Legalizing Marijuana in New York: People, Policy, and Politics | CUNY Forum

Legalizing Marijuana in New York: People, Policy, and Politics | CUNY Forum


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>GOOD EVENING. MY NAME IS BOB LIFF. THIS IS THE “CUNY FORUM,” A TOWN MEETING THAT BRINGS PROMINENT NEW YORKERS TOGETHER WITH FACULTY AND STUDENTS OF THE EDWARD T. ROGOWSKY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM. WE ARE HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. I PROMISED MYSELF I WILL TRY TO DO IT WITH NO JOKES EXCEPT TO SAY AS A MAN OF A CERTAIN AGE THOSE WHO REMEMBER THE 1960s REALLY WEREN’T THERE. WHILE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IDENTIFIES MARIJUANA AS A SCHEDULE ONE DRUG, STATES HAVE BEEN LEGALIZING FIRST MEDICAL USES, STARTING IN THE 1990s, ON THE WEST COAST. AS FAR AS RECREATIONAL USE, OREGON STARTED THE PROCESS IN 1973 WITH A DECRIMINALIZATION STATUTE, REDUCING PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION OF A SMALL AMOUNT TO A $100 FINE, FOLLOWED BY MANY OTHER STATES, INCLUDING NEW YORK IN 1977. COLORADO AND WASHINGTON STARTED THE CURRENT TREND TO FULL LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. STATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING MASSACHUSETTS AND VERMONT, FOLLOWED SUIT. NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY NOW APPEAR POISED TO JOIN THE RUSH TO LEGALIZE, WITH MEASURES BEFORE THEIR RESPECTIVE STATE LEGISLATURES UNDER CONSIDERATION. THE IDEA OF LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL USE OF MARIJUANA HAS BECOME SO RELATIVELY MAINSTREAM SO QUICKLY THAT THE DEBATE HAS BECOME EMBROILED IN ISSUES OF RACIAL AND ETHNIC INEQUITY, WHERE STATE TAX REVENUE WILL GO — PEOPLE OF COLOR BEING THE BRUNT OF CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT IN THE PAST SHOULD HAVE THE FIRST CALL TO LICENSE TO SELL AND WHETHER PAST CONVICTIONS FOR POSSESSION SHOULD BE EXPUNGED? THERE ARE OPPONENTS OF LEGALIZATION, INCLUDING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, A COALITION OF NEW YORK POLICE UNIONS, EVEN FORMER MAYOR BLOOMBERG, EVEN THOUGH HE ADMITTED THAT HE SMOKED POT AS A YOUNG MAN AND LIKED IT. IT SEEMS THAT LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IS AN ISSUE THAT’S TIME HAS COME. IT IS REMOVED, FOR THE MOST PART, THE CRIME ACROSS THE CITY. WE ARE HERE WITH FOUR NEW YORKERS WHO HAVE LOOKED AT THIS ISSUE FROM A VARIETY OF PERSPECTIVES TO DISCUSS WHETHER AND HOW NEW YORK SHOULD PROCEED. DALIAH HELLER IS AN ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT CUNY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH POLICY. CHRIS POLICANO IS THE FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AT PHOENIX HOUSE. VANESSA GIBSON IS A COUNCILMEMBER AND A FORMER CHAIR OF THE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE. AND REBECCA LEWIS IS A REPORTER WHO HAS COVERED THIS FROM EVERY ANGLE. DALIAH, LET ME START WITH YOU. YOU HAVE BEEN IN A POLICY POSITION ON THIS ISSUE. KIND OF SET UP THE DEBATE. YOU HAVE HEALTH ISSUES, ECONOMIC ISSUES. WHY NOW, WHY SO QUICKLY A CHANGE?>>WHY NOW? I CANNOT REALLY SPEAK FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THIS MOVEMENT ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BUT I WOULD SAY IT SEEMS THAT AS THAT HAS BEEN SOME RECKONING WITH OUR HISTORY, THE SORT OF MASS CRIMINALIZATION AND THE IMPACT OF MASS CRIMINALIZATION, AND WITH THE WAKE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS, THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY THAT PEOPLE HAVE SEIZED ON TO MOVE TOWARDS LEGALIZATION OF WHAT IS PERCEIVED TO BE IN THE COLLOQUIAL TERMS, SOFTER DRUG. FROM A PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE, WE VIEW THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH AND CANNABIS USE IN A WAY THAT IS MEANINGFUL THAT YOU CANNOT DO WHEN A DRUG IS NOT REGULATED, WHEN IT IS NOT ON THE LEGAL MARKET. IF WE THINK ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC, THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE IN REGULATION THAT CAN BE PROTECTIVE. PRICING, FOR EXAMPLE, WE KNOW PRICE IMPACTS CONSUMPTION. THINKING ABOUT HOW WE INFLUENCE PRICING WITH TAXATION, MINIMUM PRICING — AVAILABILITY. SO WHERE IS CANNABIS GOING TO BE SOLD, HOW IS IT GOING TO BE SOLD, WHO IS GOING TO GOVERN THAT, HOW WILL IT BE REGULATED? ARE THERE GOING TO THE PER CAPITA RATES FOR HOW MANY OUTLETS CAN BE IN AN AREA BASED ON THE RESIDENTS IN THAT AREA? AND THIRD, MARKETING, WHICH IS IMPORTANT. OUR GOAL IS, IF WE TAKE LESSONS FROM ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO, THE GOAL WILL BE WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOUTH CONSUMPTION. WE WANT TO PREVENT YOUTH CONSUMPTION. SO MARKETING IS A HUGE ISSUE. ADVERTISING, ET CETERA.>>VANESSA, THE WEST BRONX IS A PREDOMINANTLY MINORITY COMMUNITY IN YOUR DISTRICT. HOW DO PEOPLE LOOK AT IT? ON THE ONE HAND, YOU HAVE THE INORDINATE — IMPACT OF CRIMINALIZATION ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, WHERE USAGE OF MARIJUANA DOES NOT DIFFER GREATLY ACROSS RACIAL GROUPINGS, BUT IT HAS ALSO BROUGHT SOCIAL PROBLEMS. SO HOW ARE PEOPLE LOOKING AT IT?>>IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU SPEAK TO. IF YOU TALK ABOUT THE YOUNGER GENERATION, THEY ARE POSSIBLY EXCITED AT THE IDEA OF LEGALIZING MARIJUANA. MANY YOUNG PEOPLE AND YOUNG ADULTS ENGAGE IN IT TODAY FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES, BUT YOU GET A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE WHEN YOU TALK TO OLDER NEW YORKERS AND SENIORS, WHO HAVE LIVED THROUGH THE CRACK EPIDEMIC THAT HAPPENED IN NEW YORK CITY, PREDOMINATELY IN THE BRONX. IT IS A COMPLICATED YET COMPREHENSIVE ISSUE. THE CLIMATE IS RIGHT FOR IT. IT IS HAPPENING ACROSS THE COUNTRY. BUT FOR US IN NEW YORK CITY, PARTICULARLY MY COUNTY OF THE BRONX, IT IS COMPOUNDED WITH THE OPIOID CRISIS WITH THE DRUG MISUSE, THE FACT THAT WE HAVE A NUMBER OF OVERDOSE DEATHS THAT HAVE AFFECTED RICHMOND AND BRONX COUNTY. A LOT OF THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME. IF IT IS TO BE DONE, IT HAS TO BE DONE IN THE RIGHT WAY. IT IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT, BECAUSE OF MASS INCARCERATION, MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE FELT THE BURDEN OF BEING OVER POLICED ON OTHER ISSUES. MARIJUANA WAS PART OF THAT –>>AND STOP, QUESTION, AND FRISK, THEY WOULD DEMAND YOU EMPTY YOUR POCKETS, AND IF YOU HAD POT –>>THEY WOULD GET ARRESTED. WE SAW EFFORTS IN 2014, THE NYPD ANNOUNCED THEY WOULD START TO DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA. DISTRICT ATTORNEYS WOULD START GET ON BOARD BUT BECAUSE NEW YORK CITY IS SO DIVERSE, IT IS SOMETHING EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT BUT FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.>>YOU ARE AT PHOENIX HOUSE — THAT IS THE KIND OF ENDPOINT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ABUSED A VARIETY OF DRUGS.>>AND I SHOULD POINT OUT I AM NOT WITH PHOENIX HOUSE –>>YOU’RE NOT SPEAKING FOR PHOENIX HOUSE OR YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER.>>THAT IS A LITTLE LIBERATING IN THIS CONVERSATION. AS YOU POINTED OUT, THEY DIVERSITY IS A BIG ISSUE. I THINK ONE THING THAT IS TRUE, AFTER SPENDING 10 YEARS TRYING TO EXPLAIN SUBSTANCE ABUSE AT PHOENIX HOUSE, IS DRUG POLICY IS FLAWED AND HUMID. PEOPLE TRIED TO SOLVE A PROBLEM AND CREATED ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH THEIR SOLUTIONS. FOR INSTANCE, I REMEMBER CRACK COCAINE VIVIDLY. I REMEMBER THE UPROAR ABOUT CRACK COCAINE. I REMEMBER PEOPLE WERE MAKING DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN CRACK COCAINE AND REGULAR COCAINE. AND THE RESULT OF THAT WAS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, THIS MASS INCARCERATION OF PREDOMINANTLY BROWN PEOPLE, AND THERE WAS A TALE OF TWO CITIES IN THE COCAINE-CRACK WORLD. LET’S NOT KID OURSELVES THAT MARIJUANA IS A HARMLESS DRUG, CERTAINLY NOT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE DRUG SPECIFICALLY. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE STATE OF INTOXICATION. IF YOU ARE INTOXICATED — WE CAN GET TO THE PARTICULAR SUBSTANCE — BUT IF YOU ARE INTOXICATED EVERY DAY BEFORE YOU GO TO SCHOOL, YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT LEARNING MUCH. IF YOU ARE INTOXICATED EVERY DAY BEFORE YOU GET IN A CAR, YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO GET IN TROUBLE WITH THE CAR. MANY PEOPLE — AGAIN, AT PHOENIX HOUSE, WE SAW THE TAIL END OF THIS, WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENED WHEN SOMEONE WHO WAS CHRONICALLY INTOXICATED — PARENTS — I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I’VE SEEN THIS. PARENTS WOULD TELL YOU WHO HAVE HAD KIDS IN TROUBLE THAT THE LAW WAS SOMETHING THAT HELPED THEM GET A HANDLE ON THEIR KIDS. IF I HEARD IT ONCE, I HEARD IT DOZENS OF TIMES. THAT THANK GOD MY KID GOT ARRESTED, BECAUSE WE WERE ABLE TO DEAL WITH HIM FOR THE FIRST TIME. TREATMENT FOLKS WERE ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT USING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. IT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT LOCKING PEOPLE UP. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT FORCING PEOPLE TO GET TREATMENT. THAT WAS CONTROVERSIAL, BUT IT TURNED OUT TO BE EFFECTIVE IN TERMS OF THE DRUG COURTS, WHEN THEY WERE INTRODUCED, SEEN AS A REVOLUTIONARY WAY TO NOT DEAL WITH INCARCERATION BUT TO BE — A ROUTE TO TREATMENT. AS WE MOVE FORWARD, CRIMINAL JUSTICE WANTS TO DO WHAT IT DOES. LEGISLATORS WANT TO LEGISLATE. THIS IS A VOLATILE THING WHEN YOU START HAVING DIFFERENT APPROACHES, TO THIS VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM.>>REBECCA, ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS AND PERSPECTIVES ARE COMING TOGETHER IN THE LEGISLATURE, WRESTLING TO PUT EVERYTHING IN A LAW WHICH IS GOING TO GUIDE EVERYTHING. TELL US WHAT IS GOING ON IN ALBANY. THIS COMES AFTER THE GOVERNOR AND MAYOR ANNOUNCED AN AGREEMENT ON REFORM, BUT THEY THREW IN TO THE POT — TAX REVENUE FROM MARIJUANA, IT IS A LITTLE LIKE THE ECONOMIST WHO PREDICTED 14 OF THE LAST RECESSIONS, THAT YOU HAVE A $300 MILLION POT OF MONEY, AND PEOPLE WANT TO SPEND IT ON A $7 BILLION AMOUNT OF MONEY. GIVE US THE LAY OF THE LAND ON THE DEBATE.>>THE GOVERNOR INTRODUCED THE PROPOSAL IN THE EXECUTIVE BUDGET, WHICH IS SHAPING THE DISCUSSION NOW. PRETTY EXTENSIVE, BUT STILL MISSING A LOT OF DETAILS. YOU CANNOT HAVE EVERYTHING YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE IN A SINGLE PIECE OF LEGISLATION. SOMETIMES, YOU HAVE TO WORK AT THE KINKS AS YOU ARE GOING. EVERYONE DOES NOT AGREE ON WHAT IS IN THAT PIECE OF LEGISLATION, YET THOSE DEBATES ARE GOING TO COME OUT DURING THE BUDGET.>>DO YOU THINK, THOUGH, THAT EVERYBODY AGREES LEGALIZATION IS THE ISSUE OF THIS TIME, AND SOMETHING IS GOING TO PASS? SOMETHING SHOULD PASS?>>SOMETHING WILL PASS, IT IS JUST A MATTER OF WHEN. I KNOW THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO GET IT DONE, BUT THE SPEAKER SAID MAYBE NOT IN THE BUDGET, THERE IS A LOT TO GO THROUGH, MAYBE WE GET IT DONE LATER IN THE SESSION, WE WANT TO DO OUR DUE DILIGENCE. AND ASSEMBLYWOMAN –, THE PRIME SPONSOR OF THE ASSEMBLY LEGISLATION, HAS ALSO SAID MAYBE WE DO NOT DO IT IN THE BUDGET, MAYBE IT IS ITS STANDALONE THING, WE WANT TO DO DUE DILIGENCE. WHO KNOWS WHETHER OR NOT THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. IN THE PAST, CUOMO HAS, IN SOME WAYS, BULLIED HIS WAY INTO THE BUDGET. HE HAS OFTEN GOTTEN HIS WAY. BUT WITH A UNIFIED STATE LEGISLATURE, THERE MIGHT BE SOME LEVERAGE. THERE MIGHT BE SOME WIGGLE ROOM, WHERE THEY CAN SAY, WELL, MAYBE WE DO NOT WANT THIS IN HERE YET. IT IS KIND OF UP IN THE AIR, BECAUSE THERE IS SOME BAD BLOOD BETWEEN CUOMO AND HIS LEGISLATURE RIGHT NOW FOR UNRELATED REASONS.>>NOT SHOCKING. [LAUGHTER]>>YOU BROUGHT UP THE OPIOID PROBLEM IN THE BRONX. I KNOW FROM YOUR WORK — THERE IS THE ISSUE OF A GATEWAY. THE VIEW THAT MARIJUANA WAS THE GATEWAY TO HARDER DRUGS. OPIOIDS KILL MORE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY THAN GUNS OR CARS. IS THERE A FEAR — IS THE GATEWAY ISSUE A FEAR OR ARE WE PASSED THAT PART OF THE DEBATE?>>NO, I THINK THERE IS STILL A REAL FEAR IN THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THE OPIOID CRISIS. AT FIRST, MANY THOUGHT IT WAS JUST AN ISSUE THAT WAS MORE PREVALENT IN WHITE COMMUNITIES, PARTICULARLY ON STATEN ISLAND, WITH ALL OF THE WORK THEY HAVE DONE AROUND THE HOPE PROGRAM, WHICH IS A PREARRAIGNMENT OF DRUG DIVERSION PROGRAM. NOW THAT IS IN MANHATTAN, AND OTHER COMMUNITIES ARE LOOKING AT IT. BUT WHEN IT HIT THE BRONX AT THE SAME TIME, IT WAS HITTING LOWER INCOME COMMUNITIES A LOT, WHERE WE HAD DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS AND OTHER THINGS TO HELP MANY OF THE RESIDENTS. THE OPIOID CRISIS IS SOMETHING WE CONTINUOUSLY DEAL WITH. MANY DO NOT REALIZE THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE, NEW YORKERS, THAT DIE FROM OPIOID MISUSE AND DRUG ABUSE THAN THERE ARE HOMICIDES EVERY YEAR. WE HAVE AROUND 350 HOMICIDES A YEAR, WHICH IS ON THE LOWER END, BUT THERE ARE HUNDREDS MORE. STATEN ISLAND HAS ALREADY SEEN SEVERAL DOZEN PEOPLE THAT HAVE DIED TO THE OPIOID CRISIS. IT IS A REAL FACTOR, AND IT IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO CONSIDER.>>BUT DO PEOPLE — YOU TALK TO PEOPLE, DO THEY VIEW MARIJUANA AS A — DO THEY VIEW THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA AS A MORAL SURRENDER?>>THEY GATEWAY DRUG — I UNDERSTAND — AND AGAIN, I’VE BEEN OUT OF THIS WORLD FOR A LITTLE BIT, BUT THE IDEA OF A GATEWAY DRUG GOT RIDICULE. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT A SERIOUS SUBSTANCE ABUSER AND DID THE HISTORY ON THAT PERSON, GUESS WHAT? IT STARTED OFF WITH PRETTY HEAVY USAGE OF MARIJUANA. WHICH DOES NOT MEAN THAT EVERYBODY WHO USES MARIJUANA IS GOING TO WIND UP DOING HEROIN, BUT WHEN YOU CHECK OUT EVERYBODY THAT HAS TROUBLE WITH DRUGS, MARIJUANA WAS IN THE EQUATION AT SOME STAGE.>>AGAIN, WE CANNOT LEAVE ALCOHOL OUT OF THE EQUATION, WHICH IS ALREADY A LEGAL PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCE. I THINK WE GO INTO THIS, WE GOING TO ALCOHOL REGULATION, IN THE SAME WAY WE GO INTO THIS CONVERSATION, TO TALK ABOUT OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL IS PREVENT YOUTH CONSUMPTION. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THESE STUDIES, IT IS THAT SCIENCE PROBLEM, IT IS RETROSPECTIVE. OF COURSE, THAT WAS GOING ON IN THIS PERSON’S LIFE, AND NOW THEY DEVELOPED A SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDER. BUT THERE WAS MAYBE ONE STUDY — YOU WOULD NEED TO FOLLOW PEOPLE FOR 20 YEARS. SO THEY STARTED SMOKING MAYBE OR USING CANNABIS IN SOME FORMAT THE AGE OF 12, 13, 14, AND THEN GO ON TO DEVELOP A SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDER — WE DO NOT HAVE THOSE STUDIES, DO NOT HAVE THAT DATA. IN LARGE PART, WE DO NOT HAVE ANY DATA. I SPEAK FROM A PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE, ONE OF THE THINGS WE LOVE IS DATA. WE LIKE TO LOOK AT THE PATTERNS. ONCE WE SEE THE PATTERN, WE CAN THINK ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY, HOW CAN WE INTERVENE TO CHANGE THE PATTERN AND REDUCE THE PROBLEM? WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY NOW TO ACTUALLY HAVE RIGOROUS MONITORING OF THE ROLE OF CANNABIS CONSUMPTION IN HOSPITALIZATIONS AND EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS. IT HAS BEEN LINKED TO A FIRST EPISODE PSYCHOSIS. WE DO NOT HAVE GOOD MONITORING TO BE ABLE TO REALLY KNOW IF THAT IS TRUE. NOW WE CAN ACTUALLY MONITOR THAT, HAVE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS REPORTING ON THAT.>>ARE THE SAME FOLKS WHO BROUGHT US THE OPIOIDS, ARE THEY ALSO GOING TO BE THE FOLKS DOING THE MARIJUANA?>>THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THAT UP.>>HOW IS THIS — THE BUSINESS THAT WE HAVE SEEN AROUND THE COUNTRY.>>WHO IS DOING THIS?>>EVEN THE FACT THAT IT REMAINS A SCHEDULE ONE DRUG, LEGAL MARIJUANA IS A CASH BUSINESS. YOU CANNOT USE CREDIT CARDS, BECAUSE CREDIT CARDS GO THROUGH A REGULATED FINANCIAL SYSTEM, SO ALL OF A SUDDEN, YOU WILL HAVE COMMUNITIES AWASH WITH CASH. THEY ARE AWASH WITH CASH NOW IN THE ILLEGAL BUSINESS, BUT YOU WILL NOT TAKE THE CASH OUT OF THE COMMUNITIES. ONE OF THE THINGS, AS I UNDERSTAND THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL, THERE IS SIGNIFICANT OPPOSITION TO LEGALIZATION. PEOPLE ARE FREAKING OUT AT THE PROSPECT OF THIS BUSINESS. PLUS, YOU HAVE THE ISSUE BETWEEN MEDICAL MARIJUANA PEOPLE, WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT COMPETITION FROM RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA PEOPLE, IN PART BECAUSE THERE IS A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WERE USING MEDICAL MARIJUANA PRESCRIPTIONS IN ORDER TO GET WHAT ESSENTIALLY IS RECREATIONAL USE OF MARIJUANA.>>THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA COMMUNITY HAS A BIT OF AN ADVANTAGE, BECAUSE RIGHT NOW, THEY GROW, DISTRIBUTE, SELL, THE SAME COMPANY CAN DO ALL THREE. WITH RECREATIONAL, UNDER THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSAL, YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DO THAT TO PREVENT MONOPOLIES. IF YOU ARE GROWING, YOU CANNOT THEN ALSO HAVE A RETAIL STORE. SINCE ALL OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS THERE FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA INDUSTRIES, THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO. THEY HAVE A FOOT IN THE DOOR FOR THAT PARTICULAR MARKET. IN TERMS OF THE LOCAL — VERY QUICKLY, WE SAW MUNICIPALITIES SAY WE DO NOT WANT THIS.>>THIS IS A LOT OF UPSTATE, MOSTLY UPSTATE PEOPLE?>>LONG ISLAND, ACTUALLY. THE TOWN OF NORTH HEMPSTEAD WAS THE FIRST TOWN TO OPT OUT. I KNOW SUFFOLK COUNTY IS HOLDING DEBATES NOW ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANT TO OPT OUT.>>AS A COUNTY.>>IT WOULD ONLY BE TOWNS OF 100,000 OR MORE, WHICH IS NOT TOO MANY TOWNS — NORTH HEMPSTEAD IS ONE OF THE FEW THAT IS ACTUALLY LARGE ENOUGH THAT IS NOT A CITY LIKE BUFFALO OR SYRACUSE. OTHERWISE, COUNTIES CAN OPT OUT. ENTIRE COUNTIES. I THINK THERE MAY BE ONE OR TWO MORE UPSTATE, BUT I’VE SEEN A LOT OF STUFF COMING OUT OF LONG ISLAND, SOMEWHAT SURPRISINGLY, ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY JUST ELECTED A BUNCH OF NEW DEMOCRATS.>>BUT SUFFOLK COUNTY IS GETTING KILLED WITH OPIOIDS. THE OPIOID PROBLEM IS INFLUENCING PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS ABOUT, I BELIEVE, DRUGS ACROSS THE BOARD.>>THAT IS A GOOD POINT. IN ORDER FOR THE STATE SENATE TO BECOME DEMOCRATIC LED, A NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SEATS HAD TO BE ACQUIRED. THOSE SEATS ARE GOING TO BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT SUPPORT OF LEGALIZING MARIJUANA, BECAUSE THERE’RE COUNTIES LOOKING TO OPT OUT OF IT. THAT WILL BE INTERESTING.>>BUT YOU LOOK AT — ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS HAS BEEN MADE IS THAT AS A FORM OF REDISTRIBUTING OR MAKING UP FOR PAST, UNEQUAL CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT, THAT THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY SHOULD GO INTO THOSE COMMUNITIES, LIKE YOURS, THAT HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED BY THE CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT. DO YOU WANT MARIJUANA BUSINESSES IN YOUR DISTRICT?>>THAT IS A TRICKY QUESTION. I DO THINK IT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE CONVERSATION, BECAUSE EVERY INDUSTRY WE HAVE SEEN, IT IS CORPORATE WELFARE, THE CORPORATIONS THAT ARE PROFITING OFF OF THIS INDUSTRY, LIKE THE OPIOIDS. THE ADMINISTRATION IS SUING A NUMBER OF COMPANIES BECAUSE OF THE CRISIS WE ARE LIVING IN TODAY BECAUSE OF OPIOIDS, — PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. THE QUESTION FOR US AS A LEGISLATURE IS HOW DO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THE COMMUNITIES THAT WERE IMPACTED BY MARIJUANA ARE NOW REINVESTED IN? I THINK ABOUT THE SMALL BUSINESSES, BODEGAS, POSSIBLY OTHER LOCAL MERCHANTS. I ALSO THINK ABOUT THE SCHOOLS, THE OPEN SPACE, THE JOBS. ALL OF THESE THINGS WHERE COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN MARGINALIZED FOR SO MANY YEARS. IT IS TIME FOR THEM TO FEEL LIKE THEY SHOULD BE REPAID — IN ADDITION TO EXPUNGEMENT, THEY SHOULD BE REPAID FOR WHAT THEIR COMMUNITIES HAVE GONE THROUGH.>>FROM A PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE, I WOULD SUSPECT — I DO NOT KNOW. I WOULD SUSPECT THE GOAL WOULD BE TO HANDLE MARIJUANA ALONG THE LINES OF ALCOHOL, THE — HANDLE IT IN SOME KIND OF A SEGREGATED RETAIL SETTING.>>ABSOLUTELY. DIFFERENT STATES HAVE DONE THIS DIFFERENT WAYS. FROM THE PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE, THE MOST CONTROL YOU CAN HAVE IS HAVE A STATE MONOPOLY. SO ONLY STATE OWNED AND OPERATED STORES — SOME STATES HAVE THE STATE LIQUOR STORES. I THINK WASHINGTON STATE ACTUALLY ADOPTED A STATE MONOPOLY WHEN THEY LEGALIZED CANNABIS. THERE IS THAT. THAT IS OBVIOUSLY PROBABLY NOT HAPPENING HERE, BECAUSE WE DO NOT DO THAT WITH ALCOHOL.>>WE HAVE STATE LICENSED LIQUOR STORES –>>SO THE NEXT THING IS LICENSING. LICENSING, HOW DO YOU MONITOR LICENSING? EVERYBODY WHO FILES FOR A LICENSE AT THE STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY, THERE ARE BACKGROUND CHECKS AND THEN THERE ARE LIMITS ON HOW MANY LICENSES YOU CAN HAVE — AND YOU BROUGHT UP THE CORPORATE INFLUENCE, WHICH IS KEY, BUT BECAUSE WE HAVE SEEN A REAL EROSION OF THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF ALCOHOL BEVERAGE CONTROL ACTS AND LEGISLATION — POST-PROHIBITION, THERE WAS A REAL ATTEMPT TO PROMOTE MODERATION. THAT IS WHAT IT WAS CALLED. IT WAS THIS IDEA OF HOW DO WE MODERATE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION, SINCE WE FAILED IN PROHIBITION? THAT HAS BEEN ERODED.>>THAT IS THE SAME WITH MARIJUANA.>>BUT HOW DO WE PREVENT CORPORATE INFLUENCE? THAT IS THE CHALLENGE. I HAVE NOT BEEN FOLLOWING ALBANY CLOSELY ON THIS ISSUE, BUT IT IS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE TO GET ALL OF THAT STUFF IN A SOLID, COMPREHENSIVE BILL.>>IN TERMS OF LICENSING, IF YOU HAVE A STATE LIQUOR LICENSE, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SELL MARIJUANA –>>SEEMS STRANGE TO ME.>>SO LOCAL BODEGA OWNERS WHO MAY WANT TO ADD THAT TO THEIR SHELVES WILL NOT BE ABLE TO. IF YOU WANT TO SELL IT, YOU HAVE TO EITHER NOT SELL LIQUOR OR ALCOHOL OR JUST OPEN UP AN ENTIRELY NEW STORE, WHICH MAY NOT ALWAYS BE FEASIBLE FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR THAT HAVE BEEN DISINVESTED, AND IT MAY DISCOURAGE PEOPLE AND ENCOURAGE CORPORATE CHAINS.>>I THINK MY FRUSTRATION — AND I WAS A FORMER ASSEMBLY MEMBER, SO I KNOW HOW ALBANY WORKS PRE-THE DEMOCRATIC LED HOUSES, BUT MY FRUSTRATION WITH PUSHING THIS THROUGH AS A BUDGET ITEM IS IT ONLY LOOKS AT IT AS A REVENUE GENERATOR. THAT IS THE WRONG APPROACH. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CHANGING THE LIVES OF NEW YORKERS, THE ENVIRONMENT BY WHICH WE WORK. CANNABIS LEGALIZATION IS A REAL ISSUE. I DO NOT THINK IT SHOULD BE BUNCHED INTO — A BUNCH OF CONVERSATIONS BY APRIL 1.>>YOU PUT EVERYTHING IN –>>I THINK IT IS WRONG.>>AND DO WE KNOW RIGHT NOW — I THOUGHT WE WERE IN A DECRIMINALIZED STATE. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE PUSHING FOR DECRIMINALIZATION, SAYING THE ONLY REASON WHY THERE IS A PUSH TO LEGALIZE IS BECAUSE FOLKS — THE BIG CORPORATIONS CANNOT MAKE MONEY OFF OF DECRIMINALIZATION. THEY CAN MAKE MONEY OFF OF LEGALIZATION, BECAUSE — I DO NOT UNDERSTAND –>>THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT ARGUMENT IS YOU NOW HAVE A GANG CULTURE ACROSS LARGE PARTS OF THE CITY, WHICH ARE BASED ON GETTING MONEY BY DEALING DRUGS, WHETHER IT MEANS, TO SOME DEGREE, THEY ARE DEALING HARDER DRUGS, DEALING HEROIN, FENTANYL, DEALING OPIOIDS, BUT THEY ARE ALSO DEALING MARIJUANA. PART OF THE ARGUMENT IS YOU REPLACE — YOU STILL HAVE A HEALTH PROBLEM, YOU STILL HAVE A SOCIAL PROBLEM, YOU MINIMIZE OR LESSEN THE CRIMINAL PROBLEM.>>I AM ASKING WHAT IS THE STATE OF AFFAIRS NOW? THERE IS A BOOK CALLED “TELL YOUR CHILDREN,” LINKING MARIJUANA TO SCHIZOPHRENIA IN TEENAGERS. HE IS A NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER WHO DID NOT — THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS HE IS SAYING VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE GOING TO JAIL FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION. I DO NOT HONESTLY KNOW THE STATE OF AFFAIRS.>>THEY ARE CERTAINLY GETTING A CRIMINAL RECORD.>>IT DEPENDS ON THE COUNTY, IT DEPENDS ON — TRUTHFULLY, WE STILL HAVE DISCRETIONARY POLICING. THAT IS NEVER GOING TO CHANGE. YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS. THAT IS VERY REAL. BUT AS I UNDERSTAND IT, IT IS DECRIMINALIZATION FOR POSSESSION OF LESS THAN AN OUNCE. THAT IS IN YOUR POSSESSION, SO THAT IS CONSIDERED FOR PERSONAL USE. THAT IS NOT IN PUBLIC VIEW. AS SOON AS IT IS IN PUBLIC VIEW, WHICH IS THE DISTINCTION, — PEOPLE BEING ASKED TO EMPTY THEIR POCKETS WERE HIT — OK NOW IT IS IN PUBLIC VIEW, NOW I CAN HIT YOU WITH A CRIMINAL CHARGE, OTHERWISE IT IS A CIVIL INFRACTION, SO IT IS A TICKET AND A FINE. PERHAPS A FEW PEOPLE ARE GOING TO JAIL FOR POSSESSION. THERE IS A LOT OF ATTENTION TO MONITORING HOW THAT CHANGE — THE LAW WAS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS. IT WAS NOT THE LAW ON THE STREETS. LAW ON THE STREET WAS EMPTY YOUR POCKETS OR I THINK I SMELL IT OR EMPTY YOUR CAR, WHATEVER. I THINK THAT IS MORE THAN — AND I WOULD SORT OF DISPUTE IT IS NECESSARILY A BIG CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE. WHAT WE NEED IS SOCIAL INVESTMENT. WHAT WE ARE SAYING IS LET’S MOVE THIS INTO THE PUBLIC –, AND THEN LET’S TALK ABOUT SOCIAL INVESTMENT.>>LET’S TALK ABOUT TREATMENT.>>TREATMENT. LET’S TALK ABOUT ADDICTION. NOT EVERYBODY BECOMES ADDICTED TO A DRUG. SOME PEOPLE CAN USE WHEN THEY ARE A TEENAGER AND NOT DEVELOP A PROBLEM. SO WHO GETS ADDICTED AND WHY? WE KNOW MORE NOW AND ARE LEARNING TO PUT THAT INTO PRACTICE. HOW DO WE HAVE EARLY INTERVENTION FOR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, FOR EXAMPLE, SO THEY DO NOT DEVELOP, — HOW DO WE HAVE TRAUMA INFORMED CARE, HOW DO WE ADDRESS THE ROOT?>>THERE IS A SERIOUS CONCERN IN THE TREATMENT COMMUNITY ABOUT WHAT THE EFFECT WAS ON MARIJUANA ON THE TEENAGE BRAIN, WHICH IS DIFFERENT FROM THE EFFECT ON YOUR BRAIN, FOR BETTER OR WORSE. MY POINT IS — IF THERE IS AMBIVALENCE ABOUT USE, THERE WAS A POINT IN TIME WHERE THERE WAS A CLEAR NO USE — ETHOS, IF YOU WILL, FOR TEENAGERS. NOW, IT IS ABOUT VAPING.>>CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, BUT YOU’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT YOU HAVE TO BE 21 IN ORDER TO LEGALLY BUY MARIJUANA. SO THAT TEENAGE PROBLEM WILL NOT CHANGE, THEIR OLDER BROTHER WILL BE ABLE TO BUY IT FOR THEM. AND NOT FROM THE BLACK MARKET.>>I AM NOT — I AM JUST SAYING ACCORDING TO THE FOLKS — THERE IS A GUY WHO RUNS SMART APPROACHES TO MARIJUANA. THEY ARE PUSHING FOR DECRIMINALIZATION. THEY ARE SAYING THAT, IN THE STATE OF COLORADO, THE NUMBER OF 12-YEAR-OLDS TO 17-YEAR-OLDS REPORTING FIRST USE OF MARIJUANA IN LEGALIZED COLORADO IS VERY HIGH.>>HIGHER THAN IT WAS.>>YEAH. I DO NOT KNOW THE EXACT NUMBERS. WHEN I LOOK AT THAT, SOMEBODY SAYS THAT IS NOT TRUE, THAT STUDY IS DEBUNKED.>>YEAH, I’VE SEEN THE OPPOSITE –>>MY POINT IS WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO RISK ON ALL OF THIS STUFF THAT IS UNKNOWN? I THINK YOU AND I WOULD DIFFER IN TERMS OF YOUTH AND A — I AM NOT FOR THE ILLEGAL USE — WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WAS NEVER INTENDED BY THE TREATMENT WORLD, BUT IT WAS CLEARLY A PROFOUND EFFECT ON A GENERATION OF MAINLY MINORITY MALES. THAT IS SOMETHING THE TREATMENT WORLD NEVER WAS INTERESTED IN ACCOMPLISHING WHEN THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT YOU CANNOT LEGALIZE DRUGS. BUT THEY WERE SAYING THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WAS A WAY TO GET FOLKS TO TREATMENT. TOO MANY FOLKS NEVER GOT TO TREATMENT AND STAYED IN PRISON. THAT IS THE TRUTH.>>A LOT OF PEOPLE DO NOT GET TO TREATMENT WHEN IT COMES TO OPIOIDS, AND THEY DIE.>>WE HAD 70,000 FENTANYL DEATHS LAST YEAR –>>49,000 INVOLVED OPIOIDS. SOME WAS FENTANYL.>>IT IS A SERIOUS NUMBER.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FOLKS.>>IS THERE A SLIPPERY SLOPE ARGUMENT? BECAUSE THERE IS ESSENTIALLY A LIBERTARIAN QUALITY TO THIS ARGUMENT, AN ANTI-PROHIBITION ARGUMENT. PROHIBITION DOES NOT WORK, SO LET’S LEGALIZE — IS THAT THE SAME? IS THERE A SLIPPERY SLOPE TO OTHER DRUGS?>>I THINK THAT, IN ANY RATIONAL SYSTEM, IF YOU LEGALIZE BASED ON THE RELATIVE HARM OF THE SUBSTANCE — AND THE RELATIVE HARM OF OPIOIDS IS CLEAR. WE KNOW PEOPLE NOW ARE OVERDOSING WHO MAY BE WHAT YOU CALL A RECREATIONAL USER, BUT BECAUSE OF FENTANYL — AND THEN OPIOID USAGE DEVELOPS A DEPENDENCE THAT PUTS YOU IN PHYSICAL WITHDRAWAL, AND THAT HAPPENS QUICKLY, PHYSICALLY. IF WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT A LEGALIZATION SCHEME, WHICH I DO NOT THINK WE WILL TALK ABOUT — THAT WOULD TAKE US WAY OFF, BUT YOU WOULD REALLY WANT TO BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT IT THROUGH THE LENS OF RELATIVE HARMS. GOING BACK TO THIS QUESTION OF IS LEGALIZING GOING TO INCREASE YOUTH CONSUMPTION? YOU SPEAK ABOUT THE COMMUNITY AND HOW YOUNG PEOPLE VIEW CANNABIS. I AM MUCH MORE WORRIED ABOUT HOW YOUNG PEOPLE VIEW PILLS. PILLS ARE EVERYWHERE. AND YOUNG PEOPLE MAY HAVE BEEN OVER PRESCRIBED PILLS. CANNABIS, JUST LIKE ALCOHOL — HOW DO WE MANAGE — IF YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR OLDER BROTHER TO BUY YOU ALCOHOL VERSUS GOING DOWN THE BLOCK AND BEING ABLE TO BUY A BAG ON THE CORNER, RIGHT? –>>THIS IS GOING BACK TO YOUR QUESTION EARLIER ON — THIS IS A WORLD WHERE MARIJUANA IS MARKETED AND SOLD? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE BIG MARIJUANA THE WAY THERE IS THE TOBACCO?>>WE CAN RESTRICT IT.>>IS THAT WHAT LEGALIZATION LOOKS LIKE?>>EVERY STATE IS DIFFERENT. WE DO HAVE LARGE COMPANIES. BUT IT IS SORT OF IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL UNTIL YOU CAN TAKE A BROAD LOOK AT HOW COMPANIES ARE APPROACHING IT. I THINK YOU WILL ALWAYS RUN A RISK THAT IT WILL BE MARKETED IN SUCH A WAY, BUT IN NEW YORK, I BELIEVE THERE IS LEGISLATION NOW TO CHANGE THE MARKETING AND PACKAGING FOR JUUL CIGARETTES, SO IT IS LESS APPEALING TO KIDS.>>MOVES TO CONTROL –>>RIGHT, THE ISSUED IT A COUPLE YEARS AGO. I AM MORE CONCERNED IN NEW YORK CITY THAT IT IS THE DISCRETION THAT POLICE OFFICERS HAVE. DEPENDING ON WHAT BOROUGH YOU’RE IN, HOW MUCH MARIJUANA YOU HAVE ON YOU, POLICE OFFICERS HAVE THE DISCRETION TO ARREST YOU BASED ON HOW MUCH YOU HAVE ON YOU IN TERMS OF POSSESSION, YOUR PAST RECORD, AND EVERY DISTRICT ATTORNEY IN NEW YORK CITY IS DIFFERENT, AND EVERYONE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY. I’VE MET A LOT OF PARENTS AND MY ROLE AS A COUNCIL MEMBER WHOSE CHILDREN WERE AFFECTED BY OPIOIDS, BECAUSE THEY HAD AN INJURY, AND THEY WERE PRESCRIBED PAIN MEDICATION, AND THEN THEY WERE STOPPED ON THAT PAIN MEDICATION AND GOT ADDICTED TO OPIOIDS. I NEVER UNDERSTOOD HOW YOU GOT THAT ADDICTION. A LOT OF TIMES, IT STARTS WITH SOMETHING SMALL. IF YOU ARE EXPOSED TO IT — I AGREE AND ADMIT EVERYTHING WE DO, THERE IS ALWAYS UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. SO WHILE WE TRY TO DO THE RIGHT THING, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES THAT WILL HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF WHAT WE ARE DOING. THE BLACK MARKET THAT COULD SEARCH THROUGH THIS, IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO REGULATE SOMETHING, BECAUSE YOU PROVIDE GUIDELINES, PROVIDE STRUCTURE, AND I AM BIG ON CONSISTENCY. IT IS REALLY A CHALLENGE THESE DAYS, WITH FIVE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, AND OUT OF THE FIVE, MANHATTAN, BROOKLYN, AND THE BRONX, ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT HAVE DECRIMINALIZED MARIJUANA WHERE THEY ARE DECLINING TO PROSECUTE CASES. BUT IF YOU’RE IN STATEN ISLAND OR QUEENS, YOU MAY GET ARRESTED. TO ME, IT IS ABOUT CONSISTENCY, HAVING THE SAME CONVERSATION AND MAKING SURE EVERYONE IS ON THE SAME PAGE.>>AND THE THING WITH REGULATION, THE SENATE SPONSOR, THE ONE WAY SHE SEES IT IS THAT THAT MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM HAS ALWAYS BEEN RESTRICTIVE. THE NEW LEGISLATION WOULD NOT NECESSARILY CHANGE THAT. IT IS STILL A FINITE LIST OF CONDITIONS YOU CAN GET A CARD FOR. SHE TOLD ME THE WAY SHE SEES IT IS — PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE USING IT TO CALM THEIR NERVES, USE IT FOR MEDICAL ISSUES THAT THEY CANNOT GET A PRESCRIPTION FOR, IT IS MUCH SAFER IF THEY CAN GO DOWN TO A STORE AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS IN IT, EXACTLY THE DOSAGE, SO IT IS REGULATED, SO IF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GET TO IT ANYWAY, IT IS BETTER TO MAKE IT SAFE FOR PEOPLE.>>THE ARGUMENT THAT YOU MIGHT AS WELL IS REFLECTIVE OF THE GENERAL PERCEPTION WITH SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, THAT IT WAS THIS TOTAL TABOO, AND THEN THERE WAS A RUSH TO JUSTICE, FRANKLY. EVER SINCE 2012, WITH COLORADO AND WASHINGTON, THERE HAS BEEN THIS RUSH TO LEGALIZE IT, IN PART, BY STATE GOVERNMENTS THAT SEE $.>>AND THAT IS THE WRONG REASON TO DO THAT.>>BUT IT IS ALSO, I BELIEVE, A SENSE IN GROWING AWARENESS OF THE FAILURE OF PROHIBITION AS A MEANS TO CONTROL IT. I DO NOT THINK THAT LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA MEANS THAT THE STATE IS PROMOTING THE USE OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA, BUT THAT IS THE PERCEPTION AMONG THE LOT.>>AND PERCEPTION AND REALITY IS VERY DIFFERENT.>>YOU BROUGHT UP IS IT A LIBERTARIAN MOVE TO LEGALIZE? I THINK THAT IS KEY. IT IS BETTER TO BE ABLE TO REGULATE AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. SO AGAIN, GOING BACK TO THIS, WHAT GETS LOST IN THE FIGHT OVER THE BILL IN THE BILL LANGUAGE AND THE REVENUE AND ALL OF THESE IS — HOW ARE WE GOING TO REGULATE THIS? ARE WE GOING TO LEAVE IT TO A STATE AUTHORITY THAT HAS MAYBE BEEN INFLUENCED DIRECTLY BY A CORPORATE LOBBY? HOW ARE WE GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT? THOSE ARE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM WITH ALCOHOL, WITH TOBACCO. WE ARE ALREADY DEALING WITH THAT. WHAT CAN WE TAKE FROM THAT EXPERIENCE? I DO NOT HAVE A GOOD ANSWER EXCEPT TO THINK ABOUT THE VERY SPECIFIC — CAN WE SET A MINIMUM PRICE, A MAXIMUM POTENCY AVAILABLE? CAN WE SET A TAXATION –>>IT WAS EVEN POINTED OUT TO ME THAT IF YOU ARE STOPPED AND SUSPECTED OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL, THEY CAN GIVE YOU A BLOOD TEST, BREATHALYZER TEST, THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS OF MARIJUANA STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM FOR A LONG TIME, YOU CANNOT DO A BLOOD TEST THAT WILL TELL YOU I WAS STONED WHEN I WAS DRIVING. SO THERE ARE SOME TECHNICAL POLICE COMPLICATIONS.>>IT IS ALSO MUCH HARDER — YOU CAN STOP SOMEONE ON THE STREET, BUT WITH MARIJUANA, IN SOME STATES, IT HAS STARTED TO CLOG UP THE COURTS. IT TAKES TIME TO DO THESE BLOOD TESTS AND URINE TESTS, IT COSTS MONEY, AND THERE IS NO DEFINITIVE WAY TO FIGURE OUT IF THEY WERE ACTUALLY INTOXICATED, IF THEY JUST SMOKED MARIJUANA FROM FIVE DAYS AGO, AND THERE IS NO — SOME STATES WILL HAVE A CUTOFF LEVEL, WHERE IF YOUR BLOOD LEVEL IS ABOVE X AMOUNT, IT IS ILLEGAL. SOME HAVE NO TOLERANCE AT ALL, ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. EVERYONE REACTS FRIENDLY. THE WAY YOU INGEST IT WILL ALSO AFFECT HOW YOU ARE AFFECTED, SO THE ROAD SAFETY ASPECT OF IT IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES OPPONENTS WHO SAY MAYBE THEY SHOULD SLOW DOWN, AND STATES WHERE IT IS LEGAL, THEY HAVE NOTICED AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC DEATHS WHERE THE DRIVER HAD THC IN THEIR SYSTEM. WHETHER OR NOT THAT IS A DIRECT CORRELATION IS HARD TO TELL, BUT IT IS A CONCERNING FIGURE.>>WE LIVE IN A WORLD OF CONFLICTING FACTS. MY UNDERSTANDING WAS, IN COLORADO, THERE WAS AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC FATALITIES, WHERE THE — THERE WAS NO OTHER SUBSTANCE BESIDES THC IN THE SYSTEM. THIS IS NOT LIKE DRUNK DRIVING –>>I THING THERE WAS AN INCREASE IN BOTH WHERE YOU WOULD HAVE THC AND OTHER SUBSTANCES. AT THE SAME TIME, IT IS HARD TO TELL DO THEY CRASH BECAUSE THEY HAD JUST SMOKED OR MORE PEOPLE SMOKING WHO HAVE IT IN THEIR SYSTEM WHO HAPPEN TO GET INTO CRASH?>>WE HAVE THAT AMBIVALENCE WITH ALCOHOL?>>ALCOHOL DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME EFFECT. IF YOU HAD ALCOHOL A DAY AND A HALF AGO, IT WILL NOT STILL BE IN YOUR SYSTEM, AS OPPOSED TO THC, THEY HAVE NO WAY OF SAYING — THIS LEVEL IS TOO MUCH.>>LET ME TAKE A QUESTION — TELL US YOUR NAME AND CAMPUS.>>I AM TIMOTHY FROM YORK COLLEGE. MY QUESTION GOES TO THE DECRIMINALIZATION ASPECT OF IT. IF YOU LEGALIZE MARIJUANA, THERE ARE STILL GOING TO BE OTHER PEOPLE ON THE BLACK MARKET SELLING MARIJUANA. WITH THAT INCREASE THE LEVEL OF DECRIMINALIZATION? BASICALLY, WHAT THEY HAVE A HIGHER — IF YOU ARE SELLING WEED AND YOU ARE ON THE STREETS, ARE YOU GOING TO GET IN MORE TROUBLE THAN NOW?>>RIGHT, IF YOU — IF YOU HAVE MOONSHINE –>>SHOWING HIS AGE YET AGAIN. [LAUGHTER]>>IF YOU UNDERCUT THE SALE OF LEGAL ALCOHOL, YOU CAN BE ARRESTED. IF YOU HAVE LEGAL MARIJUANA AND TAX IT WHERE IT IS STILL EXPENSIVE, WILL YOU STILL HAVE A STREET SALE CRIMINAL CULTURE?>>THERE WILL STILL BE ILLEGAL GROWING IN YOUR HOUSE –>>GROW FOR YOUR OWN USE –>>ONLY PEOPLE WITH MEDICAL CARDS, UNDER CUOMO’S LEGISLATION.>>SOME STATES, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO GROW TWO PLANTS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.>>IN SOME STATES, A LOT OF PEOPLE ADVOCATE — NOT ADVOCATES, BUT IT IS GENERALLY AGREED UPON AMONG EXPERTS IN MY UNDERSTANDING THAT IT IS NOT A GOOD THING. IT IS HARD TO REGULATE. YOU HAVE THE RISK OF PEOPLE THEN SELLING IT. IT IS HARD TO KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH PEOPLE ARE GROWING. EVEN THOUGH ADVOCATES ARE SAYING WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GROW IT IN OUR OWN HOUSES, THAT COULD LEAD TO A SLIPPERY SLOPE, WHERE IT IS HARDER TO REGULATE. BUT THERE WOULD STILL BE CRIMINAL PENALTIES.>>SELLING OUTSIDE THE REGULATED SYSTEM –>>OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD NOW, I CANNOT REMEMBER WHETHER OR NOT — I BELIEVE IT MAY BE A SLIGHTLY LESS PENALTY THAN IT IS NOW, BUT I CANNOT SAY THAT WITH CERTAINTY. IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS BURIED.>>ONE OF THE ISSUES IS THE LEVEL THAT A LOCALITY CAN ADD TO THE SALES TAX IN ORDER TO COLLECT SOME DEGREE OF REVENUE IN ORDER TO OFFSET WHAT THEY ARGUE WILL BE INCREASED COSTS IN REGULATING IT.>>THE FLIPSIDE IS, WE HAVE SEEN WITH CIGARETTES, HOW THAT HAS BACKFIRED.>>COMING UP FROM NORTH CAROLINA AND STUFF.>>YEAH. SO IT IS THIS CHALLENGE AND THERE IS A DELICATE BALANCE. WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE CRIMINALIZE PEOPLE, FUNDAMENTALLY. THE GOAL IS DECRIMINALIZE PEOPLE.>>MY NAME IS ALISA, A STUDENT AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE. I HAVE A QUICK COMMENT. I HOPE WHEN THIS DOES PASS, IF IT DOES, THERE IS A RESTORATIVE JUSTICE ASPECT TO IT. I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT. BUT AS WE SPEAK NOW, THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SMOKING MARIJUANA IN NEW YORK CITY AND IN THE STATES –>>IF YOU WALK DOWN THE STREETS, THAT IS TRUE.>>IS HAPPENING, HAS BEEN HAPPENING, AND WILL HAPPEN. IT WILL NOT END. IF WE CAN LEGALIZE CIGARETTES AND LEGALIZE ALCOHOL, WHICH WE KNOW ACTUALLY DOES RESULT IN FATALITIES, WHY IS THIS EVEN SOMETHING THAT WE ARE SPEAKING ABOUT AS IF IT IS NOT INEVITABLE?>>WELL, IT WAS NOT UP UNTIL RECENTLY. I THINK WHAT SHE IS SAYING IS THAT THIS IS AN IDEA — AND JUST A FACT OF LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IS MAINSTREAM, WHICH IT WAS NOT. WHY HAS THIS NOT HAPPENED?>>I THINK THERE ARE SO MANY LAYERS TO THIS. EVEN WHEN ALCOHOL WAS LEGALIZED, IT WAS NOT THE EASIEST THING TO DO. IT MAY SEEM LIKE IT WAS EASY, BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF LAYERS IN PLACE WITH THE STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITY, CERTAIN LICENSES YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH. LEGALIZING MARIJUANA IS COMPLICATED, BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY PARTS OF THIS. PUBLIC SAFETY, PUBLIC HEALTH, MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, THOSE WHO WILL DISTRIBUTE THE PRODUCT, HOW MUCH, VOLUME, POSSESSION, LAW ENFORCEMENT, PROSECUTION — THERE ARE A LOT OF PHASES WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS AND THERE ARE A LOT OF OPINIONS. IT IS SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT, BECAUSE IT IS HAPPENING ALL THE TIME. BUT IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE BLACK MARKET AND REDUCE THE ILLEGAL THINGS HAVE BEEN HAPPENING, THE DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, WE HAVE TO MOVE TOWARDS REGULATION AND MOVE TOWARDS IN THE RIGHT WAY. IN A COMMUNITY LIKE MINE, WHERE THE SENIORS HATED AND THE YOUNGER GENERATION LOVES IT, WE HAVE TO FIND A BALANCE. WE WANT PEOPLE TO DO IT IN THE RIGHT WAY WHERE THEY CAN BE SAFE. IT IS LIKE SAFE INJECTION SITES WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT, WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO LOOK AT LOCATIONS WHERE INDIVIDUALS CAN USE DRUGS LEGALLY AND SAFELY — A VERY CONTROVERSIAL.>>NOT LEGALLY, BUT SAFELY.>>QUITE FRANKLY, IT GOES BACK TO THE PERCEPTION, IN WHICH ORIGINALLY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DECIDED IT WOULD BE A SCHEDULE ONE DRUG. IT GOES BACK TO THE INDUSTRIAL USE OF CANNABIS. IT IS A VERSATILE PLANT. THERE ARE A LOT OF BIG INDUSTRIES WHO USE HEMP, AND THEY DID NOT WANT IT TO BE LEGAL, SO THEY LOBBIED THE GOVERNMENT TO SAY THIS MARIJUANA PLANT, IT IS BAD, YOU SHOULD MAKE IT ILLEGAL — AND THAT IS DECADES OF FEAR MONGERING, WHETHER IT IS TRUE OR NOT. IT HAS REALLY AFFECTED HOW WE CAN OBJECTIVELY STUDY THE EFFECTS OF THE DRUG. IT IS LIKE THE BALANCE BETWEEN WANTING TO TAKE THIS COMPARATIVELY SAFER DRUG AS OPPOSED TO ALCOHOL OR MAYBE CIGARETTES AND WANTING TO MAKE IT LEGAL AND THEN HAVING — IT HAS NOT BEEN STUDIED, SO WE DO NOT ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT THE EFFECTS ARE.>>I AGREE WITH THAT. I ALSO THINK WHAT HAPPENED — THERE WAS SUCH A BLOWBACK AGAINST THE REEFER MADNESS THING, BECAUSE THAT KIND OF HYPERBOLIC RHETORIC WAS NOT GIBING WITH PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCE. BUT THERE ARE SERIOUS PEOPLE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE SIGNS OF MARIJUANA — WHEN PEOPLE SAY IT IS SAFER BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT CRASHING YOUR CAR — LET ME SLOW IT DOWN. THERE ARE SERIOUS PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT CONNECTIONS BETWEEN MARIJUANA AND MENTAL ILLNESS AND MARIJUANA AND OTHER SOCIAL ILLS, WHICH I DON’T KNOW IF THEY’RE RIGHT. BUT I THINK IF WE START TALKING ABOUT THE IDEA OF MARKETING MARIJUANA, IT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE WE ARE MAKING ANOTHER STUPID MISTAKE IN PLAIN VIEW OF OURSELVES.>>HOW ABOUT WE BAN — THIS IS A PROBLEM, BECAUSE CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE AND WE CANNOT LIMIT THEIR FREE SPEECH. HOW DO WE LIMIT MARKETING? WE ARE THE LAST SUBWAY SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY TO ALLOW ALCOHOL ADVERTISING IN OUR SUBWAYS. WE FINALLY GOT RID OF ALCOHOL ADVERTISING ON THE MTA. YOU THINK ABOUT THAT, KIDS LOOKING AT A SUBWAY CAR FULL OF WHISKEY ON THEIR WAY TO SCHOOL. HOW DO WE LIMIT THAT RADICALLY? HOW DO WE MAKE PACKAGING PLAIN AND WITH A WARNING LABEL?>>YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU DID WITH TOBACCO, AT LEAST IN THIS CITY, BECAUSE I AM FAMILIAR WITH IT — SEVERELY LIMIT ADVERTISING IN YOUR LOCAL STORE, — I WANT TO GO TO THE LAST QUESTION. IS THERE ANY RATIONAL REASON MARIJUANA IS A SCHEDULE ONE DRUG?>>NO. SCHEDULE ONE MEANS RISK OF ABUSE AND NO MEDICAL VALUE, RIGHT? MEDICAL MARIJUANA HAPPENS, NOT JUST THROUGH SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, BECAUSE THERE ARE PATIENTS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED REAL BENEFITS — PRESCRIPTION OPIOIDS ARE SCHEDULE TWO. IT MEANS MEDICAL BENEFITS.>>IS THERE A LOWER PENALTY BETWEEN SCHEDULE ONE OR TWO?>>NO. THE PENALTIES HAPPEN SEPARATELY. THE POINT IS YOU CANNOT DO THE RESEARCH, YOU CANNOT USE IT IN MEDICINE.>>GOOD EVENING. MY NAME IS JUSTIN. I AM FROM LAGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE. I’VE HAD A LOOK AT THE MARIJUANA REGULATION AND TAXATION ACT, AND ONE OF THE STATISTICS — WAS THE 100,000 PEOPLE THAT WERE ARRESTED IN 2014 FOR HAVING MARIJUANA, LESS THAN AN OUNCE. ONE OF MY QUESTIONS IS WHAT DO — WHAT IS THE POLICE THINKING ABOUT THIS? HOW DOES IT AFFECT FUNDING FOR THE POLICE AS WELL AS PROSECUTION WITHIN THE UNITED STATES, THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM? AND ARE THEY SPEAKING OUT AGAINST IT? ANOTHER QUESTION I HAVE IS REGARDING CONSIDERING A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT GOT ARRESTED THAT ARE SHOWING — IN SOME CASES, A LOT OF ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS. THEY ARE ABLE TO SELL MARIJUANA, PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILY, ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE INCARCERATED OR FORMERLY INCARCERATED BEING PUT INTO ENTREPRENEURIAL PROGRAMS AND HAVE FIRST DIBS IN TO –>>I WAS ALWAYS AMAZED BY THE KIDS IN THE PROGRAM WHO HAD FLUNKED OUT OF SCHOOL MISERABLY, YET WHILE THEY WERE DEALING ON THE STREETS, HAD THE MOST COMPLICATED SYSTEMS FOR HOW TO — IN A WAY — I COULD HAVE NEVER PULLED IT OFF. WHEN YOU THING ABOUT THE DANGER OF THIS. THEY WERE VERY TALENTED KIDS WHO WERE THE FAILURES IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM AND HAD JUST DROPPED OUT COMPLETELY. BUT IT WAS ALWAYS AMAZING TO ME, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT STREETSMART –>>BUT I THINK PART OF WHAT THE QUESTION GOES TO IS THE ISSUE OF EXPUNGING THE RECORDS OF PEOPLE. I ASSUMED THAT, JUST LIKE WITH LIQUOR, IF YOU HAVE A CERTAIN CRIMINAL BACKGROUND, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SELL LIQUOR. IF THAT IS THE CASE WITH MARIJUANA, WHEN YOU HAVE SUCH DISPROPORTIONATE ARREST RECORDS IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, YOU TAKE THOSE PEOPLE OUT OUT OF THE EQUATION, THAT IS WHERE EXPUNGING COMES IN.>>THERE ARE CERTAIN CONDITIONS FOR THIS TO BE SUPPORTED — YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO EXPUNGE RECORDS. COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT HAS TO HAPPEN IN THE COMMUNITIES OF COLOR THAT HAVE BEEN MOST IMPACTED. I BELIEVE THE MARIJUANA DEALER CAN BE AN ENTREPRENEUR AT THE NEXT DAY. WE HAVE TO ALLOW AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE SAME YOUNG ADULTS WHO HAVE BEEN INCARCERATED AND ARRESTED BY MARIJUANA POSSESSION TO NOW USE THAT IN A POSITIVE WAY. THERE IS NOTHING THAT PRECLUDES US FROM DOING THAT AS LONG AS WE HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET. WHAT WE RUN THE RISK OF IS HAVING THE BIG IDEAS, LIKE USING THE BILLION DOLLARS OF PROJECTED REVENUE, FOR OUR MASS TRANSIT — IT IS AN IDEA. I DO NOT THINK IT IS THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION. IT SENDS A HORRIBLE MESSAGE. THIS IS SOME OF THE REASONS WHY WE GET PUSHBACK. I KNOW THE NYPD HAS A LOT OF CONCERN, BECAUSE THEY ARE GENUINELY CONCERNED ABOUT DRIVERS AND THE IMPACT MARIJUANA WILL HAVE ON THAT. WE HAD DONE SO MUCH WORK TO REDUCE FATALITIES AND CRASHES THROUGHOUT NEW YORK CITY TO PROTECT NEW YORKERS THAT WE DO NOT WANT TO GO DOWN THAT ROAD AGAIN. IT SHOULD BE REINVESTMENT, RECORD EXPUNGEMENT, AND MAKING SURE WE TURN THOSE NEGATIVES INTO A POSITIVE.>>I WANT TO TRY TO GET ONE MORE QUESTION.>>MY QUESTION IS IS THERE CONSENSUS BETWEEN THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY AND THE STATE LEGISLATURE REGARDING MARIJUANA LAWS? I WAS WONDERING IF THE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION HAS SPOKEN ABOUT THE MARIJUANA, PROPOSED MARIJUANA LAWS?>>HAVE THEY SIGNED ON AS A MEDICAL SOCIETY?>>I AM NOT ENTIRELY SURE TO WHAT EXTENT THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY HAS SIGNED ON. I KNOW SOME BUSINESSES ARE FOR IT. I AM NOT SURE IF THERE IS A BROAD CONSENSUS. I KNOW THERE ARE ADVOCATES FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA WHO WOULD RATHER SEE FIXES TO THE PROGRAM CURRENTLY IN PLACE BEFORE THEY SEE RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. THERE HAS BEEN LEGISLATION TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM THAT HAS NEVER PASSED THE LEGISLATURE, AND IT IS LOOKING LIKE THIS RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION WILL HAPPEN.>>THERE IS AN APPALLING LACK OF TREATMENT FOR PUBLICLY FUNDED TREATMENT FOR TEENAGERS IN THIS STATE, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE. THAT IS A HUGE PROBLEM THAT SOMEBODY SHOULD TRY TO FIGURE OUT.>>RIGHT.>>AND THE CONCERN IN THE TREATMENT COMMUNITY AND THAT IT COULD EXACERBATE THE NEED FOR THAT TREATMENT.>>BUT HOW DO WE BRING THE TREATMENT OUTSIDE OF THE CLINICAL WALLS? TREATMENT COULD UNDERGO MORE TO BE MORE ACCESSIBLE AND MORE WIDELY AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE.>>WE ONLY HAVE 10 SECONDS LEFT. I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY. THIS IS A DEBATE THAT WILL BE FOCUSED ON BEFORE THE LEGISLATIVE YEAR. THANK YOU. SEE YOU NEXT TIME ON CUNY FORUM. [APPLAUSE] ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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