POT PARADE & RALLY

The push to legalize. Thousands are expected at a planned pro-pot parade and rally here in Manhattan tomorrow. New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James is here with the details.

Aired on May 04, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

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

NEW YORKERS WILL SET TO SHOW UP FOR THE ANNUAL CANNABIS PARADE, PROTESTERS CALLING FOR AN END TO MARIJUANA PROHIBITION AND DEMANDING END TO RATIONALLY MOST MOTIVATED ARRESTS.

THE TOP FILBERS HISTORICALLY SHOW OPPOSITION.

DESPITE HAVING ESTABLISHED A MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM IN THE STATE AND A STUDY TO EXPLORE THE IMPACT OF RECREAKSLE LEGALIZATION.

GOVERNOR COUPLEA REMAINED RELUCTANTANT TO ENDORSE LEGAL STATION.

WHILE THE GOVERNOR AND MAYOR RARELY SEE EYE TO EYE ON THIS THEY APPEAR TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE.

WITH THE MAYOR OPPOSING LEGALIZATION BACKUP.

BUT FOR ANOTHER PROMINENT NEW YORK ELECTED OFFICIAL ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND THE TIME FOR LEGALIZATION IS NOW.

THAT IS LA TISSUA JAMES WHO JOINS US.

PUBLIC ADVOCATE JAMES WELCOME BACK.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

PUBLIC ADVOCATE JAMES, THE ISSUE OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IS NOT NEW.

NINE STATES PLUS WASHINGTON, D.C. HAVE LEGALIZED IT.

WHY DID YOU COME TO BELIEVE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO FOCUS ON THIS NOW.

IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT NEW JERSEY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE NEW GOVERNOR IS CONSIDERING LEGALIZING MARIJUANA.

LISTEN, WE ARE -- WE HAVE TO FACE FACTS.

ONE THE WAR ON DRUGS HAS BEEN A COMPLETE FAILURE.

IN FACT THE WAR ON DRUGS IS NOTHING MORE THAN A WAR OR POOR PEOPLE AND PEOPLE OF COLOR.

80% OF THE PEOPLE CONVICTED OF SMALL POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR, BLACK AND LATINO, AND MOST OF THEM Le-INCOME INDIVIDUALS IN HE CITY OF NEW YORK.

AT THE SAME TIME THE USE IS THE SAME TESLA THE USE AMONGST RACES AND ETHNIC GROUPS ARE THE SAME.

IT'S ON AVERAGE THE SAME BUT ENFORCEMENT UNFORTUNATELY -- UNFORTUNATELY IS PRIMARILY DISPROPORTIONALLY AFFECTING PEOPLE OF COLOR AND POOR PEOPLE IN OUR CITY AND STATE.

I SAY LET'S REGULATE IT AND LEGALIZE IT.

AND LET'S USE THOSE RESOURCES AS A RESULT OF THE LEGALIZATION TO INVEST IN COMMUNITIES THAT UNFORTUNATELY HAVE BEEN DEVASTATESED BY THIS.

SPECIFICALLY INVEST IN WHAT.

SO 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.

AREAS AND RESOURCES THAT HAVEN'T BEEN FUNDED IN A LONG TIME.

AND PARTICULARLY AT THIS TIME WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT COOPERATING WITH MUNICIPALITIES AND/OR STATES SFLA BUT I MEAN 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 TO AGGRESSIVE MARKETING TO PEOPLE WHO ARE ADDICTED TO THE PRODUCTS JUST AS HAPPENS WITH ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO WHO MAKE MOST OF THE PROFITS BY SELLING TO PEOPLE WHO ARE SERIOUSLY ADDICTED TO THE PRODUCTS.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT.

TO THE PROHIB HISSING ON ALCOHOL ON CIGARETTES OBVIOUSLY FAILED AND WE LEGALIZED THAT.

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT REGULATION.

AND WE ARE 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?

ONE NEW ZEALAND STUDY FOLLOWED TRACKED USERS MANY YEARS AND SHOWED OF AN AVERAGE DROP OF 8 POINTS OF IQ FOR PEOPLE CHRONICALLY USED.

AND THE POINTS NEVER COME.

AND A NORTHWESTERN STUDY SAYS IT'S A LOSS OF SHORT TERM AND LONG-TERM TERM MEMORY.

MOST OF THOSE STUDIES WERE BASED ON ABUSE WHERE INDIVIDUALS USE HIGH AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA.

ANDWAY WE TALK ABOUT IS LIMITED USE REGULATED.

YOU'RE PREPARED TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR ON THIS.

YES I'VE SPOKEN TO THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, GOVERNOR CUOMO APPEAR WE AGREED TO LOOK AT THIS TOGETHER.

AS HE ANALYZES AND ISSUES A REPORT AND STUDIES THE ISSUE AND ANALYZES AGAIN ITS -- HOW IT'S BEEN HANDLED IN NINE STATES AND ITS IMPACT BOTH POSITIVELY AND NEGATIVELY.

AND I LOOK FORWARD AGAIN TO THE REPORT AND HIS RECOMMENDATIONS GOING FORWARD.

NOW, YOU SAID THAT YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW A PROGRESSIVE COULD BE AGAINST LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA.

BASICALLY DIRECTED AT THE MAYOR.

IS THAT FAIR?

THE MAYOR IS A PROGRESSIVE GUY.

AND THERE ARE LEGITIMATE CONCERNS AS YOU YOURSELF HAVE SAID.

THERE ARE LEGITIMATE CONCERNS.

BUT LET'S BE HONEST THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK HAS BAKTED IN THE PAST HE SMOKED MARIJUANA.

AND SO I THINK SINCE WE ALREADY HAVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA HERE IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND IT'S GOING WELL, FOR THOSE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS ARE STRUGGLING AND SUFFERING AND THERE HAVE NOT BEEN ANY ADVERSE EFFECTS AND/OR IMPACTS, I THINK THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT 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, AGAIN BECAUSE THE WAR ON DRUGS UNFORTUNATELY HAS HAD AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES OF CHLORCOLOR AND LOW INCOME KUNTZ IT'S DESTROYED THEM.

IT'S BEEN A COMPLETE FAILURE.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THOSE SAYING YOU TAKING ON THIS ISSUE IS THE FIRST SALVO TO YOUR MAYORAL RUN IN 2021.

SO AGAIN WE ARE NOT FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE.

WHAT WE ARE DOING IS FOLKING ON THE ROYALTY AT A PUBLIC ADVOCATE IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK TAKING ON DIFFICULT ISSUES AND TAKING DIFFICULT STANDS.

AND I KNOW THIS IS A DIFFICULT ISSUE.

BUT I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT INDIVIDUALS UNDERSTAND THAT THE WAR ON DRUGS HAS FAILED.

AND THAT THE PROHIBITION AGAINST ALCOHOL THERE WAS A SIMILAR CONCERN WITH RESPECT TO ALCOHOL AND WE REGULATED IT.

AND AGAIN WE SHOULD DO THE SAME WITH MARIJUANA BECAUSE TOO MANY LIVES UNFORTUNATELY HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED AS A RESULT OF THIS WHERE ON POOR PEOPLE.

BUT YOU ARE RUNNING IN 2021 CORRECT, FOR MAYOR.

I'M CONSIDERING MY OPTIONS IN THE FUTURE.

BUT AT THIS POINT I'M JUST FOCUSING ON THE BEING A PUBLIC ADVOCATE.

WELL THANK YOU VERY MUCH 37 IT'S A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE AND A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE.

THANK YOU FOR TAKING IT ON

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