new york city council

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: Group Wants NYC To Set Up Its Own Medical Marijuana Program

DanaBeal[KatherineCaulderwood-TheVillageVoice]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group of patients who are disappointed with the much criticized, heavily regulated medical marijuana program and its glacial pace in New York state has drafted a bill to make medicinal cannabis more accessible in New York City.

The group's proposed legislation, which responds to the state's Compassionate Care Act, establishes a "medical marihuana users' bill of rights" and asks the New York City Council to support creation of a "users cooperative," reports Madison Margolin at The Village Voice.

Longtime marijuana activist Dana Beal, one of about 10 contributors ot the bill, said the group hopes to establish a five-borough patients' cooperative "for people with serious maladies, including ones that aren't on the state list."

"The law and the regulations don't cover people who are [also] legitimate patients," Beal said. "We believe that under home rule, we can extend better availability and better prices to more people."

New York's Compassionate Care Act, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July 2014, is scheduled to take effect in January. Many have criticized it for being among the most restrictive, and least patient-friendly, in the country. The law doesn't allow for any smoking of marijuana, nor the use of any cannabis flowers, nor the use of infused edibles, but only allows oils, concentrates, dissolvable strips, patches, and tinctures.

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: NYC Council Holds Hearing On Bill To Reorient Drug Policy Toward Health, Safety

NewYorkCityCouncil(logo)

A new New York City drug policy agency would focus as much on health as on policing under a proposal a lawmaker has introduced to shift how the nation's biggest city approaches illegal drug use.

The proposed legislation would create an office to coordinate drug strategy between dozens of city agencies and the community. It emphasizes evidence-based policy making to promote health and public safety and reduce the negative impact of past or current policies.

The drug strategy office would advise city leaders on lowering drug-related deaths and disease along with crime, reports Jennifer Peltz at ABC News. It also would coordinate answers to a problem that sometimes seems to pit one set of government objectives against another, supporters say.

WHAT: Press conference and rally in support of Intro 748, which would create an Office of Drug Strategy, to be immediately followed by a NYC Council hearing on the bill.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 23, 9:00 am EST

WHERE: Steps of New York City Hall

WHO: NYC elected officials and community groups representing public health, drug treatment, mental health, and legal aid providers, and individuals directly affected by current NYC drug policy.

New York City Turns A Corner On Drug Policy: City Council Bill Would Harmonize Strategy

CoreyJohnsonOnStreetsOfNYC

First of its Kind City Council Bill Would Create a National Model to Harmonize Drug Strategy Between Dozens of Departments and the Community

Bill Emphasizes Research-based Approaches to Promote Public Health and Safety and Reduce Negative Impact of Past and Current Policies

Building on debates that helped shape the last mayoral election, NYC Council Members Corey Johnson, Andrew Cohen, and Vanessa Gibson on Thursday introduced legislation to create an Office of Drug Strategy. Placed in city hall, the new office would be empowered to convene city agencies, outside experts, and communities impacted by drug use to develop a city-wide, health-focused plan for a coordinated approach in addressing issues related to drug use.

“Past and present ineffective drug policy has contributed to tragic and preventable mortality, crime and inequity here in New York City,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Health Committee. “The Office of Drug Strategy will combat these problems by enhancing evidence-based drug education and public health intervention efforts and the availability of medical, psychological and social services to those struggling with drug use.

"Through the coordination of the many agencies and offices that address the numerous facets of illicit and non-medical drug use, we can develop a forward-looking policy to stem overdoses and enhance rehabilitation,” Johnson said.

New York: City Council Speaker Supports Marijuana Legalization

MelissaMark-Viverito(NYCCouncil)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has endorsed the legalization of marijuana, making her one of the first high-ranking officials in the Big Apple to take such a position.

"Yes, I do support the legalization of marijuana," Mark-Viverito said at an unrelated news conference on Thursday, reports Mara Gay at The Wall Street Journal. "I think based on conversations that we're seeing nationally, the way people feel about it, I think that it's just something that is appropriate at this time."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week announced a new policy under which those stopped for low-level marijuana possession will be given tickets instead of being arrested. That change is a "step forward," Mark-Viverito said.

She added that she's concerned that the mayor's new policy doesn't do enough to improve the "initial interaction" between police and New York City residents. She said she supported the outright legalization of cannabis, and said she had used it herself.

"If you're asking whether I have smoked marijuana, yes," Mark-Viverito said.

Mayor de Blasio said on Monday that issuing court summons instead of arresting people for low-level marijuana possession is "good for New Yorkers of color and particularly young people of color."

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