POT, POLITICS AND THE POLICE

August 07, 2018 at 4:45 am

As the Mayor directs the NYPD to issue tickets over jail time for those caught with marijuana, Governor Cuomo announces a new work group to regulate our pot market. We visit a local dispensary to meet one of the biggest drug dealers in New York City.

Aired on August 6, 2018.

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>>> GOVERNOR CUOMO RECENTLY
REFERRED TO MARIJUANA AS A
GATEWAY DRUG IS LEADING THE
CHARGE TO LEGALIZE IT IN NEW
YORK STATE.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
CONCLUDED THERE ARE MORE
POSITIVE EFFECTS THAT'S
POTENTIAL NEGATIVE EFFECTS.
THE GOVERNOR IS ASSEM NLING A
PANEL TO DRAFT LEGISLATION TO
LEGALIZE AND REGULATE THE
MARIJUANA MARKET.
THAT BILL COULD BE INTRODUCED AS
EARLY AS JANUARY.
"METROFOCUS" CORRESPONDENT NAIM
DOUGLAS WENT INSIDE MEDICAL
MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES AND
TALKED TO THE PEOPLE WHO COULD
BE SUPPLYING LEGAL WEED TO NEW
YORKERS IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE.
>> CANNABIS DIPS PENSRY ARE
POPPING UP ALL ACROSS THE CITY.
THEY MADE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE
TO OBTAIN A PRESCRIPTION.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
IS EXPANDING ITS POLICY ALLOWING
POT TO BE PRESCRIBED TO PEOPLE
WHO WOULD TYPICALLY BE
PRESCRIBED OPIOIDS FOR PAIN,
THAT'S IN ADDITION TO 12
CONDITIONS INCLUDING CANCER, HIV
AND MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.
THIS WILL GIVE ACCESS TO
THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS WHOCHLT
ARE THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE
COUNTERS PRESCRIBING THIS
MEDICINAL MARIJUANA.
WE WENT TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST
SUPPLIERS AND THEY HAPPENED TO
BE A FEW STEPS AWAY FROM UNION
SQUARE.
>> 2018 ADDITIONAL MARIJUANA
LOOKS LIKE REGULAR MEDICINE.
IT LOOKED LIKE AN INHALEABLE
VAPOR, LOOKS LIKE A CAPSULE,
LIKE A TABLET.
SEE HOW IT HAS -- IT'S GOT THE
LITTLE LOGO AND IT'S SCORED SO
YOU CAN TAKE HALF A DOSE.
>> WE'RE ACTUALLY DEVELOPING
REPOSITORIES FOR PEOPLE THAT
HAVE ANYTHING FROM SICKLE CELL
TO CANCER.
>> NICHOLAS IS THE VICE CHAIR
AND CEO AT COLUMBIA CARE, ONE OF
THE FIRST MEDICINAL MARIJUANA
DISPENSARIES AND IT LOOKS MORE
LIKE A DOCTOR'S OFFICE THAN A
PLACE TO BUY POT.
THE WAITING AREA IS SLEEK,
INVITING AND COMFORTABLE.
>> WHEN PEOPLE WALK IN, THEY'RE
IMMEDIATELY PROVIDED WITH ACCESS
TO INFORMATION, A COMFORTABLE
WAITING AREA AND THEY'RE PUTTING
TO A MINDSET THAT IS SEPARATE
FROM THE STREET AND SEPARATE
FROM THE ACTIVITIES OF NEW YORK
CITY BUT ALSO FROM A
TRANSACTION.
ULTIMATELY THIS IS NOT ABOUT A
TRANSACTION, IT'S ABOUT LIVING A
BETTER LIFE.
>> THIS IS MIRRORED AT THE
DISPENSARY IN THE BRONX AS WELL.
>> FARM KHAN NIS AND ALSO IN NEW
YORK WE TRY TO STRAY AWAY FROM
THE REGULAR SMOKE SHOP THAT YOU
WOULD SEE IN COLORADO OR
CALIFORNIA.
WE WANTED THE PATIENTS TO FEEL
THEY ARE IN A MEDICAL OFFICE
WHERE THEY GET THE CHANCE TO
SPEAK TO MYSELF, THE PHARMACIST,
OR ANOTHER PHARMACIST THAT'S
HERE OR ONE OF OUR PATIENT CARE
REPRESENTATIVES.
IT'S NOT YOUR TYPICAL COLORADO
DISPENSARY.
>> THIS TYPE OF INFRASTRUCTURE
WOULD HAVE BEEN UNIMAGINABLE TEN
YEARS AGO OR FIVE YEARS AGO.
NEW YORK STATE LEGALIZED
MEDICINAL MARIJUANA IN 2014,
SINCE THEN ABOUT A HALF DOZENS
DISPENSARIES HAVE OPENED ACROSS
THE CITY.
JUST THIS YEAR MED MEN DUBBED
THE APPLE STORE OF MARIJUANA
OPENED NEAR BRYANT PARK.
AND COLUMBIA CARE IS ON 14th
STREET.
>> E WITH WERE TOLD WE WERE
CRAZY, WE'D NEVER GET ANOTHER
JOB, WE'VE RUINED OUR CAREERS.
WE COULDN'T TELL OUR FAMILIES
WHAT WE DID.
BANKS CALLED US AND CANCELED OUR
BANK ACCOUNTS.
IT WAS ALMOST A CERTAINTY, IF
YOU ASKED ANYBODY ELSE THAT WE
WERE GOING TO BE ARRESTED AND
TARRED AND FEATHERED.
I WENT FROM BEING A PARIAH TO
BEING LEGITIMATE.
IT'S BEEN A NICE THING TO SEE
FIRSTHAND.
>> I THINK THAT'S A GREAT THING.
I THINK THEY'RE FINALLY SEEING
THE BENEFITS OF CANNABIS.
AS A PHARMACIST, I SEE IT EVERY
DAY, THE DIFFERENCE IN PATIENTS
AND THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE ONCE
THEY EAR ON IT FOR SEVERAL WEEKS
OR A MONTH AND THEIR QUALITY OF
LIFE HAS IMPROVED.
>> SO FAR THERE ARE ABOUT 50,000
MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS
STATEWIDE, BUT PROVIDERS THINK
THOSE NUMBERS WILL DECLINE AS
THE STIGMA OF MARIJUANA IS SHED.
THE BURNING QUESTION, HOW TO
BECOME A MEDICINAL MARIJUANA
PATIENT.
YOU HAVE TO BE A RESIDENT, A
CONDITION THAT CONFORMS TO THE
STATE GUIDELINES AND HAVE YOUR
DIAGNOSIS CERTIFIED BY THE
MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROVIDER.
YOU CAN VISIT THE DISPENSARY AND
FIGURE OUT YOUR DOSAGE AND
APPLICATION.
>> THE THIRD AREA OF ACCESS IS
THROUGH HERE WHICH IS OUR
DISPENSARY FLOOR.
IN OUR DISPENSARY WE THINK ABOUT
THIS INTERACTION AGAIN, NOT FROM
A TRANSACTION PERSPECTIVE, BUT
FROM AN EDUCATIONAL AND
INTERACTION PERSPECTIVE.
SO YOU'LL NOTICE WE HAVE AREAS
WHERE WE HAVE OUR PRODUCTS THAT
ARE DISPLAYED, THAT ARE
AVAILABLE FOR A CONVERSATION IN
A PUBLIC ENVIRONMENT.
WE HAVE A PATIENT COUNSELING
ROOM IN THE BACK WHERE OUR
PHARMACIST CAN ACTUALLY CALL THE
PATIENT'S ATTENDING PHYSICIAN OR
RECOMMENDER AND HAVE A VERY
DETAILED CONVERSATION ABOUT THAT
PARTICULAR CASE.
>> IN MAY OF THIS YEAR, MAYOR
DeBLASIO TOLD THE NYPD TO STOP
ARRESTING NEW YORKERS CAUGHT
SMOKING WEED AND ISSUE A
SUMMONS.
GOVERNOR CUOMO SAID, QUOTE, THE
SITUATION OF MARIJUANA IS
CHANGING.
BEGINNING AUGUST 1st, MANHATTAN
DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS HIS
OFFICE WILL NO LONGER PURSUE
MINOR CANNABIS-RELATED OF
FINANCES.
>> IF YOU ASKED ME SIX MONTHS
AGO WHETHER OR NOT GOVERNOR
CUOMO WOULD SORT OF EMBRACE A
RECOMMENDATION TO MOVE TO ADULT
USE, I WOULD HAVE SAID
ABSOLUTELY NOT.
AND SIX MONTHS LATER, HERE WE
ARE LOOKING AT A REPORT THAT
IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
I HAVE NO IDEA HOW IT WILL LOOK,
BUT WHAT I CAN SAY IS I HOPE
THAT IT BECOMES DIFFERENT THAN
WHAT IT HAS BECOME IN SOME OTHER
PLACES.
SO WHEN I LOOK AT COLORADO,
THERE ARE MORE DISPENSARIES THAN
McDONALD'S AND STARBUCKS
TOGETHER, THAT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE
A GOOD OUTCOME FOR ANYBODY.
WHEN I LOOK AT NEW YORK AND I
SEE PEOPLE WALKING IN FROM ALL
WALKS OF LIFE AND THEY'RE USING
THIS AS A WELL THOUGHT OUT, WELL
MANUFACTURED PRODUCT AND I SEE
THE DATA COLLECTED AND THE
POLICIES BEING DERIVED, IT'S
ALMOST LESS IMPORTANT TO ME HOW
IT LOOKS.
WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT IS PEOPLE
ARE USING A VERY THOUGHTFUL
APPROACH TO GET THERE.

Mutual of America PSEG

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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