NYC GOING TO POT

Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD will reform policies on marijuana enforcement in the city. New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James joins us to share her take on the legalization debate.

Aired on May 16, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> TODAY I'M ANNOUNCING THAT THE NYPD WILL OVERHAUL AND REFORM ITS POLICIES RELATED TO MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT IN THE NEXT 30 DAYS.

[ APPLAUSE ]

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO METROFOCUS I'M RAFAEL PI RAMAN.

MAYOR DEBLAST OWE IS MAKING A CHANGE IN THE WAY NYPD AND THE CITY HANDLE INSTANCE OF MARIJUANA POE SEKS OF THE ONE OF THE MOST VOCAL AT VOEKD IS PUBLIC ADVOCATE LETITIA JAMES.

I REASON HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH HER ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND BEGAN THE CONVERSATION BY ASKING HER WHY DECRIMINALIZATION HAS BECOME SUCH A BURNING ISSUE NOW.

LISTEN WE HAVE TO FACE FACTS.

ONE, THE WAR ON DRUGS HAS BEEN A COMPLETE FAILURE.

IT'S BEEN NOTHING MORE THAN A WAR ON POOR PEOPLE AND PEOPLE OF COLOR.

80% OF THE INDIVIDUALS ARRESTED OR CONVICTED OF SMALL POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR, BLACK AND LATINO.

AND MOST OF THEM ARE LOW INCOME INDIVIDUALS IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

AT THE SAME TIME, THE USE IS THE SAME ACROSS.

THE USE AMONGST RACES AND ETHNIC GROUPS ARE BASICALLY THE SAME.

YEAH IT'S ON AVERAGE THE SAME BUT ENFORCEMENT UNFORTUNATELY -- UNFORTUNATELY IS PRIMARILY DISPROPORTIONALLY WILL AFFECTING PEOPLE OF COLOR AND POOR PEOPLE.

AND SO I SAY LET'S REGULATE IT.

LET'S LEGALIZE IT AND LET'S USE THE RESOURCES AS A RESULT OF THE LEGALIZATION TO INVEST IN COMMUNITIES THAT UNFORTUNATELY HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED BY THIS FAILED.

INVEST IN WHAT.

INVEST IN-HOUSING.

INVEST IN SCHOOLS.

INVEST IN PARKS AND OPEN SPACE.

INVEST IN EMPLOYMENT.

INVEST IN EDUCATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION.

INVEST IN JOB TRAINING.

INVEST IN AREAS AND IN RESOURCES THAT UNFORTUNATELY HAVE NOT BEEN FUNDED IN A VERY LONG TIME.

AND PARTICULARLY AT THIS TIME WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT COOPERATING WITH MUNICIPALITIES AND/OR STATES.

BUT THERE ARE SOME LEGITIMATE CONCERNS ABOUT LEGALIZING MARIJUANA.

FOR EXAMPLE THERE IS A CONCERN THAT ALLOWING FOR PROFIT BUSINESSES TO SELL MARIJUANA COULD LEAD TO AGGRESSIVE MARKETING TO PEOPLE WHO ARE ADDICTED THE PRODUCT JUDGES AS HAPPENS WITH ALCOHOL AND TOBAGO WHO MAKE MOST OF THE PROFITS BY SELLING TO PEOPLE WHO ARE SERIOUSLY ADDICTED TO THOSE PRODUCTS.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT.

TO THE PROHIBITION AND ALCOHOL AND PROHIBITION AND CIGARETTES, OBVIOUSLY HAS FAILED AND WE HAVE LEGALIZED THAT.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT REGULATION.

AND WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT A DISPENSARY ON EVERY CORNER.

AND WE'RE ONLY TALKING ABOUT RECREATIONAL USE FOR ADULTS AND ADULTS ONLY.

IT'S IMPORTANT THAT INDIVIDUALS UNDERSTAND THAT IT WILL BE REGULATED.

THAT IT WILL BE TRACKED

WHAT ABOUT THE HEALTH CONCERNS?

I MEAN, ONE NEW ZEALAND STUDY SHOWED -- FOLLOWED TRACKED USERS FOR MANY YEARS AND SHOWED THERE WAS AN AVERAGE DROP OF 8 POINTS OF IQ FOR PEOPLE WHO CHRONICALLY USED IT.

THE POINTS NEVER COME BECOME EVEN AFTER THEY STOPPED.

IN THE KBREFTEN STUDY SAYS IT'S ASSOCIATED WITH A LOSS OF SHORT AND LONG-TERM MEMORY.

THERE ARE SOME CONCERNS.

BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT MOST STUDIES HAVE BEEN BASED ON ABUSE WHERE INDIVIDUALS USE HIGH AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA.

WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT REGULATED AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA -- LIMITED USE.

YOU ARE PREPARED TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR ON THIS.

YES.

I'VE SPOKEN TO THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND WE'VE AGREED TO LOOK AT THIS TOGETHER AS HE ANALYZES AND ISSUES A REPORT AND STUDIES THE ISSUE AND ANALYZEDS AGAIN IT'S HOW IT'S BEEN HANDLED IN NINE STATES AND ITS IMPACT BOTH POSITIVE POSITIVELY AND NEGATIVELY.

AND I LOOK FORWARD AGAIN TO THE REPORT.

SINCE WE ALREADY HAVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA HERE IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND IT'S GOING WELL FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE STRUGGLING AND SUFFERING.

AND THERE HAVE NOT BEEN ADVERSE EFFECTS AND/OR IMPACTS I THINK THIS IS AN ISSUE WE CAN EXPLORE IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK JUST AS NEW JERSEY IS EXPLORING AND THE OTHER NINE STATES PLUS THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BECAUSE THE WHERE ON DRUGS HAS HAD AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES.

IT'S DESTROYED THEM AND BEEN A COMPLETE FAILURE.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THOSE WHO SAY THIS IS THE FIRST SAL ROE TO THE MAYORAL RUN IN 2021.

WE'RE FOCUSINGS ON THE ROLE AS A PUBLIC ADVOCATE FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

TAKING ON DIFFICULT ISSUES AND DIFFICULT STANDS.

I KNOW THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT ISSUE.

BUT IMPRISONING IT'S IMPORTANT THAT INDIVIDUALS UNDERSTAND THAT THE WAR ON DRUGS HAS FAILED AND THE PROHIBITION AGAINST ALCOHOL THERE WAS A SIMILAR CONCERN WITH RESPECT TO CLL.

A APPEAR.

AND WE REGULATED IT.

AGAIN WE SHOULD DO THE SAME WITH MARIJUANA.

BECAUSE TOO MANY LIVES UNFORTUNATELY HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED AS A RESULT OF THIS WHERE OP POOR PEOPLE.

BUT YOU ARE UNARING IN 2021 CORRECT FOR MAYOR IN I'M CONSIDERING MY OPTIONS IN THE FUTURE BUT AT THIS POINT IN I'M JUST FOCUSING OHHEN BEING A PUBLIC ADVOCATE FOR NEW YORK.

WELL THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE AND IMPORTANT ISSUE THANK YOU FOR TAKING IT ON THING YOUR JOINING US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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