January 12, 2018 New York
In terms of cannabis reforms, New York is way behind the majority of the states. Even a comprehensive MMJ program is not in place in New York. However, the state assembly has finally stumbled upon the question of legalization. A hearing was carried out by a senate committee on the topic of adult-use marijuana. Testimonies by 26 people were made before the committee. Let’s have a look on some of the relevant and gripping statements.
Dr. Julie Holland
Dr. Julie Holland is a psychiatrist for more than 20 years. She has served as a chief physician of the psychiatric emergency in one of the city’s hospital. She started to make her point in the favor of legalization by stating the fact that the entire population of the country is consuming drugs one way or the other, in the form of sleeping pills, nicotine, caffeine, anti-anxiety drugs and other related medications. She even thinks that sugar craving and its cycle of crash is very similar to a subdued high of cocaine.
She also highlighted the fact that more Americans get killed every year due to tobacco and alcohol. On the other hand, marijuana is non-lethal. She also termed the national narcotic policy as absurd where K2 and spice, dangerous synthetic variants of cannabinoids, are legal and consumed by a large number of citizens especially the military men. While cannabis, a natural strain, is not allowed.
To deal with the menace of substance abuse, especially of opioid, she thinks a wide-scale legalization measure is necessary.
Kasssandra Frederique, the director of a pro-cannabis NGO quoted some staggering numbers in front of the committee. These stats highlight a racial persecution in the domain of cannabis crimes. In 2016, around 60 arrests were made each day for minor possession of cannabis. Among all the arrests made through the entire year, nearly 85% of the arrestees were young non-whites (Black and Latino).
David Holland, the legal director of the State affiliate of NORML, is hopeful that prohibition will end soon amid the present depressing circumstances of the state.
Holland also censured the gateway drug theory, an alleged hypothesis used by prohibitionist groups very often. He mentioned that even FDA had accepted that there was no statistical data available in the support of this theory.
In his statement, David Holland also expressed his disappointment on the reality that the voters can’t directly decide the fate of legalized cannabis. They are dependent on the inclinations and predilections of the lawmakers.
Nevertheless, state legislation is not always bad for cannabis reforms. As all of us have recently witnessed that the Vermont Senate has passed the bill to legalize adult-use cannabis. So it is possible to have the same legalization route here in New York.
With lucid and well articulated testimonies from the experienced professionals of their respective fields, the legislative environment in New York might become suitable to expedite the process of legalization.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]