Episode #75: A Historical + Modern View Of Marijuana, Legislating Morality & How Grassroots Organizations Impact Federal Policy, With Emily Dufton, Author, Podcast Host & Drug Historian



Emily Dufton

“An oracle of
knowledge on all things marijuana” – Boston

I’m a drug historian and writer based near Washington,
D.C. I received my BA from New York University and earned my Ph.D. in American
Studies from George Washington University. 

My first book, Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in
, traced over 50 years of cannabis activism and was
named one of “The
8 Best Weed Books to Read Right Now
” by Rolling
and one of “The Top 5
Cannabis Books to Have In Your Personal Library
” by 10buds.com.

Since its publication,
I’ve become a commentator on America’s changing cannabis
scene. I’ve appeared on CNN,
the History Channel and
NPR’s Back
Story with the American History Guys
, and my writing has been featured on TIME, CNN,
, and the Washington

I’m currently
working on my second book, Addiction,
Inc.: Medication-Assisted Treatment and the War on Drugs
(under contract
with the University of Chicago Press). It’s the history of the development and
commercialization of the opioid addiction medication industry. In 2021 I won a Lukas
Work-in-Progress Award
to help finance its writing. In 2022 I won a Robert B. Silvers
. I’m deeply grateful for all the support.

I’m also a podcast
host on the New
Books Network
, where I interview authors on new books about drugs,
addiction and recovery. 

I live in the People’s Republic of Takoma
Park, Maryland, with my husband Dickson Mercer
and our two children.



INCLUDED IN THIS EPISODE (But not limited to):



·      A Look At The History Of Marijuana 

·      Emily’s Halloween Candy Advice

·      De’Vannon’s Experience With Hallucinogenics

·      Great Grassroots Advice For Marijuana/Drug Activists 

·      President Joe Biden’s Major Moves For Marijuana

·      The Inappropriate Relationship Between – Church + Media + Government

·      Political Influences And Implications On Drugs

·      The Balance Between Parents Rights And Kids Rights

·      How Grassroots Organizations Impact Federal Policy

·      Why We Shouldn’t Assume Decriminalization Is Here To Stay





Website: https://www.emilydufton.com/

Grass Roots: https://www.emilydufton.com/grass-roots

LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/3ganBPg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emily.dufton

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_emily_dufton/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emily_dufton

Medium: https://medium.com/@ebdufton





Website: https://www.SexDrugsAndJesus.com

Website: https://www.DownUnderApparel.com

YouTube: https://bit.ly/3daTqCM

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SexDrugsAndJesus/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sexdrugsandjesuspodcast/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TabooTopix

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/devannon

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.es/SexDrugsAndJesus/_saved/

Email: DeVannon@SexDrugsAndJesus.com





·      Pray Away Documentary (NETFLIX)


TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk_CqGVfxEs


·      OverviewBible (Jeffrey Kranz)




·      Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (Documentary)



·      Leaving Hillsong Podcast With Tanya Levin




·      Upwork: https://www.upwork.com

·      FreeUp: https://freeup.net




·      Disabled American Veterans (DAV): https://www.dav.org

·      American Legion: https://www.legion.org


·      What The World Needs Now (Dionne Warwick): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfHAs9cdTqg




·      PodMatch is awesome! This application streamlines the process of finding guests for your show and also helps you find shows to be a guest on. The PodMatch Community is a part of this and that is where you can ask questions and get help from an entire network of people so that you save both money and time on your podcasting journey.







You’re listening to the sex drugs and Jesus podcast, where we discuss whatever the fuck we want to! And yes, we can put sex and drugs and Jesus all in the same bed and still be all right at the end of the day. My name is De’Vannon and I’ll be interviewing guests from every corner of this world as we dig into topics that are too risqué for the morning show, as we strive to help you understand what’s really going on in your life.

There is nothing off the table and we’ve got a lot to talk about. So let’s dive right into this episode.

De’Vannon: Emily Dufton is an author, podcast host, and a drug historian who has blessed the world with a phenomenal book, which is entitled Grass Roots. The rise and fall and rise of marijuana in America. This book offers phenomenal advice for marijuana slash drug activists and encourages us to not arrest on our laurels, assuming that drug decriminalization is here to stay.

Now, I fell in love with Ms. Emily when I discovered her while [00:01:00] listening to the, the. To The ReidOut podcast hosted by the great Joy-Ann Reid over on msnbc, and it was a surreal delight to sit down and talk with Emily about what’s going on with drugs right now, as well as what was going on with drugs back then.

Also, would like everyone to please check out our YouTube channel because for this very special episode, Emily and I have dawned our Halloween costumes. She’s a hot dog, and I’m Fred Flintstone, and you have got to check them out. Have a super safe Halloween everyone.

Hello and happy Halloween everyone, and welcome to this very special edition of The Sex Drugs in Jesus podcast. I wish you all a very, very spooky weekend. I have with me the great. Multi talented, multifaceted, delicious, and nutritious. Emily din, How are you, girl? 

Emily: Oh my God, I’m feeling delicious and nutritious.

Thank [00:02:00] you. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me. I’m 

De’Vannon: so fucking lely. Like you look delicious and nutritious. So you’re dressed as a hot dog. I am. So I’m curious and you told me, Previously that you’re a hot dog every year, and so I’ve been wondering, so some years, are you like a vegan hot dog another year?

You’re like a Polish sausage. You switch up the bond, like how exactly does it go? 

Emily: Oh, the hot dog is in the eye of the beholder. I, that’s how it is. I think, you know, I live in Tacoma Park, Maryland. It’s known as the Berkeley of the East. I think many people see me as a tofu dog, as a beyond beyond.

Hot dog. Others as DC adjacent, you know, were like, I could be a half smoke. I could be, I’m just I just wear this because it’s a costume I found on the side of the street in Capitol Hill in DC where I was living at the time, and I thought, [00:03:00] This is amazing. Someone is just giving away a hot dog costume.

I’m going to give it a home and I’m going to be a hot dog every year from now until it literally falls apart. And so that’s why I’m a hot dog every year. 

De’Vannon: looks brand new. I love it. 

Emily: Thank you. It gets washed from time to time. 

De’Vannon: from time. Good time. Look, I love me a good wier girl. So , 

Emily: I could be, I could be the wier of your dreams.

Who knows? Let’s see. We can put the, the top up for a minute. See you. 

De’Vannon: It’s great. That is one. Okay. All right. There y’all. So . So Emily is an author and a drug historian. She holds a PhD in American Studies from George Washington University. She is the author of a fabulous book called Grassroots, the Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America.

Has to do with how, how, how, how, [00:04:00] how earnest hippies, frightened parents suffering patients and other ordinary Americans went to war over the marijuana. It was a little mm-hmm. description I had of that. Before we go much further, I wanna take a moment to give a shout out to Ms. Joy and re over at the readout on msnbc, because that is how I discovered.

Oh wow. . I saw you on her podcast and then I heard what you had to say about your grassroots book, and then I fell in love with you and when I built up the courage and got, got, got more bodies of works under my belt, I sent you a message, you know, hoping and praying that you would respond and you did.

And so, 

Emily: Paul touch my heart. I’m so happy to be here. And honestly, like I The idea that, that, oh, you would be at all nervous to talk to me, makes me just like ache a little bit on the inside. I’m so happy to talk to you and this is such an honor for me to [00:05:00] be here. We are. You wrote a book, We Are equals, We know, We know what it is to go into the, the pain cave of writing and, and try to create something intelligible and lengthy about complicated subjects.

You know, so writer to writer, you and I are, we are. Eye to eye. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you. 

De’Vannon: The sausage and so, So I’m like a glittery version of Fred Flinstone because, As far as I’m concerned, we all know what Fred Freestone and Barney Rubble were really doing over in Bed Rock, Honey and 

Emily: Rock. I mean, come on.

Yeah, it was right in

De’Vannon: Barney Rubs a total bottom. I know. It . So, So in your own words, I’ve given like my take on, is there anything you’d like to say about yourself, your own personal history or anything? 

Emily: Gosh. [00:06:00] Like, like about writing grassroots or about like what? Like about me as a human being. 

De’Vannon: Anything about you at all.

Your favorite color, Favorite place you’ve traveled. We’re gonna get into grassroots right after you. Tell us whatever you’d like to say. Just about yourself. Oh my at all since I’ve already given a little history, so you don’t have to Oh, 

Emily: lovely. I’m a Piy, Sun Sagittarius, Rising Pisces Moon. I have two children a boy who’s six and a little girl who’s almost three.

I’m working on my second book right now, which is about the history of medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, and I won a couple grants to fund the work, and it’s been super awesome. And hopefully I’m gonna go to Switzerland either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year to compare addiction treatment programs over there with America’s treatments.

So those are, I think by far the most pertinent facts about me that everyone should, [00:07:00] should know. .

De’Vannon: I think those are pretty damn good and relevant facts. the, the, the resurgence of healing with the drugs. Look, I just got back from Portland, Oregon dealing shrooms. And sell. So that is a cell aside, but, and what the fuck else I did?

Mdm a I had never been shrooms before in my life and since I’m a veteran who suffers from ptsd, O C D and you know, all of these things and I saw on Netflix and the How to Change Your Mind documentary on PBS history of Mil illness. Documentary, how they’ve been using these hallucinogenics to help veterans.

And I thought, Okay, I’m not gonna wait for this to be approved. I’m gonna fly my happy ass up here and do these shrooms. Man, it took seven grams for me to like fill anything. And apparently that’s like a lot. And wow. I don’t know, apparently besides the 

Emily: social work. Oh, that context. Yeah. So you did like an official, like, like clinical trial?


De’Vannon: wasn’t a trial I paid for this. I [00:08:00] found a social worker who was willing to to do it in a psychiatric setting. Uhhuh, he feel like his woods are like an hour north of Portland into his cabin in the woods. So that, cuz he was like insistent that the environment be like, Right. And so it was like a guided assistant thing.

It was, it was clinical, but I paid for it. I wasn’t, I didn’t wait for a trial 

Emily: to come. Totally, totally understood. That’s awesome. How was it? Was it a good experience?

De’Vannon: It follows me, so in a good way. So like if I smoke weed, it does not have an effect on me. I’ve tried different strands, different states, different times.

I used to sell the hell out of it back in my drug dealing days, but I never fool with it too much. I used to sell shrooms. I never did ’em either. But I have discovered that if I do like a CBD gummy, I will be sitting around looking like EE from South Park. I feel that. But, so the, the C B D [00:09:00] does the same thing that the MDM A and the shrooms did.

It quiet hit my mind. So I was expecting to have one of those like, really jerky experiences like I saw in the documentary, but that did not happen for me at all because my mind is always like this with the OCD and the PTSD and everything. Mm-hmm. . So for me, what those, what those hallucinogenics did was it just neutralized.

And so I was just like, still just silent, quiet. And so I have found things that I used to, that I used to have anxiety over. I don’t anymore. And so basically that peace, it, it attached itself to me in those, in that state of mind. 

Emily: I love that. So, so quieted your minds downed. How long did the quietness.

De’Vannon: It’s ongoing. So I was, while the drugs had their effect on me, okay, on this room, you know, the trees started to like move and the prints, you know, the pattern in the carpet started [00:10:00] dancing and doing his own thing and whatnot. So that was kind of freaky. But once that all settled down, , you know, you know, So it’s not like it was, I, I have found, this has been like maybe three weeks ago that I was in Portland.

It hasn’t changed. You know, I still feel peace. It’s like, and I experienced the same thing when I started experiment, the CBD gummies, which has only been like maybe two or three months ago. Mm-hmm. That I discovered that these gummies will have an impact on me. That’s interesting. It’s like, it’s, it’s a permanent thing with me.

Emily: Wow. And have you had any kind of I don’t know, like sessions or counseling or anything to kind of talk about like, But you know, sort of digesting the effects of it or like, maybe I don’t even, I don’t even know what the word is, but have, have you communicated at all with the guy who led the session since he, 

De’Vannon: He was, he is open to that and he wanted to schedule a follow up, but [00:11:00] I, and I can reach out to him if I want to, Emily, but I, I was ready, you know, like writing my blog and my books in the show and I see a, a social worker every week anyway.

I see a licensed family marriage, the. A couple of times a month for me and my boyfriend, and then I see a hypno therapist once a month. And so I’m always professing and manifesting the change that I want. I went into it already. I didn’t really embody to do too much handholding, and I’m all like, I’m ready to let this shit go.

Like we talk about it, but it’s already done . 

Emily: That’s great. And this is the thing that allowed you to do that. Like you’re just like, I just need that final push to get it out. Right. I love that there’s a guy. Oh yeah. Sorry. Keep going. 

De’Vannon: You go, You’re the guest girl. Oh, 

Emily: no. I’m just saying there’s someone so I live right outside of DC in Tacoma Park, Maryland, and which I think I’ve said already but.

There’s this doctor who just moved here and [00:12:00] started a practice where he’s doing exactly that. He’s using Ketamine though. And so he’s doing these like lead ketamine therapy sessions. And then afterwards he offers sessions to, I’m trying to remember like the verb he used. It wasn’t like aggregate, but it was like to sort of like digest the experience.

So you have this experience with ketamine that will hopefully release in the patient, the same kind of things that released in your experience. And then he would kind of provide the counseling or the, the therapy sessions to help sort of bring, make, make manifest the effects. And I thought, Oh my God, like, here it is.

It’s, it’s, it’s here. You know, like sort of this pro, this ability to access these drugs in a therapeutic. You know, private, like obviously like , you know, industrial way, but it’s here. And God, that is like 10 years ago. I think experiences like yours are like the one that this doctor is offering would’ve been like [00:13:00] unimaginable.

And yet now they’re here and they’re moving into all these communities. You know, it’s not just Portland, Oregon, it’s like here in, right outside of DC it’s everywhere. And that to me is a totally fascinating aspect of like drug policy in the United States. It’s wild. Totally. 

De’Vannon: I’m so happy to have it here too.

But as you warn in your book grassroots that we’re about to get into you know, these things tend to come and. At times. Yeah. Because this wasn’t the first time that we were on the border of finding therapeutic uses for drugs before the drug war on drugs. Shut it down. Right. And so we’re happy to have it back.

And towards the end of the interview, I was most intrigued with the, the six lessons that you have for grassroots advocate for people at the end. And so I really gotta let you give that advice because I really feel like people need to hear that because people. Are feeling really grass rooty these days.

It’ll be . 

Emily: That’s true. ,

De’Vannon: it would be great for them to to to hear, hear [00:14:00] your advice so that they can be helped. 

Emily: I had to go get my copy. I haven’t looked at that in a while. That’s right. I forgot. I had like six little lessons in the back. Yeah. The one I remember, the Yes. Make your argument as sympathetic as possible was lesson one.

Mm-hmm. . Because the more you center like a really sympathetic identity in the middle of your campaign, the more likely people are to. Feel bad for you and generate empathic warmth and support, right? Which is why you always see like puppies, like with their ribs exposed cuz they’re starving in the rain, chained to a box and you’re like, Please take my money to save the puppy.

Lesson two. It’s all about the money, which is exactly what we were talking about. Money buys influence. Lesson three, Be prepared to watch your progress disappear. Lesson four, don’t rely too heavily on the White House. Lesson five, Respect your opposition and lesson six, keep a sense of perspective.

Wow. I forgot I wrote these. That’s so interesting. Yeah, [00:15:00] like, you know what’s, Sorry, 

De’Vannon: keep going. No saying. So. We’ll talk about those towards the end, cuz I thought those would be cute. Okay. So you can just kind of like, you know, peruse over that while we’re going through. And and then of course people go by the books.

So if you’re a grassroots person and you wanna figure out. How to escape some pitfalls and things like that. I think this is a really good book and if you wanna have insight cause we’re all also passionate about this, you know, this resurgence and everything. But I think that your book, you know, is like so evergreen, you know, in the, in the sense that, you know, it’s an ongoing battle in this country because as you say, it’s the rise, the fall, the rise, you know, it goes back and forth.

There’s no reason for us to be so arrogant as to assume that it can’t fall again, because as you lay out in the book, every time we have. Arise for decriminalization. There’s an opposing force that wants to fight that. Right. And so, and it was no different then. It’s the same way now. So you wanted to give a warning though, for Halloween candy.

I [00:16:00] wanted to be sure that we have time for that, because that was something you specifically requested. And so tell us your, this is, this is Emily’s warning about this Halloween came to y’all. Oh 

Emily: my God. It’s less of warning and just more of like a. I, I just every year, Well, this year in particular, I feel like there have been a lot of news stories about the rainbow colored fentanyl that apparently is going to show up in children’s Halloween staes nationwide.

And I love it because like, it just goes to show how. Drugs. The concept of drugs, right? When we talk about drugs, we’re never just talking about drugs, right? We’re always talking about larger issues and larger questions and larger ideas. And I feel like this, like the new fear of 2022, Halloween, 2022 of Fentanyl being dispersed widely in like Halloween candy is just, it’s a really convenient vehicle for like political mud slinging, right?

And. [00:17:00] You know, so the right can mud sling at the left by saying, Oh, it’s the liberal’s open border policies that is allowing Mexican cartels to funnel this rainbow colored fentanyl across the borders. And now it’s gonna, now my kid’s gonna eat it thinking it’s a sweet tart and die. So that’s how, like the right is mudslinging the left and then the left mud slings the right in return by saying, right.

You’re so stupid. No drug dealer is going to give away drugs for free. That is not how drug dealing works. . So there’s just this and like, you know, so whenever we’re talking about drugs, we’re always talking about so much more than just drugs. Like there, like the concept of drugs is weighted with all of these other topics that we like, press upon it.

And it becomes something that’s like, kind of like a football, right? It’s just always being thrown back and forth, you know? People are always going to use the concept of drugs or the concept of punishment or the concept of treatment as a political vehicle to achieve [00:18:00] other ends, right? Whether those are financial or moral or law enforcement, whatever.

But I just feel like the Halloween candy saga that we go through every year is like kind of a good sort of visual entry point on to this topic that like, Drugs are always much more than just drugs, right? There are ways for us to discuss as Americans and as human beings, concepts that are obviously like much more complicated and oftentimes more complex than just like fentanyl or pot or whatever else itself.

So I guess that’s like my opening concept for conversation . 

De’Vannon: Yes, as a former drug dealer, I can attest to what Mr. Mrs. Dustin is saying is true. We don’t to run around giving away drugs for free honey, especially not to little children who don’t have money to come back and buy any once they get addicted.

That’s . 

Emily: It’s, it is a profoundly bad marketing plan. No one [00:19:00] benefits from it. No one benefits . 

De’Vannon: But you know, just like, you know, as you state in your book You know, the fear mongering, you know, the fear mongering is like a big deal coming from the left. And so, I mean, coming from the right and so 

Emily: and sometimes the 

De’Vannon: left , it can, it can, mm-hmm.

it pains me to say, but it’s just so true. You know, 

Emily: sometimes we have to be honest about our own, you know, . 

De’Vannon: You know what? I don’t, I don’t, I don’t want, I don’t want a political party. I just wanna be like me. I just wanna be like me. I know. Whatever makes free to be you and me. What do you think about what Biden did though with the rolling back the the, the, the legal, the, the cases against people with the marijuana charges?

Emily: I mean, it was really interesting, right? It was kind of came out in nowhere, right? He hadn’t talked [00:20:00] much about. Marijuana policy at all on the campaign trail or during these first two years? I remember Kamala Harris during the Vice presidential debate was the very first presidential or vice presidential candidate to ever say during a debate, like, Yes, I support decriminalization.

And she said that. So Kamala mentioned it, but like Biden never did. So he comes out and he makes this announcement and. Like it’s immediate effect is going to be relatively small because the only marijuana convictions he’s allowed to overturn are ones that he can control and he can only control federal convictions for possession.

And that’s not the, like that many it’s about 6,500 nationally and it’s, I don’t know the number. No one would gave it. No one would give it. But it’s also convictions for possession in DC because DC is federal. So that actually, that number might be more considerable than 6,500, but like I have not seen [00:21:00] a news outlet give it yet.

But anyway, like that’s pretty small compared to the millions of people who have been arrested. It’s kind of a drop in the bucket. But what he also said was he was going to talk to eight, the Department of Health and HHS Health and Human. Services. He’s going to talk to the FDA and he is going to talk to the DEA for the three federal agencies in charge of drug policy and talk about, and he wanted to talk about descheduling cannabis.

So right now, pot is a schedule one drug and it’s been a Schedule one drug since 1970. And, Being schedule one, that means that the federal government considers it to have no medical utility and a high risk for abuse, which is of course very silly. Since 1996, it became medical marijuana. So of course it has some medical utilities.

Schedule one placement has been kind of nuts for at least since 1996. [00:22:00] He wants to talk about descheduling it, taking it outta the schedules completely. And if you deschedule a. That means it can become a legitimate legal marketplace item like cigarettes or alcohol. It could become a commercial product, and that is a really big decision.

It’s already kind of becoming a commercial product, but those industries are like very cottage still. Like there is a huge medical marijuana industry and there is a growing recreational cannabis industry, but there’s still like, In the span of things, right, Like along the spectrum of, of products, it’s still fairly small.

So to deschedule it completely and turn it into a commercial product that would transform the cannabis industry in the United States and ultimately worldwide. So it’s a huge decision. It’s a huge, it’s this, this the beginning of a huge conversation. So like right [00:23:00] after he made that announcement it was right before last weekend.

People were like, I didn’t really know what to make of it, honestly. But the more I’ve read, like things on Twitter from people I respect and some articles, the more I realize he’s launching like a pretty huge conversation. And now would be the time for activists who are interested in creating, as, you know, equitable and kind.

Fundamentally good natured and industry as possible, like now would be the time for them to really get involved because, you know, conversations about, about descheduling are happening and those are, those are important. And you know, the time to influence the marketplaces now cuz it’s starting to take shape, which is crazy.

I mean, it’s like the same thing we were talking about before where like now you can go someplace and have like ketamine treatment, like these things are available. So it’s time to figure out what, like we actually want the industry to look. 

De’Vannon: [00:24:00] Hell yeah. Something to tap into that energy and push it forward.

I feel you on that. So, so, so in your book, you, you take us from like prohibition back in the first part of the last century, you know, all the way up to the day and I thought it was very artfully done. So I wanted to read a little excerpt about about the way. Marijuana was viewed back then from way back in 1917 from, from your book, if I may.

And so those said, the 1917 report from the Treasury Department noted that in Texas only Mexicans and sometimes Negroes and lower class whites smoked the marijuana for pleasure and warned that that drug crazed minorities could harm or assault upper class white women. I felt like this, you know, that sort of thinking still informs policy today and I felt like when movies like The Terrible [00:25:00]Truth and Reefer Madness, which you mentioned, the book came out, I felt like that was like media’s way of locking arms with the government and echoing what they’re saying.

And you don’t really get into too religion deeply. But I feel like the church also. Touched and agreed. Yes. 

Emily: So, so the church was responsible for paying for the production of the movie Reef for Madness. I don’t which church it, it was, I don’t remember, but it was funded by Evangelical Christians. There you go.

There’s your connection. Mm-hmm. . 

De’Vannon: And see, I don’t know, like, I, I hate the fact that the church. I would’ve rather the church stand up and say, You know what? It’s not for the government to enforce morality because God is not forced. He’s always gave the children of Israel a choice. He never came down here and mandated things in the way that we’re trying to mandate them.

So why don’t we back off and leave this whole morality [00:26:00] thing to the church instead? The church was like, Well, we like to control people. The government likes to control people, so why don’t we see if we can control them all together? Hmm. So I 

Emily: collaborate. Oh my God, it’s so true. And it’s been so powerful, like for so long, for so long.

But it’s true, like can you legislate morality? I mean, like, that’s just this eternal question and you know, you really, you really can’t, you can’t punish someone until they’re good. It just doesn’t work that way. You. 

De’Vannon: No, nobody responds to that. You know, our children don’t. And I love that your kids are like, pretty much the same age as my two kids, which happen to be like Maine Coon mixed cats.

You know, My oldest boys about is about to be six in March, and then my girl is three


Emily: we have babies the same age. That’s so funny. That’s crazy. Wild. But it’s true, like you can’t make them be good through [00:27:00] fear or punishment like ever. Ever and . And then it just always makes things worse. It always makes things worse. And that’s why like, I mean, that’s why it’s so hard oftentimes to have like rational discussions about things like drugs or religion because like people just get too emotionally involved and you kind of think like, you’re gonna, you’re gonna believe my way or I’m going to hurt you.

Like I’m going to defend this to the point of violence. And it’s just like, that’s why I , some people get mad at me. Grassroots because they felt like I didn’t take a firm enough stand, you know, either way. And some people also like seem to have a really hard, a hard, they seem to have some difficulty with differentiating between smoking pot and writing about pot as like a historical phenomenon.

So like a lot of people just like make these really dumb jokes, like yeah, I bet you’re using a lot. Grass when you’re writing grassroots or whatever. And I was like, No. I was writing like a [00:28:00] deeply researched, like historical book based off of my PhD dissertation. Like, no, I wasn’t high the whole time. Like, that’s ridiculous.

But people were upset with me because I wasn’t taking firm enough stand. Like I wasn’t coming out like very strongly as an activist for legalization or, or alternatively against it. I didn’t make my, my political position clear enough. And I don’t know if. Like in the same way you’re saying like, Well who should legislate morality?

You know, in the same way, I don’t feel like history books necessarily have to be legislating morality, right? Like I don’t feel like I needed to tell people what to believe. I just wanted to tell them what happened and how we got here. So that as things move forward and as we continue to watch this really like unique historical period evolve, we’ll be more prepared to understand.

The potential downsides that might occur or the potential benefits that might occur, and like try to maybe guide the process [00:29:00] more toward the benefits, like rather than the downsides. So it’s, you know, I do feel like there’s a real need to understand drugs in like a non-emotional, non hot take, non, like just understanding them as like a historical artifact where.

Certain things have happened from 1917 to today to create the world we live in, and we should probably understand how we got here. And so I wrote a book about it, , and now we’re talking about it. All right, , 

De’Vannon: just bring it full circle. I love it. And you’re right, your book is very energetically neutral. It is very energetically like neutral.

Yeah, I did pick up on that. And you know, most of you know historians, they just tell what happened and so I, you know, I was interviewing somebody else and I was, and he had gotten some reviews that kind of roughed his feathers and I was telling him, You know what, I’ll tell you the same thing. Like Amazon and all these different book places don’t.

Perform mental health test [00:30:00] on people who go in there and leave reviews . So there’s no tell on what you’re gonna get, so 

Emily: please gimme the most recent report from your therapist before you post on this review. . Oh my God. The best review I got was someone was really mad that I was mean to Nancy Reagan, and they were like, it’s not like she committed tax fraud.

Nancy Reagan’s not that bad. And I was like, Is that your bar? Like tax fraud? Or? So that was everyone else’s reviews on Amazon are almost all from my friends, so those are all nice that Perfect. They’re all the friends. I ask like, Please leave an Amazon review for my book. Thank you. 

De’Vannon: Hey, nothing like that inner circle chosen family, baby.

Oh baby. That person commented on the tax fraud, though, probably commits tax fraud and they were projecting that. Oh my 

Emily: god. 100%. 

De’Vannon: Yeah. . So I wanted to talk about Atlanta 1976 because. [00:31:00] I felt like Miss, Miss Marsha Sard, and I have to admit when I read that name immediately, Andrew DeMar Shinard from Rent from the Musical

Oh my God. It came to my mind and I had to go look it up. I was like, Is there a relation here today, tomorrow for me? What’s going on ? So, but there is no relation. So it’s, it’s 

Emily: inside a gay boy. No, I can’t unsee it. I can’t unsee it. 

De’Vannon: and Atlanta especially. Cause my boyfriend is from Atlanta, you know, from that area.

And so Hills, well todo neighborhood. Marsha is you know, she’s walks into like her teens having this party and everyone’s. you know, paring it up. Her and her husband go out fine, like the weed butts and everything like that. And, and then she goes run snitch to all the other parents because of course there was other teenage there.

And we all know [00:32:00] snitches get stitches, y’all. And so what I documented was the parents’ reactions usually that the parents’ reactions ran the gamut from shock, confusion, indignation, concern, denial, and hostility. Now in the book, you, you know, this woman is like, Slated to be a Democrat. Mm-hmm. . And so that really, really shocked me.

And and her, her emotions. I don’t feel like those emotions have changed over the years. I feel like that’s the same way people react to Dave. Would you agree? 

Emily: Yeah, I think, I think you’re onto something there. Yeah. Like it, it was her, her politics are really interesting. So Keith, she goes by Keith, which again is kind of.

You have to get, wrap your head around this woman, this like mom of three who goes by Keith. And then it’s hard cuz I’m also writing about Keith Strop, the founder of Normal, the National Organization for the reform of marijuana laws, which are like, you know, going gangbusters at this time. [00:33:00]So there’s a lot of Keith’s, you know, so keep the Keiths straight in your mind.

But so Keith Shart is this mom She has a PhD in British literature. She’s not teaching, but her husband is at Emory, and so she’s like home with these kids. So like I see her as being really smart. probably pretty bored, right? Being home with kids, like when you have a PhD and you’re clearly like a life of the mind kind of person.

Being home with little kids can be like really boring and you can have like maybe a lot of leftover energy. And so she throws this like backyard birthday party for her 13 year old daughter. And like the kids are acting weird and she’s kind of freaking out and she sees like they’re up in their bedroom, like looking out in the backyard, her and her husband and they see the lighters flicker in the bushes, but they assume it’s cigarettes.

But the kids are like really acting funny. And so once everybody leaves, they go into the backyard and they’re searching around and they [00:34:00] find. Roaches. And they also find like, like alcohol containers, right? So the kids aren’t just smoke smoking pot, they’re, they’re drinking too. , The scandal, the scandal 13, I mean 13 is young.

Like for, like, I was not, I was not playing those games at 13, but I understand that my experience is not the experience of everyone. And, and now I’m like, as a mom, I’m kind of like, Oh, if I caught Henry doing that, like I’d be probably be pretty pissed. But but anyway, so she. She goes into like hardcore activist mode, like right away, you know, she was like, Boom.

And she is buoyed by the concepts of. Second wave feminism that are like really prominent at the time where you do consciousness raising groups and you get together with people who are sharing your same experience and you talk about it, right? Because the personal is political and you try to figure out a way to change society for the better.

Like that is very much like the kind of social [00:35:00] milu that shoe hard is coming from in, in 76 in Atlanta. Because remember, like Atlanta’s pretty liberal at this time. Like Jimmy Carter is governor and he is running for president. You know, like it’s the bicentennial. Everybody’s like super patriotic, right?

It’s an interesting time. So she gets together with all the other parents and she’s like, Our kids are smoking pot. This seems to be an issue like this. This. This is, this is something we should probably pay attention to. And she kind of blames it on the fact that for the past three years, more and more states had steadily been decriminalizing marijuana possession.

So it started in Oregon in 73, but by 76, I think there were probably like,

Probably like six, five or six states by that point that had decriminalized, right? Georgia wasn’t one of them, but others did. And so there’s this burgeoning drug paraphernalia industry, like basically just like today, this was happening in the mid, the early [00:36:00] 1970s where like. A semi-legal cannabis marketplace was taking shape in America.

And when a marketplace builds and expands, more people tend to utilize it. So more people were using pot, more people were smoking pot, and then it was trickling down and it was getting to kids. So like Keith Shoe hard’s, daughter 13 found some pot and was smoking it at her birthday party. And like that made shard really upset.

So even though she was a Democrat and she was a liberal, She was really opposed to what the liberal agenda had pushed, which was decriminalization. So she starts basically a nationwide grassroots army of parents to overturn decriminalization laws and kind of stop the burgeoning paraphernalia industry.

And it just so happens that in 1984 years later, when Ronald Reagan gets elected, he takes their concept. Nationalizes [00:37:00] it further and then turns it into federal policy. So it was the parent movement that gave us basically the entire concept of just say no. So yeah, the 1980s were birthed in the 1970s in Atlanta, Georgia in 1976.

De’Vannon: Right. And right. Thank you for breaking that down so beautifully. And I, and I felt like from, from the way that you wrote, you really, really wanted people to know the importance that small community groups like this actually, the impact that they have on federal policy, not as, so that we don’t undervalue this or underestimate.


Emily: And so it’s amazing. Well, when you tap into a zeitgeist like that, like, like what, what Shoe hard and other people in Atlanta tapped into was something that And ended up people were feeling nationwide. And that’s the exact same thing that was happening with medical marijuana laws. And it’s the exact same thing that’s happening with legalization laws now.

I mean, people are tapping into like it’s a zeitgeist straight now. You know? Like more like I think Maryland, where I live is, I think we’re [00:38:00] voting to legalize this. I think we’re voting to legalize next month. Like it’s movement, baby. It’s movement. 

De’Vannon: May the force be with you? May 

Emily: the force be, I think it’ll pass pretty easily.

I think it’ll pass pretty easily. Now it’s just a matter of what the market will look like, what we’ll actually do with it in the. Which is crazy. It’s a 

De’Vannon: step. The thing that stood out to me about Mrs. Manas, was she, she, she kept saying like, it was like, for the children, you, the children, half of the children, you know, I’m getting like flashbacks to one division, you know, for Disney when they’re, you know, her and vision, you know, Wanda Envision, you know, wanting to max him off.

Yeah. Marvel, you know, I’m like, geeking out right now. But , they kept saying that thing for the children and there weren’t any fucking children. Because she had, she had put ’em all to sleep, but she, I, I was like, Okay, I wonder if she asked the children what they want or was she just using them to enforce her agenda every time?

I see like a [00:39:00] politician, especially like, I mean, you know, especially like the Republican and stuff like that, wanting to enact negative policies on behalf of veterans. For instance, me being a military veteran, I always, I’m like, I don’t want you to do that. Like everything you’re doing, I don’t want you to do.

You didn’t ask me . So, but they’re like, Our veterans wouldn’t want my choice. Yeah. no. And so, I don’t know. That stood out to me like right, like the children, but they don’t. I don’t know what to call that. What do you call that when people do that? Are they, are they calling themselves doing it in the name of righteousness?

Are they getting, Now you’re a parent now, so you have this feeling. Would you go and do something this adverse on behalf of your children without consulting their opinion First

And I don’t understand 

Emily: that they prefer that. Right. They would love to, they’d love to gimme their opinions. Right. But you know, I. I think you’re to a really important question, right? Which is like, [00:40:00] where do the rights of children end and the rights of adults begin, right? So like when, when Keith, Shar, and every and everybody else in the parent movement is saying, Oh my God.

We have to repeal decriminalization laws because of the children. Like do it for the children. The children are being harmed by these drugs. But then that transforms from like, we have to have these laws for the children to, We have to excessively punish. Adults for drug possession or dealing or whatever else excessively punish them.

Like especially after the 1986 Drug Abuse Act, right? When you’re getting mandatory minimums of 5, 10, 15 years when we’re locking up millions of people for drug possession. Like where does the rights of children end And like the range of adults in and the pushback to that. But what about the children line of thought did finally start to come in the nineties, right?

[00:41:00] When marijuana legalization efforts dovetailed with the gay rights movement in what I think is just one of the most fascinating, like historical co ever, right? So in California, in San Francisco, as AIDS is starting to. Decimate the gay population. You have a couple of activists, including Dennis Perran and Brownie Mary Rath Fund, whose real name is Mary Jane, which is crazy.

They’re using marijuana to like give to these aids patients who, like doctors don’t wanna touch, nobody wants to get near them. No one knows what to do. No one knows how to treat hiv. It’s brand new. Right? And Brownie Mary and Dennis Perran are. Have a, have a pot and infuse brownie, like you’re gonna get your appetite back, Your nausea is gonna chill out.

You’re gonna feel pretty good. You’re gonna have some energy. You can like go to the [00:42:00] bank. You can do like an errand right before you die. A horribly of aids like my God. Right? So they’re saying, where did the rights of children end? Yes. We kept children so safe from pot that like by the early eighties, like no one is smoking pot anymore and we’re locking.

Tens of thousands of people, right? Like every month, right? Okay, great. We’ve done it. We won the drug war. But now it turns out this substance does have some medical utility for a patient group that is increasingly becoming like really sympathetic. You know, like cuz you have, I mean Arthur Ash contracts, hiv God, that little boy got it through like a blood transfusion or something.

So you start to like have like really sympathetic feelings towards, Oh, Princess Diana visits the HIV clinic in the San Francisco General Hospital. Right? Like suddenly it becomes really sympathetic and laws start to change, right? Suddenly adults rights, especially like adults dying of AIDS and cancer, like their rights become much more important than protecting children from pot.

And then, [00:43:00] Can kind of move like fast forward into the two thousands. 2010, the legalization movement joins with the social justice movement. So in 2010, Michelle Alexander publishes her book The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness, which is canonical at this point. Canonical, I tell you, and like it is all.

The effects of locking up nonviolent offenders, the vast majority of which are black men. Like, well, what have we done in America By locking up millions of people, more people, more black people are incarcerated in the United States than in South Africa at the height of apartheid. Like what effects does that have culturally, socially, economically?

It has effects. And she lays them out and we’re all like, Oh my God. Now we know. And laws started to change right after that, right? In 2012, you have the first states legalized Colorado and Washington by combining legalization [00:44:00] with calls for social justice, right? If cannabis is the source of massive amounts of black incarceration, legalized cannabis, right?

That’s one way to like act on social justice, and it was also legalized through. Outright calls for generating tax revenue, right? Like here is something that we can legalize and tax the be Jesus out of. And not only are we like doing good on social justice initiatives, but we’re also gonna make a boatload of money.

Like it’s a total win-win at the moment. And that’s basically, again, arguments for the rights of adults, right? Should we, should we incarcerate X number of million of people, millions of people for cannabis possession? So again, like. Argument for its children’s rights, which was like so immensely powerful in the 1970s and eighties has now I would say, really been pushed to the back burner by almost three decades of really concerted and very powerful and very influential activism for adults rights to access cannabis, [00:45:00] for medical, and then social justice and economic initiatives.

De’Vannon: And that’s the tea. Y’all, Y’all have it? Emily . 

Emily: There’s, there’s 50 years of cannabis history guys. Woo. . 

De’Vannon: And, you know, I work with you know, so many people right now, and I, and I, I love how you, I feel like your book is almost like a, a user’s manual for people who wanna get into this fight. You know, you’re giving historical context, you’re giving advice and everything.

And so You know, I’m thinking about, you know, a friend of mine if her name is iFit Harvey, she runs the people of Color Collective. People of color, Psychedelic Collective, which is based out of New York City. And you know, and I, and I work with them, you know, I just did an interview, you know, for, I gave them an interview the other day and we were talking about like you know, marijuana, you know, the way it’s, you know, criminalized here in Louisiana where I live versus where one of their.[00:46:00]

Satellite locations is in Oregon, in Portland. And so, you know, things like this are very helpful you know, for young people cuz these people are really, really like young who have started this, you know, psychedelic collective and everything like that. And so I think, yeah. Right. I think books like this are so like, useful.

So we’re nearing the end of our hour and so I just wanted to mention. You mentioned normal earlier. I wanna tell people that stands for the I think you said, at the National Organization for the Reform rather than repe of marijuana laws. And then we’ll go right into talking about like your your lessons and things like that.

And, and we may just pick like one or two that that’s important to you. But and so another little, a final ex sweep from the book. I’m channeling my inner Bugs Bunny, so an ex. From the book, it says normal, you know, or ML argue that marijuana smokers or consumers not deviance and deserve the same rights to protection and [00:47:00] safety as any other group.

Including access to the drug without pollutants or contaminants. A competitive marketplace free from monopolies and conglomerates, and especially freedom from harassment by the poll lease. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. felt like a, a Southern Sunday. God

Emily: I love it. I want you to record the audio book. That’s great. I love it. . 

De’Vannon: Oh, I’ll do it. I love getting on this microphone right here and do it. I did my own audio book. Oh, that’s awesome. And so I wanted to bring that up because like you had normal fighting for it. You had Miss, Miss Minnaar fighting against it back then.

Like you say in the book, we have the same thing now because I don’t want people to wrestling their laurels and get so comfortable thinking that it’s a home run. It’s a clean slate. You know? We must stay vigilant. 

Emily: Mm. Yes, totally. I think that’s, I mean, it, it does [00:48:00] feel like to me, I feel like. Pot becomes the scariest drug around when there’s no other boogie in.

So in like the 1970s, early 1970s when the first decriminalization laws were being passed, we’re also kind of going through a heroin epidemic, right? And right now we’ve been going through the opioid epidemic for like, whoa, 30 years or so, . But it’s kind of coming to its natural. At the same time that the legal cannabis marketplace is really starting to heat up and when opioids become like, when there’s no like, like meth was a boogieman for a while.

Crack was a boogieman for a while, but opioids have been a bo the boogieman for like 30 years. And if that starts to tamp down, if we start to feel less scared about that and there’s like sort of like a void in like the drug boogieman cuz you know, we always need a drug boogieman. We’re America, we need a drug boogieman and.

Pot. Well sometimes I think come back and fill that [00:49:00] role. Like there, there could be widespread rejection of the legal marketplace. I mean, in certain places, right? Like in Massachusetts that legalized. However long ago, some communities don’t want it, and they are allowed to say within that state’s jurisdiction.

We do not want any cannabis marketplaces within our community borders. So there’s gonna be some nimbyism and there’s going to be some nimbyism like, yes, in my backyard to it. But again, it’s, you don’t know what’s like, we don’t know what’s going to happen. This is a brand new marketplace that could bust its boots like.

I mean, it’s been around for a decade now, which is amazing. But things are gonna get big fast and if people don’t like it, it could very well turn, turn back around. I mean, that’s not impossible. It’s not, it’s improbable, but not impossible. Mm-hmm. . 

De’Vannon: So what I’ll do in the interest of time, I’ll just read the title of each of the six letter , then people can go and buy the book to get the advice that you have in there.

Do it. I think that and after I [00:50:00] read the titles, and I’ll let you have our last word. . Which is a, which is another a page I borrowed from the book of Joy read because she she always gives her guests, you know, like the last word and everything like that. And so I thought you a good idea. I’m very inspired by that woman, and so, oh, I love it.

So, lesson one, make your argument as sympathetic as possible. The lesson two, it’s all about the money. lesson three. Be prepared to watch your progress disappear. That’s the most shocking one for me and in my inten, in my opinion, the most sobering, less than four. Don’t rely too heavily on the White House, and she means over multiple administrations.

And then less than five, respect your opposition, less than six. Keep a sense of perspective, which is also a statement of humility. So her website is emily din.com, Social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, India, [00:51:00] Instagram, medium. Oh podcast. You can listen to Emily conduct interviews, new books.

Networks has a Drugs Addiction and Recovery podcast. This book is grass Roots. And then she already mentioned the other one she has coming out. So with that, I’m gonna shut my cock up. And any last , anything that you would like to say and just take it away, darling. 

Emily: Oh, My gratitude is to you for, for having me, but also for bringing your message and your love, and your light and your spirit to the people.

I am grateful to you and for all the work you do. So thank you very much. 

De’Vannon: All right. Thanks everybody for tuning in. Happy Halloween. Happy Halloween. 

Emily: Don’t eat Fentanyl Candy .

De’Vannon: Thank you all so much for taking time to listen to the Sex Drugs in Jesus podcast. It really means everything to me. Look, if you love the show, you [00:52:00] can find more information and resources at Sex Drugs and jesus.com or wherever you listen to your podcast. Feel free to reach out to me directly at DeVannon@SexDrugsAndJesus.com and on Twitter and Facebook as well.

My name is De’Vannon, and it’s been wonderful being your host today. And just remember that everything is gonna be right.


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