Brian Vicente, Esq. – Executive Director of Sensible Colorado is welcomed to the show tonight. Also at the show will be Robert Johnson with Cannabis Payment Systems who specialize in financial services and payment processing for the cannabis and cbd industries. Sensible Colorado was founded by Colorado professionals and parents to research, educate, and advocate for effective drug policy. They seek to promote an effective drug policy through the following; researching the public health, economic, social, criminal justice, and other effects of drug consumption and prohibition; formulating innovative, economically-sound, practical drug-related regulations and policies; working with the appropriate agencies of the Colorado state government and municipalities to implement such appropriate policies; educating the public through speaking engagements, seminars, the mass media, and other means. Sensible Colorado envisions a system where drug use becomes a health issue, not a crime issue, through innovative drug policy reform that focuses on prevention and harm reduction education, provides accessible treatment opportunities, and reduces incarcerations, crime, drug use by minors, and strains on the judicial system and police departments while increasing the resources available for health care and treatment. Go to regulatemarijuana.org today and learn how you can help support The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 in Colorado!
Brian Vicente is a partner at Vicente Consulting, a law firm that provides legal solutions for the medical marijuana community. He also serves as executive director of Sensible Colorado, the state’s leading non-profit working for medical marijuana patients and caregivers. He is the chairman of the Denver Mayor’s Marijuana Policy Review Panel, serves on the Colorado Department of Revenue Medical Marijuana Oversight Panel, and coordinates the Colorado Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project. He was awarded the prestigious Gideon award for his free speech advocacy during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and was selected as “Freedom Fighter of the Month” by High Times magazine in 2007.
Joanne Naughton from LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition also joins our show tonight straight from the marijuana arrest capital of the world, New York City! Joanne Naughton was a member of the New York Police Department for over 20 years, starting as a police officer and retiring a lieutenant in 1987. She worked in the narcotics bureau making undercover street-level buys for three years. As an attorney, she witnessed the drug war from the defendant side, representing indigent defendants for the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan.
Like most law enforcers, Joanne started out believing that the war on drugs was the ethical and moral solution to drug problems. But she began to have doubts when she heard about the “biggest drug busts” and “huge hauls” of drugs confiscated when the newest drug kingpin was arrested, over and over. These busts never seemed to lead to any reduction in drug trafficking or use. “It slowly dawned on me,” she says, “that if the drug laws were working, we wouldn’t be continually hearing about these big drug busts.” She realized that punitive drug laws are ineffective and lead to a colossal waste of lives and resources, not only in the US but around the world.
Joanne says she can understand the mistaken good intentions of some prohibition supporters who believe that prohibition prevents or reduces drug use by children and teenagers. But the data shows the opposite – decriminalization in countries like Portugal and the Netherlands has led to adolescent drug use at far lower rates than those in the United States. Joanne explains, “The very fact that drug use is illegal gives drugs a mystique for many young people, makes them cool, makes using drugs alluringly dangerous and, therefore, attractive.” Legalizing makes them ordinary and less “cool.” A small number of people will always use drugs regardless of the law, but regulating drugs can minimize the harm they cause. “Alcohol addiction is a problem for many people, yet banning alcohol made it worse,” Joanne points out.
Joanne has spent a lifetime as a public servant in criminal justice. While an NYPD officer, she was involved in developing the first sex crimes unit in the country, a model that was widely replicated. In 1997 she ran for district attorney of Westchester County, New York. She received her BA and JD from Fordham University. Currently, she is a member of the faculty at Mercy College, where she teaches criminal justice full-time.
Beyond Sativa and Indica with Matthew Cote, Executive Editor of Cannabis Times Magazine and co-creator of IStrainGuide is also back this week. This week Matthew will discuss the problem with the Dichotomy within the Cannabis movement between medical marijuana and the social acceptance of the recreational use of marijuana.