of MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change

AND YOU!!!  Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.


Monday, July 15, 2013

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VIDEO: YouTube or watch our broadcast on SPNN St. Paul cable channel 19 or MTN Minneapolis cable channel 16 at 8pm CST, Monday, July 15. 

 

AND NOW: The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid), iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 


In the sixth edition of the TruthToTell:Community Connections Series*, we look to the youth.TruthToTell's Michelle Alimoradi and special guest RayLynn Prokasky will host a conversation at St Paul's Avalon Charter School on Wednesday, July 10 about how to help youth help themselves. In this era of rapidly changing technology, widening access to information, an unsure economic future, and drastically changing ethnic and racial demographics, is it time to start radically rethinking our systems for preparing and supporting young people? Do we rely on test scores and statistics to tell us what's wrong? Or should we go straight to the source and ask youth what they want to achieve? Local researchers, including the McKnight foundation’s recent spin-off Youthprise, are saying that perhaps it's a mix of both, but this Wednesday night, we'll talk to members of the community, particularly the younger Twin Cities residents, find out what they think.

Our panelists, speaking from their various experience levels of working with youth, researching youth habits, or being engaged in their communities as a young person.

Vested community members of all ages are welcome to attend this open forum discussion as we help youth define the terms of their own success, discuss what's working, and what barriers still exist for youth struggling to achieve their goals. TTT has teamed up with St. Paul Parks & Recreation's Youth Job Corps program, Minneapolis Step-Up, Youthprise, St. Paul Sprockets, The Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, Youth Express, and Cookie Cart as well as our production partners St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and KFAI Fresh Air Radio to bring you this special discussion.

Our panelists, speaking from their various experience levels of working with youth, researching youth habits, or being engaged in their communities as a young person.

Our panelists, speaking from their various experience levels of working with youth, researching youth habits, or being engaged in their communities as a young person.

 

Caritza Mariani- Caritza directs youth work for the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College.

Jeron Mariani- Jeron Mariani is a 2013 graduate of Saint Paul Academy, a Board Member and Leadership Team member of Youthrive, a youth leadership-based nonprofit organization that focuses on peace-building skills following the vision of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Rhiannon Magee- Rhiannon is an entering sophomore at Avalon High School, an active member of the student congress, and active volunteer in her community serving at the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (DSAM) and the AFS study abroad program.

 

Paris Curruthers – Member of the Youth Innovator Collective at Youthprise

Naomi Montgomery- Marketing Intern at Cookie Cart, and Psychology Major at Metropolitan State

 

 
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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VIDEO: YouTube or TTT VIDEO ARCHIVE

 

 


AND NOW: The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid), iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 


In the sixth edition of the TruthToTell:Community Connections Series*, we look to the youth.TruthToTell's Michelle Alimoradi and special guest RayLynn Prokasky will host a conversation at St Paul's Avalon Charter School on Wednesday, July 10 about how to help youth help themselves. In this era of rapidly changing technology, widening access to information, an unsure economic future, and drastically changing ethnic and racial demographics, is it time to start radically rethinking our systems for preparing and supporting young people? Do we rely on test scores and statistics to tell us what's wrong? Or should we go straight to the source and ask youth what they want to achieve? Local researchers, including the McKnight foundation’s recent spin-off Youthprise, are saying that perhaps it's a mix of both, but this Wednesday night, we'll talk to members of the community, particularly the younger Twin Cities residents, find out what they think.

Our panelists, speaking from their various experience levels of working with youth, researching youth habits, or being engaged in their communities as a young person.

Vested community members of all ages are welcome to attend this open forum discussion as we help youth define the terms of their own success, discuss what's working, and what barriers still exist for youth struggling to achieve their goals. TTT has teamed up with St. Paul Parks & Recreation's Youth Job Corps program, Minneapolis Step-Up, Youthprise, St. Paul Sprockets, The Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, Youth Express, and Cookie Cart as well as our production partners St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and KFAI Fresh Air Radio to bring you this special discussion.

Our panelists, speaking from their various experience levels of working with youth, researching youth habits, or being engaged in their communities as a young person.

Our panelists, speaking from their various experience levels of working with youth, researching youth habits, or being engaged in their communities as a young person.

Monday, July 8, 2013

WATCH FUTURE SHOWS LIVE HERE!

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AND NOW: The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!
That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid), iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

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Sometimes one is brought up short by the sheer numbers of remarkable efforts of Twin Cities communities or neighborhoods to improve life and return to the same level of collective existence under which almost all of our forebears operated, sometime in small towns, sometimes in ethnic and spiritual enclaves within very large cities, sometimes in small fiefdoms in developing areas of the world. Such is the case with the Back Yard Initiative (BYI) in South Minneapolis.

The American experience, we can admit, especially now as we examine our cultural and political history in light of the near two and a half centuries of what the colonial system brought forth to this nation. We say, examine less than universally celebrate because not all parts of what has always purported to be cemented equity in our Constitution has borne the fruits of that equity in reality.

There’s more to be said about that, of course, but the one ingredient lost since pioneer families settled these lands and worked side-by-side to create communities of immigrants, often at the expense of the Natives already planted there, was the sense that to really accomplish the better life for their members and their offspring, functions of a society were necessarily collective efforts, not characterized by the individualism that has rent us from each other over time, too many left to fend for themselves in a so-called democracy gone rogue. And, so, any effort to reestablish the connectedness needed to maintain the health of communities, some of them neglected in the extreme, has to be welcome in those urban places where the difficulties of existence multiply too quickly.

So was revived the concept of the Back Yard and how that symbolizes this return to collective action for community benefits and, while this may take place in some other places around the Twin Cities Metro and other locales, the Back Yard Initiative of South Minneapolis emerges as an extraordinary example of how neighborhood and community folks can come together in pockets of human endeavor to build the better overall health of the entire area – physically

Born with seed money from the Midtown headquarters of Allina Health Systems (which community folk boast is in their backyard), the system known as the Cultural Wellness Center (CWC), a broadbased effort with a mission “to unleash the power of citizens to heal themselves and to build community.” Community Action Health Teams, or CHATs were developed to help nurture the mission across a wide swath of both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

From this base came the Back Yard Initiative covering seven primary neighborhoods of Southeast Minneapolis (Powderhorn, Corcoran, Central and the four Phillips neighborhoods of West, East, Midtown and Ventura Village) and over 15,000 households. The BYI fostered what they call their three pillars of community health – Community’s Commission on Health (Leadership), theCommunity Resource Body (Economic leveraging) and several CHATs.

Three BYI CHATs will visit TruthToTell this week to talk about their work: Anchor FamiliesProject S.E.L.F., and the Communities of Light (part of the Rebirthing Communities CHAT). This whole thing can sort of blow you away with its complexities because the sheer diversity of people and CHAT programs cover almost every facet of community health stabilization.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL talks with key members of those three BYI CHATs and we’ll hear some African drumming, along with announcements of the annual Midtown Global Market Music FestivalJuly 13th and the separate Midtown Phillips Festival coming up on July 20.

GUESTS:

KHUSABA SEKA – Representing Anchor Families CHAT

AMGED YUSEF – Representing Project S.E.L.F. (Save, Educate, Liberate and Free) CHAT (with BROTHER MAO on Drum)

 

 


QUEEN INSHALLAH EMPRESS AMIT – Representing Communities of Light, part of the Rebirthing Communities CHAT


SUSAN GUST – The Alley Newspaper – Communications CHAT

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DAN WILDER – Representing the Midtown Phillips Festival with ONE UKELELE (Aaron Lockridge, Larry Dittberner, Brooks Cavin)

Monday, July 1, 2013

 

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VIDEO OF THIS SHOW HERE and HERE

 

AND NOW: The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!
That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid), iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

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Some questions begging for your comments. Listen to or watch our show and answer these questions in our survey - or in our comments section or email them to andydriscoll@TruthToTell.org. We'll make sure our guests and their organizations and the policymakers get your answers:

1. Do you support medical marijuana? Why / Why not? Answer HERE.

2. Do you support recreational use of marijuana? Why / Why not? Answer HERE.

3. Have you tried marijuana?  If so, what was your experience? Answer HERE.

4. Has the War on Drugs hurt our society or helped our society?  Yes / No Why? Answer HERE.

5. What do you think of private prisons lobbying against the legalization of marijuana? Answer HERE.

6. Henry Ford made a car from hemp fibers.  He said, "Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?" Should this be considered for future policies on marijuana?  Answer HERE.

7. Is there an aspect to the legalization of marijuana discussion that is missing?  If so, what is it?  Answer HERE.

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What a difference a year can make.

When last we visited this issue of marijuana legalization, we tapped the Minnesota Chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) to explain just why this controversial weed, as many call it, should be legalized or decriminalized in this state. We come back to this not because of any major shift in state policy –yet – but because the subject has again gained currency with both the introduction of medial marijuana bills here and the passage of significant changes in four other states last Fall.

Although some state legislatures– twelve this year to be exact – have either affirmatively rejected or allowed to die bills to legalize even the medical use of cannabis, last fall three states’ electorates voted not only to decriminalize marijuana, they passed initiatives or referenda legalizing its regulated recreational use. Montana and Massachusetts passed medical marijuana reform initiatives. And Colorado and Washington legalized personal use of marijuana outright for those 21 and over.

Bills to authorize medical marijuana in Minnesota, introduced in both houses last Session (SF 1641/HF 1818), remain in their respective Health and Human Services committees, because they were introduced too late in the session, but because Minnesota works on a biennial legislative calendar, the bills stay alive through next year's session.

At the moment, Minnesota ranks the personal possession or sale of less than 1.5 ounces or 42.5 grams of marijuana a misdemeanor calling for a maximum $200 penalty, dischargeable for first “offenders.” Anything more than that amount and possession and sales become felonies and the penalties, depending on the quantity and where you’ve bought and/or sold it can go through the roof – anywhere from 5 years and $5,000 to 30 years and $1 million.

Tough stuff for a drug that’s been described as tame compared with the ramifications of alcohol use and abuse. Yes, alcohol. According to NORML, which some will dispute, such agencies as the National Academy of Sciences, the Connecticut Law Review Commission and the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan all found that decriminalization causes no substantial increase either in marijuana use or the use of other substances, including alcohol. The British, Dutch and Australians concluded much the same.

This begs the question of what effect the entire so-called Drug War industry is having on public policy and therefore public opinion.

It should be noted that five Mayo physicians issued one warning just a couple of weeks ago that “An increasingly available option for medical patients suffering chronic pain -- medical marijuana -- should be avoided by teens.” However, it also states that their commentary  – “…to be published in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings – relies on findings from cases involving three high school-age patients at Mayo's pediatric chronic pain clinic, who said they used marijuana regularly.” Note that this data comes from the experience of three teen patients.

It would take several pages (hours) to quote studies done in the US and Europe that refute the claims of those who denounce even the use of small amounts as “reefer madness” setting in, corrupting our children and inviting rapid addiction to the worst of the controlled substances, such as heroin and cocaine.

We thought it worthwhile to come back to this subject after last Fall’s election and this last Minnesota Legislative session’s introduction of measures to legalize medical marijuana, and this time to bring one of the suffering witnesses from that session’s testimony to talk to us about his experience as well.

TTT’S ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI quiz the patient, the state senator and some other advocates and observers over the momentum behind medical marijuana as well as the hopes for complete decriminalization in Minnesota.

GUESTS:

STATE SENATOR SCOTT DIBBLE (DFL-Mpls 61) – Author, Medical Marijuana Senate File 1641; Chair, Transportation and Public Safety Committee and Chair of Transportation and Public Safety Division of Finance. (Sen. Dibble also authored the Marriage for All bill.)

KURTIS HANNA –  Executive Director, MN NORML

 

 

 

KATIE RUCKE – Editorial Assistant and Staff Writer, Mint Press News – specializing in health, criminal justice, education, whistleblowers and watchdog investigations.

PATRICK McCLELLAN, Burnsville – Sufferer from mitochondrial myopathy, a rare, genetic muscular disorder that causes severe, painful spasms.