NYCOM Summit on the Legalization of Cannabis



8:45 - 9:00 a.m.
Introduction to the Issue and Purpose of the Summit
Presenters: Peter A. Baynes, NYCOM Executive Director; Mayor Gary McCarthy, City of Schenectady, NYCOM President

9:00 - 10:00 a.m. 
Overview of Governor Cuomo's Proposed Legislation
In his Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo proposed legalizing adult use cannabis and industrial hemp. This session will provide an overview of the Governor’s proposal, including the potential fiscal impact on the State and local governments. The extent of local government control in the proposal will be highlighted.
Presenters: Axel Bernabe, Assistant Counsel to Governor Cuomo for Health; Jason Starr, Assistant Special Counsel to Governor Cuomo

10:00 - 11:00 a.m. 
Law Enforcement Perspective
Law enforcement has been on the front lines in the war on drugs. While legalizing cannabis is intended to address myriad social problems, it will also present local officials with their own set of challenges. Presenters will highlight public safety officials’ concerns, including enforcement of cannabis sale and consumption laws as well as drugged driving violations.
Presenters: David Soares, Albany County District Attorney; Adam Hornick, Commander, Town of Bethlehem Police Department; and Mayor Timmy Currier, Village of Massena

11:00 - 11:45 a.m. 
Lessons Learned from Other States
New York is not blazing a new trail regarding adult use cannabis, with ten states and the District of Columbia already having legalized its use. This session will focus on what New York can learn from those states that have gone before. The presenters will highlight what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and how local governments have been impacted by adult use cannabis in their jurisdictions.
Presenters:  Sara E. Payne, Counsel, Barclay Damon; Ed Abrahams, Town Board Member, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
New York’s Local Government Perspective
The legalization of recreational marijuana would have major implications for communities across New York. This panel will address issues including the siting of dispensaries, providing for increased public safety services, the need for local impact aid, and the unintended consequences related to the black market.
Presenters: Mayor Kathy Sheehan, City of Albany, NYCOM Treasurer; Susan Sommer, General Counsel, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, City of New York

12:30 - 1:00 p.m. -- Lunch

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Economic Impact, Social Justice, and Equity
The injustice of the State’s current cannabis policies are well-documented, including inequity in the enforcement of the State’s cannabis laws. If not done right, cannabis legalization may further harm communities that are already suffering from the war on drugs. This session will highlight those issues that must be addressed in any regulatory scheme that legalizes recreational cannabis to ensure that racial bias is not perpetuated. Topics will include barriers to entry in the legal cannabis market as well as the impact legalization will have on the illicit market.
Presenters: Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director, Drug Policy Alliance; Cristina Buccola, Founder, Cristina Buccola Counsel PLLC

Updated: 2/26/19