Pot and Punishment: Dissecting Marijuana Policy, Mass-Incarceration, and Mental Health

Friday April 20: 7:00PM 8:00PM

PLEASE NOTE: This event will take place on the Strand's 10th floor. To attend, please enter at 826 Broadway (just next to the main store entrance on Broadway at 12th Street) and take the elevator to the 10th floor.

Event Admission

“We were fighting a lie in the name of a half-truth.” Richard Hilary

“We do not condemn it because it is a crime, but it is a crime because we condemn it.” Émile Durkheim

In 2014, New York City pivoted on its marijuana policy, adopting “decriminalization” as opposed to full-scale legalization. The stated reason for the shift was to put a dent in the staggering numbers of people--mostly Black, Hispanic, and young--being funneled through the city’s criminal justice system due to use, possession or association with the greenleaf. Featured appropriately on 4/20, this talk will explore how far (or not) we’ve come and where we must go to ultimately adopt policies that support, rather than punish and stigmatize marijuana users. 

We will explore a history of drug criminalization and stigmatization (both locally and nationally) that is tied to racism, anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia; delve into the linkages between marijuana use and mental health; and discuss what humane and equitable treatment can look like for individuals in communities targeted and criminalized because of the war on drugs. 

This special Olio will be co-taught by Patricia Kim and Brian Lewis. 

Patricia Kim received her MFA and MSW from Columbia University and teaches Comp Lit classes at Baruch College. She now works for the Mental Health Service Corps.

Brian Lewis is an adjunct professor at Eugene Lang College of the New School and Director of Programs at exalt, which works with young people in the criminal justice system.

Complimentary beer by our presenting partner Sixpoint Brewery.

Sixpoint’s motto is “Beer is Culture,” to highlight the human trajectory—the earliest human civilizations were founded upon the cultivation of cereal grains for making beer. Sixpoint aims to perpetually inspire the art, creativity, and collaboration generated through beer by acknowledging the history of the craft, while forging ahead to inspire culture in a modern setting.