Archive for October, 2009

Can Cory Booker Create an Urban Chic Newark?

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on October 26, 2009 by corecompany

corybooker

There was a day when only drug addicts ventured into alphabet city to cop. It was in a state of decay. People were afraid of it and for good reason.  Slowly it inched toward safety and hegemony. Eventually it crossed the river into Brooklyn.  Now Brooklyn has enjoyed a renaissance, there is even a cache with being young and living in Brooklyn, well, parts of it anyway.  Somehow, all the renewed interest in the urban lifestyle escaped Newark. Poor Newark, try as it might it remains the joke of the northeast. Even with young, dynamic, dedicated Cory Booker as mayor, Newark just can’t seem to get condos and Starbucks like many of the other formerly murderously dangerous ‘hoods in the NYC metro area. Or can it? Can Newark be chic? Could the hip skip a weekend in the Hampton’s to go to an event in Newark?

            New Jersey has had legal gaming in Atlantic City for many years. Crime can surround gambling if it is not regulated and gambling can be addictive, so how is it that New Jersey can rationalize this?  Under the Joe urban renewal plan, marijuana would be decriminalized within certain blocks in Newark. A license would be granted by the state and city to dispense Marijuana in it’s various forms. It would be taxed at $20 per $100 with a mission of funneling that money into treatment and recovery related services such as a recovery focused charter school in the Newark school district. This could be a shot in the arm for the city. It would create a sustainable economy and a ripple effect of businesses that could flourish in the city. Maybe even develop an entire complex dedicated to Hemp. Kind of like Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade or river Walk in San Antonio.  For the moment, I will wait for the current New Jersey gubernatorial election to be over and then I will get on this right away. Crazy? I would love to hear feedback.

Give Obama a Chance!

Posted in Drug Reform on October 23, 2009 by corecompany

obama

There may have been a time in America when people who held public office approached that as a service position. Trustworthy men who wanted to serve their community. Watergate changed all that, tarnishing the presidency forever.  For us hippy freak drug policy reformers, we have grown so used to living on the fringe, loaded or sober, that words of public officials doesn’t really mean all that much and we are never courted by political candidates as a voting block.  I think it is time we start listening to President Obama.  Candidate Obama clearly stated, “What I won’t be doing is using Justice department resources to circumvent state laws on the medical marijuana issue”

            Yesterday the justice department issued a statement that said, “ It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana.” So in other words, the justice department not only upheld a promise but also issued a public statement that is practical and reasonable. Why shouldn’t a doctor be able to prescribe something that can be helpful to patients? Nobody will ever be able to explain to me why a doctor can prescribe Zanax but not marijuana.

            I would say “baby steps” but I think it’s not quite a step. I think it’s that thing that babies do where they don’t really take a step, where they fall, but you know they are intending to take a step.  As reformers are we so used to being dismissed as pinko subversives, that we are willing to take anything as a victory?  Big or small, it’s a start and WAY more than any other administration has given in decades.

The Battle Continues – Legalizing Marijuana in California

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , on October 17, 2009 by corecompany

legalizing-marijuana

The debate to legalize marijuana in California is on yet again.  The state is saddled with huge budget deficits and proponents of the decriminalization movement argue that it would produce north of a billion dollars annually in tax revenue for the state.  California, land of disenfranchised misfits, has a long tradition of liberal idealism as well as arch conservatism. Remember Regan shut down the Berkeley campus and scolded the kids for acting up. This would seem to a natural reach across the aisle issue, tapping into both republican libertarianism and liberal freedom of choice.  The state already has laws on the books making marijuana “legal for medicinal purposes”. What does that mean in real terms? It means that any pot smoking doctor will write you a prescription for a hang nail, anxiety, back pain, glaucoma, whatever. The downside for some is that it labels you as a user of a substance that is “bad” or at least not approved by the government. Remember it is alcohol that does the most damage to society and the individual. The state is legitimately looking at the issue. Iconic former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, says,  “People are no longer outraged by the idea of legalization”.  Chong says, “Yea, man!” In an effort to inch toward legalization, the city of Oakland, facing no opposition voted to tax the marijuana dispensaries at the insistence of the owners of the stores themselves. It was an effort to demonstrate that this is an idea that can work. So what happened? There was an economic boom in the neighborhoods and people got high. Of course people would be getting high if the neighborhood remained in urban squalor.

            Let’s say they get this passed. What will that do to the federal law making Marijuana illegal? Will it set up a further war on drugs? Will it turn into more of a civil war? Will California finally succeed? Will people get high and eat Twinkies? Will Californians no longer swirl wine in their glasses and glibly pontificate the virtues of their perfect weather” paradise”. Is it the alcohol lobby that opposes this?  Oh, California, what are we going to do with you?

NYC Needs a Recovery High School

Posted in Education with tags , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by corecompany

This week Loft 107 hosted a fun dinner to spread the word about establishing a Recovery High School in NY for adolescents battling addiction who need a safe, structured sober environment to attend High School. Dr. Tian Dayton wrote about it on the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-tian-dayton/the-growing-problem-of-ad_b_324244.html

Teach Your Parents Well!

Posted in Education, Uncategorized on October 5, 2009 by corecompany

gossip

It’s a safe bet to say that we’ve all been in school circles and gossiped. Who was what with whom, relationship break-ups, who had a STD, whatever. The funny thing about school gossip is that it doesn’t seem to change all that much as we grow up. Now that I am the parent of a school age child, I have found that the school gossip mills are alive and well, even in adulthood. Much of this seems to go down in the parking lot at drop-off and pickup but it’s there nonetheless. I try my best to be an active participant in the day to day life of my son, which is difficult given the geographic separation and the nature of my work (for those of you who know, try scheduling an addict to do something). In any event, I was not able to attend a recent back to school night at my son’s school. Imagine my surprise when the school gossip machine revealed that there were parents that brought bottles of wine in to the classroom to enjoy at back to school night. Really? How odd!

            I guess this is harmless, there were no children present and I assume everyone is of legal age and it was just wine sipping (according to the Head of the School). However, to me it sends a message, a contradictory message confusing to youth and adding chaos to any system. Dichotomy does not support prevention, so having this kind of thing in a system is really not helping the “just say no” message infused into school systems.  So in other words, “no drinking kids unless you just need to try some Pinot Noir sitting on a tiny chair in a kindergarten class listening to the daily routine of your 5 year old”. The cynic is me takes it one step further: What if you don’t like alcohol but need to unwind after the stresses and pulls of parenthood? “Mind if I smoke some crack or some weed on campus”? Oh, wait, that’s different…..Is it?

            Of course I couldn’t just let this slide, so I inquired as to the rules of our school and specifically how it responds to drugs and alcohol on campus.  In the guidelines, written by the head of the school, for prom night it states “if we determine that someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we will immediately contact you and will ask that you come and pick him or her up.” A decent policy for young prom celebrants. Should this be system wide? Should back to school night also be intoxicant free? I will go with a resounding “yes” on that one.

Intervention – One Man Rehab

Posted in TV with tags , , on October 5, 2009 by corecompany

Here’s a link to the recent show I co-produced and appeared in on A&E tv;  Intervention- One Man Rehab: http://www.aetv.com/intervention/video/index.jsp?bcpid=1452232410&bclid=42108096001&bctid=42055432001