Marijuana, Drug Policy Alliance and Tony Newman discussed on Drugs and Stuff

Drugs and Stuff


Welcome to drugs and stop a podcast from the drug policy Alliance. And now you're hosts, Tommy McDonald's in Rosenfeld. Hey, everybody. Welcome back yet to another episode of drugs in stuff. You know, what you signed up for this is drugs and stuff. This is a place where smart people talk about drugs. I got my tag team partner, Derek, rose, and fell in the House. What up Derrick back in the saddle 2018. Hello, everyone. Special guest friend of the show also joining us t- babes has finally Mike while me at Cyangugu started off a man. You know, we we we we come straight from the hip here. Uh, let me give you the background Antoni Newman Ari quick second. Had it ever heard that? As the you know, young and young and Newman's got many, many, many, many nicknames that go way, way back because he's got many, many, many friendships, and he has much, much, much success. So Tony Newman is the director, longtime, director of media relations, drug policy Alliance, Many stripes, many strikes that have been well earned and well-deserved. All the rumors the you've heard or true. Uh, Newman is that guy Newman. Why take a on Come drugs and stuff, you know fuck what us was going on now it's it's hard to get on. I know a lot of people are jockeying to get on this, uh, the podcast, and I wanted to say, Congratulations, Tom, Derek, I love the episodes. I-it's done incredible shows. And uh, it's an honor to be here with you guys. Now for real Weise's Why were organi club episode deep Now showed up uh, you know, Like I said, you got a lot of yet. He's heavy hitters, former professional football player, Marvin Washington cells in the New York Times today. His lawsuit are going after sessions made big New York Times news. Uh, Congressman Roque Connor, who you had on recently, Also making big news with the marijuana Justice Act. Marijuana, legalization, uh, the looks at racial justice in in repairing the harm to the drug war. So you got all these movers and shakers You know, takes me a couple months to to work my way in here, but it's good to be here. Our barracks are now he just reminded us why he does it because he does a ship better than we do while Look at that news update's like in our right off the K. So, but this is this is what Newman does you know? His uh, his nickname for a long time was T news, You know, because he brings you the news and he's gotten drug policy into the news back when people were laughing at the thought of people talking seriously about drugs Newman made it mainstream. He got reporters to take us seriously. They stopped hanging up in our face and they started taking our phone calls and now Newman's get his phone. Blown up, Um, you know, in That's not the testament to the success that you had, you know, over the years. Um, I mean, I don't want to turn this into a Tony Newman. This is your life articulate interview, but. Shift some wisdom with folks in in high, you've seen the the frame of drug policy change over the years. I mean, you know, you've been in the game for while you me both, You know, we got a lot of stripes. What's what's change for you actually? March 1st Coming up on May eighteen year anniversary at the drug policy Alliance. And so, you know, I'm a lot rounder and greyer than when I first started. But uh, it has been amazing to see, um, how much has changed, you know when I first started There is a thirty six percent of the people supported marijuana legalization now have well over sixty percent. I mean it's it's hard to believe a now we see open up the papers and marijuana's legal in California and all these different states in, you know, all this money is being made on stuff is happened in it seem so mainstream but it wasn't always like that. And it really was on the last twenty years of all of us, said drug policy Alliance and all our ally organizations in normal an MP and the up hundreds and hundreds of organization than folks. I really did help change. Really changed the world. I mean, it's a you know, people now it's hard to remember, but uh, you know, marijuana was illegal. I only, you know, several years ago and and so something to really be proud of their and what's really exciting Not only is now marijuana legal and you know word or you know marijuana arrests have dropped so much, which is really what this is always been about. You know, I like the smoke weed. A lot of us do, but it was never about smoking. Marijuana was about stopping arresting and ruining destroy people's lives came when we do legalize marijuana. There's a huge drop in in arrests and and you know there are still arrest win and with the smaller number of arrests that happen, other stilled incredible racial disparities. And that's something we have to keep fighting. But there is no doubt about it. These, these marijuana legalization victories. Have you know kept hundreds of thousands of people from having their lives ruined. And What's exciting now is things are at a whole new level were not only just talking about legalizing marijuana. We're talking about repairing the harms from the war on on. Sarah wanted people use the work at a California when a California legalize marijuana to have written into the law expunged Minson people clearing their records, Uh, wiping away, you know, the Skaardal letter on the wreckers people, uh, you know, the tax money going to, you know, help our communities was harmed by the war on drugs. That's, you know, that's revolutionary. And it's it's because of the work of of so many people, uh, who were both at organization listening to this podcast that that's the case and just kind of inspire people. Now the lawn California took into account the expunged NSA, our colleagues UNICE's Hernandez Rodney up in Northern California. So many of our California's Stop. They've been holding these fair so that people can get the records expunged, and they've been helping thousands of people, but they're literally a million people in California could get the record clear. And so they are having these, uh, fares in in China really word of mouth in kinda getting it out there. They were doing incredible media, A stuff. You talk about the media, the LA Times. PR Washington Post all wrote about this in about how people are able to get their lives back together. Thanks to prompt 64s expunged and stuff. And then you know, from all that coverage we saw last week, the San Francisco District Attorney came out, held a major press conference with our colleague, Laura Thomas in the Bay Area and said, You know what? Forget all this bill burdensome. Putting the ownership, Ana individuals occur, the record. We're just going to wipe them way automatically. Now we're talking thousands and thousands of people overnight having their records wiped out at the from that right after that a week later, The Seattle Mayor comes out and says, we wanna do it. And then now this And I got a call from a a district attorney, um, in Colorado, and now they're looking into that. So I mean, literally not only be impacting thousands of individuals that these fares in we're now we're talking systemic stuff with whole cities are getting on board, And that's what we're trying to do. So when you talk about the evolution, the progress, not only do we have states legalize marijuana drop of arrest were trying to repair the harms in. And this is only the beginning and then you know the marijuana workers. One piece, But there's so much more that were about at the drug policy lines were trying to save people's lives. The things that we've been advocating for years, you know, harm reduction things like the lock zone to to reverse an overdose, having Good Samaritan lost the call 911 things like supervise injection facilities. When we used to talk about that, people looked at us like were crazy. Now it's a totally cities around the country. Again, in San Francisco just announced they're gonna open that open a supervisor Jackson solidity many cities are in say, So it's it's amazing to see how far we've come. But you know, we can't celebrate too much because you know the tragedy in the pain is is as deep as ever We have sixty four thousand Americans who died last year because of a drug overdose. We still have over a million people arrested every year on drug possession stuff. So we have progress. We have to celebrate that. But you know, our fight to end this vicious sick Juan drugs, uh, is nowhere close to being over. What you get all that. As a 30-second sound by right? Tom, we floored You know, it's interesting man, it's this. I mean, there's really no way to shorten it. There is no short version. I mean, this is one of those deals. You know it. I mean, I asked the question And you know, got the answer that I wanted Because I mean it's it's true So much has changed. I mean, so much progress has been made. And despite all that progress there still so much more that that you know, that needs to be done. Um, Let me back this up a little bit. You know, you talk about the use it Use minute drug policy alliance. I mean practically generation And I'm not door myself under the bus because gaming Thorn you under the bus because hella Melbourne you are. But um, what brought you to drug policy reform? Everybody has a story in terms of why they do this work. I mean, were obviously not doing this for the paycheck living the data out there on fraud street. But, um, this is work that we all want to do and dare come what you to, uh. Chime in on that too, But uh, Tony, what brought you to drug policy reform? What made you want to do this work? Yeah, You know. So I've been living in New York for the last twenty years, But uh, I'm a I'm a Californian born and raised in California. And, um, it was in the nineties Hampshire peep people may or may not Remember. California's gone through this sick. Uh, you know, three Route bullshit putting people in prison for 25 years over a third felony, it could be stealing a pizza or some low level drug offence in Pittsburgh in 25 years. Because of that stuff, we had all these prisons getting built in California. I remember email eighteen prisons got built in the time the bill one University and so is just, you know, those who was always kind of haunting to me all these people incarcerated saw And, you know, this is funny. Tommy us to squeeze known each other so long enough, you know, all these stories. But a third at all be heard it all before Sylla sows. Um, there's a guy named Michael Schellenberg ride started a PR firm in California. Again, 20-plus years ago And I was like. Michael, we have to do something on this prison issue man when people get locked up. And Michael tournament said, Tony want to how get people out of jail. You've got to change the drug laws. That's why so many people were there. Any handed me a book abide guy name a Dan bomb called smoke and mirrors anyone who has read it should definitely get it. Uh, you know, an Aegis totally blew my mind And it just kinda laid out the whole thing. And it's funny The very first page, a bombs book smoke and mirrors is a Richard Nixon's aid The same basically, you know, we had to figure out a way to go after the blocks, an anti-war protesters without looking like we're going after the blocks and just laid it out there front and center that the whole war on drugs after how to targeted certain communities and and uh, and his funny He uh, Dan Palm just a year or two ago, uh, wrote something for Harper's magazine where he retold that's that story. And it's funny when it came out Harper's Magazine, it blew up, I guess, you know logical ads in the book. But I became big front-page news and the cover story in the Daily News. News and national TV and stuff. But again, it was that book in the light bulb went off and I was like, Oh my God, We have to end this war on drugs. And uh, and I was, um, you know, I'd come across and debt some work with Ethan Nadelmann uh, at the PR firm that started and a eighteen years ago. Um, he called me up and said, were looking for a full-time media person. And I was like, I would love to apply. And it's been eighteen years. And I have to say, I'm still as passionate as I've ever been on the co. The people that we work with is is a gift. It's one of the things I am most thankful for, uh, the people that come in with every day people care about this issue in, and we work hard and we play hard. And we've been blessed enough to to see our work actually results in in change in the world and in a lot of ways in an impact and real people's lives. And uh, you know, I, I feel grateful to, to be able to spend a, you know, half my waking time doing something that I really care about. Tony relating to

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