THE RIGHT TO LIGHT UP IN NEW YORK

December 12, 2018 at 5:15 am

We have the details on an important conference that begins today about marijuana legalization in New York.

For ticket information to the Marijuana: Justice, Equity & Reinvestment conference, click here.

For more information on the Drug Policy Alliance, click here.

Aired on December 11, 2018.

 

 

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I'M JACK FORD.
FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2010,
DEMOCRATS HAVE GAINED CONTROL OF
THE STATE ASSEMBLY AND SENATE.
AND WITH THAT COMES CONCERNS
AMONG SOME COUNTIES THAT THIS
COULD BE THE BEGINNING OF A
GREEN WAVE, AND THE SIGNALED THT
LEGALIZATION IS ALMOST
INEVITABLE.
TO THAT END, STEPHEN ACQUARIO,
THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE
STATE ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES,
HAS SAID "WE STRONGLY SUPPORT
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS HAVING A SAY
ABOUT LEGALIZATION IN THEIR
COMMUNITIES.
BUT WOULD HAVE TO BE ON A
REGIONAL LEVEL, A COUNTY LEVEL."
ON DECEMBER 11 AND 12, THE DRUG
POLICY ALLIANCE IS HOSTING THE
MARIJUANA, JUSTICE E EQU I
ALBANY.
HUNDREDS OF EXPERTS WILL GATHER
TO FOCUS ON HOW LEGALIZING
MARIJUANA HERE IN NEW YORK COULD
PRESENT A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO
CREATE EQUITY AND ECONOMIC
JUSTICE.
HERE WITH DETAILS ON THE EVENT
IS THE NEW YORK STATE DIRECTOR
OF THE DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE,
KASSANDRA FREDERIQUE.
KASSANDRA, NICE TO HAVE YOU
HERE.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE AIA
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION, WORKING
TO REALLY REMOVE THE CRIMINAL
PENALTIES ASSOCIATED WITH DRUG
USE AND ONE IS THE
APPROPRIATE ACTOR IN ADDICON OR
DEALING WITH ISSUES AROUND USE
LET'S
LEGALIZE EVERY DRUG OUT THERE.
EVERYBODY CAN GET NVERSATION.
WE THINK WHAT WE'RE DOING RIGHT
NOW, PROHIBITION IS NOT WORKING.
IT HAS CREATED RICULOUSAMOUNT
OF DEATH AS WE CURRENTLY ARE IN
AN OPIOID, OVERDOSE CRISIS.
WE DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO THE KIND
OF INFORMATION THAT WOULD MAKE
IT SAFER FOR PEOPLE THAT DO RU M
WHERE WE ARE INCARCERATING SO
MANY PEOPLE, DISRUPTING SO MANY
FAMILIES.
AND WE HAVE SOCIAL SERVICE
AGENCIES LIKE HOUSING AND CHILD
WELFARE.
I MEAN, SCHOOLS ACTING AS LAW
ENFORCEMENT OPPOSED TO HELPING
PROFESSIONALS.
SO FOR US, WE KNOW THAT WE'RE
SEEING THE NIGHTMARE.
WE'RE SEEING IT IN PROHIBITION
AND WE'RE ALSO SEEING IT IN THE
RIDICULOUS AND INHUMANE
RESPONSES THAT WE'RE SEEING FROM
WORLD LEADERS.
SO WE ARE IN THE WORST THROES OF
THIS STRUCTURE OF HOW WE'RE
DEALING WITH DRUGS.
SO FOR US, WE'RE HAVING THE
CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT IS ON
THE OTHER SIDE, CAN WE
DECRIMINALIZE DRUG POSSESSION
AND DRUG USE?
HOW CAN WE LOOK AT IT THROUGH
DIFFERENT LENSES?
>> AS WE KNOW, HAVING
CONVERSATIONS IS THE FIRST STEP.
>> EXACTLY.
>> I WANT TO GET TO CONFERENCE,
BUT GIVE ME
CAPSULIZATION FOR OUR VIEWERS,
WHERE ARE WE IN TERMS OF NEW
YORK STATE AND IN TERMS OF NEW
HAMPSHIRE -- NEW JERSEY TO SAY
WE'RE GOING TO TREAT MARIJUANA
DIFFERENTLY.
>> NEW JERSEY, THEIR INITIATIVE
JUST MOVED THROUGH AN IMPORTANT
COMMITTEE.
>> AND BIPARTISAN LEDGE LAY.
I LIVE IN NEW JERSEY, AND I WAS
CURIOUS.
>> IT JUST MOVED THROUGH A VERY
IMPORTANT COMMITTEE.
WHAT WAS EXCITING ABOUT IT IS
THEY ADDED A TON OF PROVISIONS
TO ACTUALLY DEAL WITH THE FULL
SCOPE OF THE HARM OF MARIJUANA
PROHIBITION.
I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR
PEOPLE TO REALIZE THAT WE ARE AT
THIS MOMENT NOT JUST BECAUSE WE
NEED TO REGULATE A SUBSTANCE,
BUT BECAUSE WE NEED TO DEAL WITH
THE COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES THAT
HAVE HAPPENED WITH THE
CRIMINALIZATION OF THAT
SUBSTANCE.
NEW JERSEY REALLY PUSHED THROUGH
FOR THAT.
>> NEW YORK, I MENTIONED IT'S
GOTTEN THROUGH AT THIS STAGE,
BOTH HOUSES.
>> SO IN NEW YORK, WE ARE IN A
VERY INTERESTING POSITION, WHERE
THERE'S A LOT OF CONVERSATION
HAPPENING, AND A LOT OF THE
RIGHT STAKE HOLDERS ARE PAYING
ATTENTION.
THE ANTICIPATION IS HIGH.
>> AND THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID?
>> THE GOVERNOR THIS PAST
SUMMER, HE PUT TOGETHER A WORK
GROUP AROUND LEGALIZATION WHERE
PEOPLE WERE SUPPOSED TO STUDY
THE ISSUE AND PUT FORWARD WHAT A
LEGISLATIVE WOULD LOOK LIKE FROM
THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE.
AND WE HAVE HAD SINCE 2013 THE
MARIJUANA TAXATION ACT THAT WAS
INTRODUCED AND THEY HAVE BEEN
SUPPORTING THIS BILL FOR A
NUMEROUS AMOUNT OF YEARS TO TRY
TO KEEP THAT CONVERSATION GOING.
SO THERE'S ALREADY BEEN A LOT OF
INVESTMENT IN EDUCATING
LEGISLATORS.
I THINK IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF
MONTHS, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO
SCALE UP THE EDUCATION ASPECTS.
>> WE GET TO THE CONFERENCE, A
TWO-DAY CONFERENCE AS I
MENTIONED, AN ARRAY OF EXPERTS
COMING IN TO TALK ABOUT SO MANY
DIFFERENT ISSUES.
I MENTIONED JUSTICE, EQUITY,
INVESTMENT.
WHAT ARE YOU HOPING WILL COME
FROM THIS CONFERENCE?
>> I THINK MOST PEOPLE, WHEN
THEY'RE THINKING ABOUT
REGULATING MARIJUANA, THEY ARE
OFTEN THINKING ABOUT, OKAY, HOW
DO WE GET BUSINESSES UP?
HOW DO WE FIGURE OUT WHO IS
GOING TO MAKE MONEY?
AND FOR US, WE'RE LIKE, YOU HAVE
TO REGULATE THIS IN A WAY THAT
IS REFLECTIVE OF THE FULL HARMS
OF THIS PROBLEM.
SO WE HAVE TO HAVE A
CONVERSATION, NOT JUST ABOUT THE
COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES, BUT WE
ALSO HAVE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION
ABOUT HOW DO WE FLIP THE
ECONOMIC ENGINE OF UPSTATE NEW
YORK?
WHICH WAS ACTUALLY REALLY PUSHED
BY MASS INCARCERATION.
WE BUILT PRISONS AND JAILS,
UPSTATE NEW YORK, AND SAID THIS
WAS GOING TO BE A JOB BOOM, AND
THAT DID NOT TURN OUT.
ALL WE DID WAS CABGED POOR PEOPE
AND PEOPLE OF COLOR, ESPECIALLY
BLACK PEOPLE.
SO WE'RE HAVING THE CONVERSATION
HOW DO WE REGULATE MARIJUANA
LEGALIZATION, HOW DO WE CREATE
THIS CONVERSATION IN A WAY THAT
CREATES ECONOMIC JUSTICE
EVERYWHERE?
HOW DO WE FLIP THESE INTO AN
AGARIAN ECONOMIES AND GIVE NEW
YORK FARMERS A CHANCE.
HOW DO WE TALK TO -- WE'RE
HAVING A PANEL ON SUSTAINABLE
PRODUCTION, WHICH IS
HIGHLIGHTING THE DIFFERENT
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FARMERS IN NEW
YORK.
HOW DO WE HAVE A CONVERSATION
ABOUT FINANCE AND BANKING?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN -- ONE OF THE
THINGS THAT WAS BROUGHT TO US,
HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT THIS
DOESN'T TURN INTO A NEW,
ADDICTIVE THING THAT PEOPLE ARE
DEALING WITH?
WE'RE HAVING A PANEL ON HOW TO
REGULATE AROUND PUBLIC HEALTH.
>> I'M VERY INTRIGUED ABOUT THIS
NOTION OF HOW DO WE HAVE THE
CONVERSATION.
>> EXACTLY.
THE BIGGEST THING ABOUT THE
CONVERSATION AROUND MARIJUANA
LEGALIZATION IS NOT IF WE WILL
DO IT, BUT HOW WE WILL DO IT.
THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT.
AND RECOGNIZING THAT NEW YORK,
YOU KNOW, WHAT'S SO INTERESTING
ABOUT NEW YORK'S HISTORY ABOUT
MARIJUANA IS THAT MAYOR
LaGUARDIA KNEW IN THE '30s THAT
ALL THE HUBBUB AROUND MARIJUANA
PROHIBITION WAS MADNESS.
HE CALLED A COMMISSION TOGETHER
AND AT THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF
MEDICINE ARE PUBLISHED REPORTS
THAT SAYS THIS IS A LOT OF
HUBBUB ABOUT NOTHING.
THERE IS AN ASSEMBLY MEMBER
STILL IN THE LEGISLATION, THAT
INTRODUCED THE MARIJUANA
DECRIMINALIZATION ACT IN 1977,
WHERE MARIJUANA REMOVED
PENALTIES FOR UP TO 25 GRAMS OF
MARIJUANA POSSESSION, BECAUSE IT
SAID IT WAS A WASTE OF
RESOURCES, IT WOULD ERODE
COMMUNITY TRUST AND WAS NOT AN
EFFECTIVE WAY TO PREVENT PEOPLE
FROM USING MARIJUANA.
SO 40 YEARS LATER, WE'RE KIND
OF -- WE'RE STILL TALKING ABOUT
THE SAME THING.
>> BUT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IT AT
A DIFFERENT LEVEL.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
>> AND THE GREAT VALUE OF THIS
CONFERENCE IS TO GET EVERYBODY
TOGETHER AND SAY WHAT ARE THE
CONCERNS, HOW DO WE HANDLE THEM
IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER.
>> AENEND THE BENEFIT IS WE GET
LEARN FROM THE OTHER NINE STATES
THAT DID IT.
AND TO LEARN FROM WHAT NEW YORK
DOES BEST, WE LEAD, AND WE WANT
TO BE THE BEST AT IT.
WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY, IF WE
HAVE THE RIGHT CONVERSATIONS,
ABOUT HOW TO DO THIS
EFFECTIVELY, COMPREHENSIVELY,
RESPONSIBLY, THAT WE WILL GET
JUSTICE AND EQUITY.
AND IT'S REINVESTMENT IN THE
COMMUNITIES THATOSKASSANDRA, I
TIME.
WOULD LOVE TO GET YOU BACK IN AS
THIS NOVEMBER MOVES FORWARD.
YOU BE WELL.
>> THANK YOU.
>>> FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE
MARIJUANA JUSTICE, EQUITY AND
REINVESTMENT CONVERSATION, VISIT
OUR WEBSITE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

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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