Past Events

The New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Drugs and the Law, with support from the VCL, presents:

42 West 44th Street, New York NY
November 16, 2010, 5:30 p.m.

The federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 defines U.S. drug control. For forty years it has affected crime, public health, and the justice system, with little success: the societal harm relating to drugs continues to escalate. On this fortieth anniversary of the Controlled Substances Act, the Committee on Drugs and the Law will present an international group of experts to address key questions:

  • What can health and law enforcement officials do differently to control the supply of and demand for psychoactive substances?
  • What economic, regulatory, and social tools to control the drug markets are we not using?
  • Which currently regulated markets for potentially harmful substances or products might be adapted to control the sale and use of illicit drugs?
  • Which controls best protect young people?

The event is free.  Click here for more information and to register.


Ellis Cose, Author and Newsweek Contributing Editor


Hon. Roger Goodman, J.D., Vice Chair, House Judiciary Committee, Washington State Legislature, Kirkland, WA.
Topic: Current legislative struggles to reform drug regulation at the state level: legal, practical and ideological obstacles.

Mark Haden, M.S.W., Addiction Clinical Supervisor, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Topic: Options for regulation of drugs based on public health and human rights.

Nathan Riley, Legislative Assistant, N.Y. State Senator Joseph Galiber (1990-1993), New York, NY.
Topic: An early attempt to create a regulated market for drugs in New York State and public health crises as the primary impetus for drug law reform to date.

Steven Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, author of After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation, Bristol, England.
Topic: Existing models around the world for regulating products such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, as well as prohibited psychoactive substances.

Marc Sorini, Esq., Head of the Alcohol Regulatory and Distribution Group, McDermott Will & Emery, Washington, D.C.
Topic: The legal mechanism of alcohol regulation. (This presentation will focus exclusively on alcohol control and will take no position regarding drug law.)

Eric E. Sterling, Esq., President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, Assistant Counsel, U.S. House Judiciary Committee (1979-1989), Silver Spring, MD.
Topic: History of federal drug laws from 1914, focusing on the Controlled Substances Act and Reagan-era criminal statutes.

Marijuana and Federalism: California a Test Case
The Legal Implications of Proposition 19

If a state were to legalize cannabis, as California’s Proposition 19, or A.B. 2254, the Ammiano bill, are attempting to do, what legal tools might the federal government use to block operation of such laws?  Additional areas of law – employment law, family law, municipal law, insurance law, corrections policy – would be implicated.  What are the issues?  Please join the VCL and our panel of experts in addressing the legal and practical issues when a state legalizes cannabis.  Then stay and join us for a networking reception.



Summaries of the forum:
Marijuana and Federalism: California a Test Case, by Jesse Stout, California Correctional Crisis Blog, Aug. 22, 2010.
Prop 19 heating up debate on pot use, by Seth Hemmelgarn, The Bay Area Reporter, Aug. 19, 2010.
Lawyers Talk Legalization, And You Are There, by Jack Rikess, The Cannabis Post Blog, Aug. 9, 2010.
Blowing Smoke: Proposition 19 & Medical Marijuana, by Rick Horowitz, Probable Cause Blog, Aug. 7, 2010.

If you weren’t able to attend the forum, you can view it here.