Dana Beal: What means GMM to Legalization? Global Marijuana March from the begining to now

This interview was made for the „Soft Secrets“ Magazine, shortened publication is planned. Rights reserved by Soft Secrets – ask Robert Brungert robrungi@yahoo.de for any questions.

Dana Beal: What means GMM to Legalization?

Global Marijuana March from the begining to now

Author: Robert B.

Today I am talking with Dana Beal. He is one of the leading Hemp Legalizers from the USA. In 1999 Dana created the Million Marijuana March (MMM). This event is named in 2002 Global Marijuana March (GMM). During years the Event managed itself all over the world and this year in the first Saturday of May hundreds of thousands of People came to GMM in hundreds of Cities. In Germany there were more than 15 GMMs. It is a worldwide popular and important event and so I am asking some Questions.

Let it be free.

Dana Beal, you are 67 years old, 1999 you were 52 years old, this means in 1967 you were 20. Were you one of the Hippies?

„The hippies were a product of LSD, who opposed the war in Vietnam and the police state measures taken against psychedelic drugs and marijuana.

When did you start your work?

Foto von Dana Beal
Foto von Dana Beal

„1967 was the ‚Summer of Love‘.“ We did the first Smoke-ins in Tompkins Park in the Lower East Side of New York. We decided cannabis would be easier to legalize than LSD. But Vietnam overshadowed everything, even though we did the first national smoke-in to bring people to the Levitation of the Pentagon in October of ’67. When Abbie Hoffman asked me to join the Yippies in January, 1968, he wanted the toker legions to come to the protests he was planning for the Chicago Democratic Convention in August. But lighting up guaranteed the cops would break heads, and Richard Nixon became President. Nixon was an outright fascist who sought to link the anti-war pot smokers with the blacks using heroin in the ghettos, and created the DEA and the Controlled Substances Act.)

There was a lot of sentiment for legalisation…why didn’t it work?

„At the 1972 Demcratic Convention in Miami, I confronted George McGovern at his campaign HQ about the reports of CIA heroin in Vietnam, and asked how we could protect millions of people who already smoked pot from being exposed to hard drugs supplied by OUR OWN GOVERNMENT unless we legalized marijuana and sell it over the counter. McGovern said he’d personally spoken out against CIA heroin on the Senate floor–but he was not ready to embrace the Dutch model of separating marijuana and hard drugs. So Richard Nixon was re-elected. He had already turned down the legalization recommendation of his own Schaeffer Commission in order to exploit the culture wars for political gain, but he was soon impeached.

„A few weeks after Nixon resigned, Howard Lotsof told me ibogaine had cured his heroin addiction and he’d confirmed the same effect in 7 other people in the early 60’s. So I thought, here is another way to protect cannabis culture even if we can’t legalize. Then in November the Democrats won a huge majority in Congress, and Keith Stroup of NORML went to work finding a democratic candidate who would decriminalize: Jimmy Carter. It looked like pot would be legal in 18 months. But the movement got ahead of itself and decided to legalize cocaine also. In the summer of 1978, Carter’s drug Czar Peter Bourne was outed for doing coke at a NORML party, and the whole thing fell apart. The founder of HIGH TIMES,Tom Forcade, committed suicide, and we had to stop junkies in the art department from putting heroin on the cover of the magazine.“

How did everything get much worse for many years and can this happen again?

„Keith and NORML were focused on Congress, but from ’74 to ’77, at the U.N. Gabriel Nahas was fabricating studies on the dangers of marijuana. Nahas was a protege of a Greek named Stringaris who had been Joseph Goebbel’s drug advisor before he disappeared in 1945 and resurfaced in Athens in the early ’50’s. Goebbels worked closely with Harry Anslinger, head of the old Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who authored the 1937 law banning cannabis in the U.S. They believed jazz music conditions the brain to crave time dilation, making fans susceptible to marijuana–and that jazz music was a Jewish plot to get white women stoned so they’d fuck black jazz musicians and miscegenate the white race. Hitler also believed he could avoid war with the U.S. if he cultivated a 5th Column by adopting certain U.S. policies. So the Nazis passed an identical law one month after America did. But that couldn’t keep the U.S. out of the war once Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

„In the early 60’s, Harry Anslinger was promoted to the U.N. after Jack Kennedy fired him for harassing a college professor named Lindesmith for questioning marijuiana prohibition. Kennedy himself used marijuana for his bad back, so right-wingers had no respect for him, and he was assassinated. But by that time Anslinger had pushed a global treaty against pot thru the U.N. general assembly, the Single Convention, which paved the way for Gabriel Nahas.

„Nahas‘ pseudo-science stopped legalization in the U.S. Senate even before Jimmy Carter turned drug policy over to the DEA and Joe Califano. Carter’s abandonment of legalization, plus paraquat poisoning the Mexican crop, cost Carter the toker vote, but he still could’ve won the election if he hadn’t debated Ronald Reagan. After months of the Iranian hostage crisis, though, Carter came off as cerebral and officious, Reagan was relaxed and positive, and Reagan narrowly won in almost every state.

„In December, Howard Lotsof and I, realizing marijuana legalization was postponed for many years, began development of ibogaine as a cure for heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol and nicotine addiction. Howard got the first patent in 1984, for interruption of heroin; in 1985 the Yippie! paper OVERTHROW announced we had discovered the cure for addiction. Everyone we knew who’d ever taken ibogaine still smoked pot, however.“

What about Hemp?

„In 1982 after the Greens entered the German parliament, I went to Germany to meet their expert on drugs, Hans-Georg Behr. He was trying to find a U.S. publisher for his book VON HANF IST DIE REDE, so he came to New York. He was unsuccessful, so we resolved to publish his book ourselves. We prepared a translation of the first half of his book and an American activist, Jack Herer, incorporated it into a tabloid he circulated in Oregon for the 1986 ballot initiative. That became the basis of THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES, with American examples in the place of European ones.

„Jack did uncover the film „Hemp for Victory,“ made to promote production of hemp for the 40’s war effort, but Georg always considered Jack’s book to be plagiarism. I learned a lot more from Behr than I ever did from Herer, including the stuff about pot under the Nazis, Gabriel Nahas, and the fact that Stalin smoked hash, whereas Hitler did coke and speed. . Georg’s father was Air Defense Marshall under Hermann Goering, and was executed by the British in 1947 just before he would have been rehabilitated and made part of the West German government. Everyone should read Hans-Georg Behr’s „GROWING UP AMONG THE NAZIS.“

„Georg was also a psychiatrist who recommended the female (German) patient to Howard Lotsof who snuck into the bathroom in Leyden in 1994 and smoked heroin while in the middle of an ibogaine treatment…which of course killed her. This derailed the National Institute on Drug Abuse program to develop ibogaine as a cure for cocaine. I always felt that if Georg just sat in on the treatment himself, and helped the jet-lagged treatment team, it wouldn’t have happened. But he didn’t want to stir from his comfortable surroundings in Hamburg. So he blamed ibogaine for never becoming Schroeder’s drugs advisor, and ended up having a stroke in 2001 from excessive alcohol consumption. He spent the last decade of his life in bed, half-paralyzed.“

The first big Step was the 1996 California vote for marijuana as medicine. 1999 was the first GMM. How did it start? When did you organize the first MMM, that has become GMM? Were there 1999 one City or some and how many people you reached? What did the Newspapers and Government say?

„It all began because our Mayor Rudolph Giulianni (rhymes with Adolph Mussolini) tried to ban the annual marijuana parade by evicting it from its traditional location: Washington Square. We hooked up with activists in London to do one simultaneous event, so we could ask: how can they have more freedom under the Queen of England than under the U.S. Bill of Rights? From there we issued a call for other cities and in the first year there were 36. The next year, 2000, the Millennium Marijuna March, had 90+, And in 2011 the Space Odessey had 190. We topped out at the Global Marijuana March in 2002 with 238. but the number of cities has never fallen below 164. Giulianni responded with massive arrests, growing to 200+ in 2001, but he couldn’t stop the movement. And even his anti-smoking successor, Mayor Bloomberg, only succeeded in amplifying our issue with his stop ’n frisk arrest campaign that came up with no guns, only thousands of blacks and Latinos arrested for low-level pot possession.“

15 Years passed and in Washington and Collorado Hemp is free again. In other countries the change is going on faster and faster. Is GMM one Part of this? And how strong is the influence of the demonstrations?

„It is an additional uncontrollable influence pushing toward worldwide liberation of cannabis. Everytime people march with signs and bankers instead of standing around passing a joint, it, transforms public perception of a criminal act into a political protest. The stop-down organizations funded by billionaires such as George Soros and Richard Branson may disparage people going into the streets to secure their own rights, but the legalization they’re pursuing seems to be a lot more about opportunities for venture capital than mom and pop jobs for activists, many of whom are banned from participating because they have a felony on their record.“

How big is GMM today in the world? Is there a global organization or do it people everywhere on the world for themselves?

„Except for those early meetings in London, the GMM has never had an organizing body or an international conference. Perhaps it should, but it would probably lapse into feuding factions. London itself came to grief because the Greens wanted to turn it into a generic green festival, and took all the money that should’v gone into setting up a year-round organization to legalize pot.

„The spread of the movement was fostered by one person–me–working from a MacIntosh computer out of the Institute for Advanced Protest on the second floor of the Yippie! Museum at 9 Bleecker st in NYC. I had support from various cannabis publications that ran ads, like HIGH TIMES and THC Magazin in Buenos Aires, but consistent focus on answering email and constantly updating the cities list was what kept it real. Typically I would start asking who wanted to sign up for newt year about a month before May, so I’d catch people before they split for the summer. (And parenthetically, the real estate sharks Brad Gordon and Harlan Berger who stole the Yippie! Museum and turned it into a sports clothing boutique did immeasurable damage to the prisoners rotting away in confinement all over the World!)“

Most Citys with GMM only have hundreds of people on the Events. In Germany not one City had more than 1000 People demonstrating. Were are the biggest GMMs and what are the reasons for their success?

„The places where the march is big, like Buenos Aires, have kept a coalition together. Places where it petered out, like London and San Francisco, expelled one group or another and could no longer generate the money to do it properly.

„Remember, there is no big international organization that can reach down and help you fund it. You have to do it yourself, because the big, rich legalization organizations range from indifferent to hostile toward street protest. That being said, the main problem is insufficient promotion. In New York City they had only 400 participants because they raised no money, took a month to print up cards, and got the card out only 10 days before May 3rd!“

In some countries Potsmokers can´t go on the streets for their rights. They would be jailed. If parents, friends and so on go on demonstration, is it safe for them? Is there a country, where the GMM can´t happen because they would be beaten or jailed?

„It is no accident that the countries with the largest protests have the most tolerance, or that countries that brutally suppress the marches, like Russia, are moving backwards. Russia had up to 30 cities where folks tried to demonstrate, but police and neo-Nazis administered severe beatings. In France, where it is against to law to advocate legalization, a tradition has none-the-less grown up of many GMM rallies around the country followed the next Saturday a national rally at the Place de Bastille. 2014 was the first rally in many years where New Yorkers were allowed to light up openly. Where there’s an actual smoke-in, our numbers tend to grow from year to year. “

Relegalisation is not only a part of GMM or Politicians. It is a Part of everything. We are in a realy big Movement. People opinions mainly formed by lobby of politicians and concerns. With legal Hemp in first Parts of world much money can be earned, more than before. Do we get a better Lobby for relegalisation? Is relegalisation only a thing of money and a few years?

„You have to watch my video on hemp and global warming. The Ocean is rising. Soon Miami and Bangla Desh will either build sea walls, or have to resettle hundreds of millions of global warming refugees. In 2006 I pointed out that simple engineering could divert the 20% of Siberian fresh water that flows into the Arctic into the Caspian basin, creating a rain shadow that would cause it to rain a lll the way to China. Millions of acres of hemp could be planted to fix carbon dioxide into the soil. Similary the Nile could be tapped to reflate Lake Chad; the Snake to reflood Great Salt Lake. This project could support a Civilian Conservation Corps similar to what we had in the U.S. under Roosevelt, re-purposing the labor of the people with the biggest carbon footprint: polluters and people who cut down the rainforest. Best all the narcs and snitches who face unemployment because of legalization can be sent to Siberian to oversee these conservation projects. It will enable them to lord it over SOME ONE, which is what is important to them.“

Do you think, countries like Russia and China will relegalise some years later than USA and EU? Or will there be two parts of drugpolicy in future?

„Since Russia will be paid for the water, and China will fund the whole thing to increase rain in their western desert, this plan envisions a post-Putin transitional phase that will engage Russia and China based on their national self-interest. The important thing is to uproot the narcs from the advanced countries an send them somewhere where they can’t cause any mischief. The only alternative I can see, for those who refuse to cooperate, is to send them to fight the Taliban and other Islamic militants. Kind of like sending naughty Nazis to the Eastern Front.“

How is it in Washington and Colorado? Is GMM 5 x bigger than in the last years? Will it be in future a march of many million People?

„Actually, HIGH TIMES clashed with the annual 4/20 Smoke-in by having a for-pay indoor Cannabis Cup at the same time Miguel Lopez was having his free rally in his usual location at the Civic Center Park. All the „marijuana industry“ went to HIGH TIMES expo and bought booths. But there were 60,000 at the free outdoor event.“

Is there in all the years a GMM with realy problems like violence against police or is everything peaceful?

„The problem, rather, is police violence AGAINST peaceful tokens.That is why it is not enough to legalize. We must move to prosecute the human rights abuses intrinsic to marijuana prohibition in every case in order to establish firmly that idea of a „cannabis-free“ world springs from same genocidal impulse as Goebbel’s vision of „Jew-free“ world“

Dana Beal, your life has not alway been easy. For some years you have been driving with some friends in a car and they were busted and you was jailed too. How long and was it a problem for your work?

„I did 2 years, 9 mos. It is pointless to pretend that my imprisonment didn’t hurt the GMM.Relying on archiving of past years, like Eco Man, results in a lot of out-of-date information being mixed in with real listings. At the same time, in light of the fact that my first, full cardiac arrest actually killed me for 3 1/2 minutes, I would like to see an international secretariat take over my work, with a committee formed on every continent to spread the march to every city, every country, all nations.“

You are a legalizer for Hemp. But many Legalizer want legalize everything. Are you one of them?

„Now that I am out, for the time being it is necessary to concentrate on opening a chain of ibogaine clinics in those countries in the 3rd World where ibogaine is legal. I think difference between cannabis, psychedelics and the addictive drugs is fundamental. In the U.S., the forces that facilitated the 9/11 attacks are deeply involve in the military smuggling of heroin into the United States, which has created a heroin epidemic. Right now I am trying to open an ibogaine clinic in Kabul in order to shame Congress and pressure the bureaucracy into reversing the prohibition of ibogaine.“

People in the past said, hemp is poison. Today they have an other picture of Hemp but not of Hard drugs. Is it possible to relegalise cocaine, Opium, LSD, MDMA and so on if most of people think, it is poison and law and order would save people? We all know, it does not work but normal people don´t know.

„Ibogaine expresses a neurotrophin, GDNF (Glia-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), that not only regenerates dopamine neurons, but back-signals to cell nuclei telling them to ramp up production of gowth factor! This unleashes a benign, self-sustaining loop that keeps on re-sprouting dopamine receptors even after the ibogaine is gone, eliminating the need to artificially elevate dopamine levels with drugs. So addiction is caused by non-availability of the cure. It should be possible to decriminalize all drugs, along the lines of alcohol and tobacco (which are addictive), while taking all controls off cannabis and psychedelics.‘

Dana, you are not the youngest but still have some years. I think the realy work will be done for you but you are an important member and will be for the rest of your life. What is your wish for GMM in the future?

„Since I’ve been released, I’ve totally stopped drinking, because of my health. Beside the two heart attacks, there was a near-stroke where they had to remove a 95% plaque occlusion from my left carotid. I don’t want to wind up like my friend Georg, laying in bed half-paralyzed. I intend to be around for quite some time to see this revolution thru to the end.

Everybody knows Oktoberfest in Munich every year with six Millions drunken people and many ill drunken people. Will the GMM be the worldwide Oktoberfest for Hemp in the countries with relegalisation? Will it be a big party for Potheads in future?

„I hope so. At least no one gets a hang-over.“

Homegrow a good thing for normal people. With relegalisation, will small growers or corporations prevail? Will there be many small farmer/retailers, or will Tabacco Concerns plant it and a Hemp McDonalds sell it?

„That what we have a Global Marijuana March for, and why we have to deepen it an extend it. To free even prisoner, to return every forfeiture, to provide jobs in the marijuana field for even one victimized by prohibition, to punish egregious violators of human rights.“

Will relegalisation be the End for Indoor Hemp because outdoor the Sun is for free?

„I kind of prefer Mexican just because it’s the product of natural sunlight. It’s also cheaper, and the campesinos deserve Fair Trade Marijuana. All the peasants in Jamaica, in Columbia, in Morocco, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Nepal deserve to be able to bring their produce to market in the advanced world, and to live prosperous, dignified lives. Join me in overthrowing the 1988 Reagan era codicil that commits all signatories of the Single Convention to criminalize each and every producer, trafficker and user of cannabis. Join me in garnering the votes of 87 countries in the General Assembly to abrogate the Single Convention and remove this Nazi cancer from the United Nations!“

Dana, I think, I could ask dozens of more Questions. We realy will know, when the time is there. We can´t say, everything will happen in this way or an other. But I think, you will see your dream will get true: Hemp will be liberated in USA and other Countries around the world. It is only a question of Time, but not if it will be or not. All members of Soft Secrets thanks for your important part of relegalisation. We grow more, we get stronger and we are right!