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New York: City Council Holds Hearing On Synthetic Cannabinoids

Spice(SyntheticDrugs)

Amid Disappointing Conversations around Criminalization, Advocates Push for a Comprehensive Public Health Strategy to Deal with Synthetic Drugs

The New York City Council Committee on Public Safety on Monday held hearings about the growing concern surrounding synthetic cannabinoids. The hearings were held jointly with the Committees on Health and the Committee on Mental Health; Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services; and the Committee on Consumer Affairs

Recently, there have been several media reports of public drug use involving synthetic cannabinoids, such as spice and K2. Synthetic cannabinoids are a class of cannabinoid chemicals typically sprayed over plant matter and packaged with names like “K2,” “Spice” and “Green Giant.”

These are only the latest “legal highs” to come on the market that simulate the effects of prohibited drugs like marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine. In the past, as these kind of substances have been banned, manufacturers have simply invented new variations of the same substances to skirt the bans as well as for legitimate scientific purposes.

While synthetic cannabinoids are used by a wide range of people, media accounts have focused on their use by people who are homeless and/or criminal justice involved. The substances usually do not show up in drug tests that are sometimes required for people to access shelters or social services that require abstinence from illicit drugs, like marijuana.

New York: NYC Council Holds Hearing On Bill To Reorient Drug Policy Towards Health

NewYorkCityCouncilMeeting[GreenpointStar]

Legislation Would Create an Office to Coordinate Drug Strategy Between Dozens of Departments

Emphasizes Evidence-based Policy Making to Promote Health and Public Safety and Reduce Negative Impact of Past and Current Policies

As the New York City Council prepared to hold a hearing on legislation to reshape how the city deals with illegal drug use, advocates packed the steps of City Hall in support.

The bill would create an Office of Drug Strategy charged with coordinating policy and programmatic priorities across dozens of city agencies and collaborating with community organizations. While similar approaches exist in scores of Canadian and European cities, the New York City office would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

“I know firsthand why we need an Office of Drug Strategy, dedicated to creating alternatives to our city's failed drug policies," said Shantae Owens, a member of VOCAL New York. "When I was arrested for possessing a small amount of drugs, I was homeless and drug addicted, selling drugs just to support a habit.

"I was offered a prison sentence instead of treatment, which was a waste of my life and our tax dollars," Owens said. "New York City can and should be a national role model for how we can end drug war policies and replace them with policies of justice and equity, and politics of compassion and love."

New York: Community Groups, Elected Officials Sponsor Forum On Medical Marijuana Program

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Tuesday, February 3 Forum Will Address Concerns with Proposed Regulations, Including Access for Low Income Patients

Patients, community members, providers and elected officials will join together on Tuesday, February 3, to discuss New York’s medical marijuana law and provide community feedback on the state’s recently introduced draft regulations that will shape New York’s medical marijuana program.

The event is being held at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, the poorest county in the state, where providers have raised significant concerns that the medical marijuana program could leave low income communities behind. The event is free and open to the public.

The forum is being hosted by BOOM!Health, VOCAL New York, Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and Compassionate Care NY, along with other community organizations and elected officials. It will educate the community on the draft regulations released in December and provide a space for the community to discuss what is needed to improve the system to ensure any qualified patient -- regardless of ability to pay -- can access medical marijuana services.

What: A community forum to discuss New York’s medical marijuana program

When: Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Where: Hostos Community College C Building, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx NY 10451

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