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

Pot to Produce

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.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Jun 19

The (Un)Enlightenment and What it Means to be Modern

Taught by Lev Moscow
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jun 20

Believing is Seeing

Taught by Briana Toole
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Jun 22

OlioHouse | Breaking Bread: An Olio Salon Dinner

Taught by Brian Lewis
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jun 23

Female Power and Desire in Shakespeare after #MeToo

Taught by Christina Katopodis
1 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15

Jun 25

The Artist in an Alternative World

Taught by Ward Regan
7:30 p.m. at Nowadays

Sign Up - $15

Jun 25

OlioTour | Federal Hall & African Burial Ground

Taught by Jamie Warren
6 p.m. at Federal Hall

Sign Up - $0

Jun 26

Jun 27

The Long History of Selfie Culture

Taught by Ted Barrow
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Jun 29

OlioHouse | Happiness & Hedonism Weekend

Taught by Skye Cleary
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jul 7

Museum Trip | 'The 80s Show' Private Tour

Taught by Charles Riley
2 p.m. at Nassau County Museum of Art

Sign Up - $20

Jul 13

OlioHouse | The Power of Ego, The Stillness of Spirit

Taught by Michael Haltenberger
2 p.m. at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Jul 25

Frida's Fragrance: Art, Scent, & Persona

Taught by Jessica Murphy
7:30 p.m. at The William Vale Hotel

Sign Up - $20

Sep 19

OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $


Find out when we launch new classes!