New York state is poised to become the latest state to loosen restrictions on marijuana usage. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will reportedly announce a plan to use his executive power to allow 20 hospitals across the state to prescribe marijuana to certain patients. The governor’s surprise reversal on medical marijuana is part of a nationwide shift in drug laws. Last week, the world’s first state-licensed marijuana retail stores opened in Colorado to long lines of customers. Possession and private use of marijuana has been legal in Colorado over the past year, but it will now be legally produced and sold, as well. Around three dozen stores have been licensed to sell to customers. We speak to Gabriel Sayegh, the director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s New York policy office.
As we continue our conversation on the nationwide shift toward liberalizing drug laws, we are joined by the groundbreaking neuropsychopharmacologist Dr. Carl Hart. He is the first tenured African-American professor in the sciences at Columbia University, where he is an associate professor in the psychology and psychiatry departments. He is also a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and a research scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. However, long before he entered the hallowed halls of the Ivy League, Hart gained firsthand knowledge about drug usage while growing up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods. He recently wrote a memoir titled "High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society." In the book, he recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies.
Seattle has elected its first socialist to city office in generations. Kshama Sawant’s election to the Seattle City Council made her one of a few socialists to hold elected office in the country. Sawant is an economics teacher and former Occupy Wall Street activist who ran on a campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “The important thing about running as a socialist is, for one, to show that there is a definite openness for clear alternatives, not only to the big business parties, but the system that they represent, the capitalist system,” Sawant says. Seattle’s new mayor Ed Murray has announced plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all city employees. Meanwhile, voters in the nearby community of SeaTac recently increased the minimum wage for many local workers to $15. The vote suffered a setback when a judge ruled last month that the raise does not apply to workers at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the area’s largest employer. That ruling has been appealed. Murray and Sawant are being sworn in today with record crowds expected at City Hall.
Sign up for Our Newsletter
Get updates about the policies and topics that matter the most to you. Progressive news directly to your email.