12 Voices in 12 Hours: Marijuana Legalization

The pros and cons discussed 6am to 6pm Monday on WBEN

October 12, 2018 - 4:00 am

12 Voices in 12 Hours - LISTEN LIVE

BUFFALO (WBEN) - On Monday, WBEN will be airing a special "12 Voices in 12 Hours" broadcast that will focus on the legalization of marijuana from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.

It is a polarizing topic and our day-long discussion will examine the pros and cons of legalization.

Last week, two local politicians, State Senator Tim Kennedy and Assemblymember Monica Wallace, spoke briefly regarding their views on marijuana, specifically from a legislative standpoint. As two Democrats, even their opinions on the subject differ from each other. 

Kennedy sounds as if his mind is already made up on the subject, while Wallace appears to still hold some reservations, especially when it comes to keeping the drug out of the hands of children.

"We're falling behind on the economic benefits, we're falling behind on the criminal justice reforms, and New York State should be a leader in all of these things," said Kennedy.

However, Wallace approached the topic with a more conservative and reserved outlook.

"We're following very closely the comments that are being made across the state," Wallace said. "I think it's an issue that we need to not rush into. We need to look to see exactly what the vast majority of people in New York want."

They aren't the only politicians who took a strong stance on the matter. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown described why he's behind the legalization movement.

"I think people are a lot more accepting," he said. "I think there are certainly people that use. I think that it's something that should not be criminalized to the extent that it is, because societal attitudes have changed."

Even health experts have weighed in. Lazlo Mechtler is the medical director at DENT, and he wants people, and especially politicians, to pump the breaks on their enthusiasm for legalizing marijuana.

"We do not want to be California or Colorado," said Mechtler. "I've gone to all of those states. That's the Wild West. What we need is something that has structure, that is physician oriented, so that physicians control it, because it's a medication. You're taking things that could affect you."

While Governor Andrew Cuomo wasn't too thrilled at the idea of legalization for a while, he's come around on it over the past several months, especially after a report suggested that the positives of legalizing in New York would outweigh the negatives. 

Republican candidate Marc Molinaro says he wants to wait and see how it works in other states before adopting it in New York.

On Monday, WBEN will have a diverse cast of politicians, as well as health and law experts, who will help break down and the lead the discussion on the important questions surrounding the legalization debate.

Below are the guests that are scheduled to appear in WBEN's special broadcast, "12 Voices in 12 Hours":

  • 6 AM - Former County Executive Joel Giambra
  • 7 AM - District Attorney John Flynn
  • 8 AM - State Senator Patrick Gallivan
  • 9 AM - State Assemblymember Angelo Morinello
  • 10 AM - President & CEO of Horizon Health Services Ann Constantino
  • 11 AM - Robin Mann, Executive Director Erie Count Council for the Prevention of Alcohol & Substance Abuse
  • 12n    -  City of Tonawanda Drug Court Judge Mark Saltarelli and Attorney Paul Cambria
  • 1 PM - University at Buffalo Associate Dean for Research Lorraine Collins Ph.D.
  • 2 PM - Kids Escaping Drugs Jodi Altman
  • 3 PM - Political Activist Larry Sharpe
  • 4 PM - DENT Medical Director Lazlo Mechtler
  • 5 PM - US Attorney JP Kennedy


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