Pot and Punishment: Dissecting Marijuana Policy, Mass-Incarceration, and Mental Health

None at Strand Bookstore

Fri, Apr 20 at 7 p.m.   |   90 minutes

This talk will explore how far (or not) we’ve come and where we must go to ultimately adopt policies that support, rather than punish and stigmatize marijuana users.

Note: This Olio will take place on the Strand's 10th floor. To attend, please enter at 826 Broadway (just next to the main store entrance on Broadway at 12th Street) and take the elevator to the 10th floor.


“We do not condemn it because it is a crime, but it is a crime because we condemn it.”
Émile Durkheim

In 2014, New York City pivoted on its marijuana policy, adopting “decriminalization” as opposed to full-scale legalization. The stated reason for the shift was to put a dent in the staggering numbers of people--mostly Black, Hispanic, and young--being funneled through the city’s criminal justice system due to use, possession or association with the greenleaf. Featured appropriately on 4/20, this talk will explore how far (or not) we’ve come and where we must go to ultimately adopt policies that support, rather than punish and stigmatize marijuana users.

We will explore a history of drug criminalization and stigmatization (both locally and nationally) that is tied to racism, anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia; delve into the linkages between marijuana use and mental health; and discuss what humane and equitable treatment can look like for individuals in communities targeted and criminalized because of the war on drugs.


This special Olio will be co-taught by Patricia Kim and Brian Lewis.

Patricia Kim received her MFA and MSW from Columbia University and teaches Comp Lit classes at Baruch College. She now works for the Mental Health Service Corps.

Brian Lewis is an adjunct professor at Eugene Lang College of the New School and Director of Programs at exalt, which works with young people in the criminal justice system.

Teacher: Olio Happy Hour
Venue: Strand Bookstore

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


A Dialogue: Buddhism and the Stoics

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Seeing the Subconscious: Mindfulness, Psychology, and the Road to Healing Racism

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Teacher: Darryl Aiken-Afam & Robin Schlenger

June 7, 2020, 7 p.m.

Regulating Business in a Capitalist Society

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lawrence Cappello

June 9, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

Escape From The City

Location: at Online

Teacher: Ted Barrow

June 10, 2020, 8 p.m.

Progressives, Radicals & Well-Meaning Liberals

Location: at Online

Teacher: Angie Beeman

June 11, 2020, 8 p.m.

Press Start to Begin: A Survey & History of Video Game Music

Location: at Online

Teacher: Whitney George

June 12, 2020, 8 p.m.

Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

Location: at Online

Teacher: Vishwa Adluri

June 14, 2020, noon

Socialism, A Day in the Life

Location: at Online

Teacher: Danny Katch

June 15, 2020, 8 p.m.

Government Action and Inaction in Response to Covid-19

Location: at Online

Teacher: Andres Bernal

June 19, 2020, 8 p.m.

Internet Omnipresence & Critical Thinking

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

June 22, 2020, 8 p.m.

New Toys and New Tyrants: Capitalism and the Rise of Platform Economics

Location: at Online

Teacher: Rob Larson

June 30, 2020, 8 p.m.


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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.