[The 90’s: NORML and Health Care Convention]

Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. Interview with Don Fiedler (1943-2008), the national director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and then footage of a health care convention.

00:00Copy video clip URL Interview with Don Fiedler in his office. Fiedler is the national director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which is celebrating its 20th year. He talks about the mission of the group in reforming laws concerning use and testing.

02:45Copy video clip URL Fiedler talks about William Bennett, and says though he has never met Bennett, Fiedler considers him a dangerous man with an addiction problem. Bennett apparently smokes cigarettes secretly though he is against smoking in Congress, and Fiedler criticizes such hypocrisy.

06:29Copy video clip URL Fiedler explains the history of marijuana prohibition, discussing to some extent the hemp industry and the medicinal use of marijuana. Concerning hemp, Fiedler says, “There’s a lot of speculation that there was a fear that this marijuana plant… would also impose some dangers industrially.” Fiedler finds that there are many misconceptions about marijuana, especially in comparison to other drugs, citing that there have been no deaths attributed to the overdose of marijuana.

15:05Copy video clip URL As for damage to the lungs, Fiedler says that there is damage to the lungs but there is no proof that marijuana explicitly is a carcinogen. And for asthmatics, marijuana can have a positive therapeutic effect. He even encourages marijuana for stopping morning sickness in pregnant women. Fiedler clarifies his position on marijuana use in young people.

21:00Copy video clip URL Fiedler is frustrated by the ambiguity of the word “drug,” and he explains the different meanings the word evokes to different people, giving statistics about prescription drugs and overdoses. He says that intoxication is natural in many creatures, and we just have to “distinguish between use and abuse.” Decrease in productivity, for instance, would constitute abuse of marijuana, but should not be considered criminal. Age restrictions should be in place and driving while under the influence should still be illegal however, according to Fiedler.

26:45Copy video clip URL Fiedler shows Becker a political cartoon on his wall, his desk and office, and introduces Becker to his staff. He says 14.2 billion dollars will be used this year to enforce marijuana laws.

36:42Copy video clip URL Outside. Fiedler walks down the street, going through his mail, and says 327,000 people were arrested in 1988 for simple possession of marijuana. He shares with Becker the contents of some of his more interesting mail.

40:20Copy video clip URL Concerning the alleged drug use of D.C. mayor Marion Barry, Fiedler feels that he could not get help because of his position, and that made the situation worse.

43:16Copy video clip URL Fiedler talks about the American Bar Association rescinding the (18 year) resolution of the decriminalization of marijuana. He continues to go through his mail. He says only five patients nationwide are receiving marijuana, and Fiedler details their cases and the success of medicinal marijuana.

55:06Copy video clip URL Fiedler now talks about cocaine, and does not condone it officially, because it is dangerous in comparison to marijuana. Legalization of marijuana separates its market from that of cocaine. He says that marijuana is the third largest cash crop, after oil and corn, even surpassing tobacco.

01:01:25Copy video clip URL Back inside, Fiedler is talking about marijuana birdseed. Fiedler owns a stained glass pane with a dove on it, representing the bird’s love of marijuana seed.

01:05:12Copy video clip URL More shots of the office: a picture of the marijuana plant, Fiedler going through the newspaper, bumper stickers for their organization, and some sterilized seeds. Fiedler goes on to talk about the reforms of NORML, and the state of the organization.

01:11:55Copy video clip URL Cuts to tape of a health care convention. A representative talks about problems with health insurance. A sign behind him reads, “When it comes to health care, nobody’s better at taking care of business.” The man expects higher consciousness about health care and insurance in the ’90s. His company, American International Health Care, processes claims to deal with different types of plans. He has a computer displaying the system. He and Becker discuss the rising cost of health care, and efficient and effective medical treatment. “We’re not advocating that any corners be cut,” he says, the company only wants to make sure that people aren’t taking superfluous tests.

01:22:21Copy video clip URL A woman demonstrates the “HiRider” for paraplegics, which is narrower than wheelchairs. “It’s the only product on the market that is mobile in the standing position.” The chair has a sitting and standing position, and she explains its features in comparison to other products.

01:26:18Copy video clip URL A representative for USP (the United States Pharmacopeia), which sets standards for drug quality (which the FDA enforces). She explains that USP provides extensive information to the consumer, bridging the gap between health care providers and drug companies, and the consumer. The company tests and researches the drugs, setting the standard, while the FDA polices. USP is at the convention to address non-approved uses of drugs. Effective drugs not approved by the FDA for that use, are submitted to the USP by health care professionals. She says they are creating electronic databases of their data.

01:38:52Copy video clip URL The CEO of Claims Services Research Group, which provides people for dealing with insurance claims, talks about the necessity for humans in spite of data processing systems.

01:41:28Copy video clip URL A representative for a company of third party administrators in small group insurance, Dun & Bradstreet Plan Services, explains the goal of the company. A sign near her advertises “Cost Watch,” a cost management program which assists in determining the appropriateness of care and expense of care. She talks at length about the response of doctors, the mission of the company in reducing costs, and the patronage of insurance companies.

01:53:23Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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