Talk show host Montel Williams shared his personal marijuana journey with attendees at the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference. Following an increase of pharmaceuticals, including opioids, he took his doctor’s advice and started using medical marijuana to treat his multiple sclerosis.
Williams was a featured speaker during the “From Prisons to Pot: Marijuana Legalization and Revisioning New York State’s Economy” workshop, according to Times Union. The workshop was sponsored by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Velmanette Montgomery.
Williams said, “Does marijuana stop pain? No. Does marijuana make it livable? Yes. Adults have the right to make a decision about what they can and cannot do. Marijuana could be the number one exit drug for opioid addiction.”
Peoples-Stokes and Montgomery agree that the legislation introduced in New York isn’t about crime, it’s about helping improve the state’s economy and helping stop the penalization of minorities that choose to use marijuana.
Letitia James, a New York City Public Advocate, said, “The social justice impact of this bill is so important.”
It is important that felons are included in the economic impact portion of the legislation, according to Peoples-Stokes.
Montgomery said, “In order to get something you have to give something.
Montgomery also said, “This is an economic development issue. This is not doing something for us without giving something back.”
Indira Walton extended a general call to action – asking those that supported the conference to contact their local officials and police chiefs to remind them that marijuana possession was decriminalized, with the consequences being a fine, almost 50 years ago in New York.