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Medical Marijuana Advocates Press to Ease New York’s New Regs

BY NATHAN RILEY | Advocates for medical marijuana, aggravated by the narrowness of New York State’s path to date on the plan adopted into law last year, remain doggedly hopeful about the possibility of positive changes after the state health commissioner completes review of public comments. The initial regulations posted in December were deeply disappointing. Although […]

Our Common Cause Is No Myth

BY NATHAN RILEY | In “The Myth of the Gay Community,” a recent college graduate concludes that given the “diverse identities and needs” of LGBT individuals there is no “monolithic” gay community. Outside of those pushing far right fantasies about a “homosexual agenda,” few would pretend that gays could be reduced to cookie cutter sameness. But […]

AIDS Policy Shows Where de Blasio’s New York is Succeeding

BY NATHAN RILEY | I could plant a big wet kiss on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s cheek for putting Dr. Demetre Daskalakis in charge of AIDS policy. Daskalakis is a persuader, an exciting man who understands his subject. Before he became a deputy commissioner in the city health department, he led a team that visited […]

De Blasio’s Pot Reform Good Step in Long Catch-Up Game

BY NATHAN RILEY |  The city’s new marijuana policy is a good thing, but it is probably best thought of as just a chapter in a book not yet completed. Donna Lieberman cut to the nub. “New Yorkers need to know if the NYPD is finally ending its marijuana crusade” or simply “shifting tactics,” the […]

Cuomo, Teachout, and Missed Opportunities

BY NATHAN RILEY | Governor Andrew Cuomo won the hearts of the LGBT community when he marshaled the powers of his office to give New Yorkers marriage equality in the first six months of his term. Not incidentally, he won the affection and respect of many other voters. The positive reaction from queers is hardly […]

Canadian Conservatives’ Predictable Stumble on Prostitution

BY NATHAN RILEY | Once the Canadian Supreme Court overturned criminal laws surrounding prostitution last December, it was a foregone conclusion that the Parliament controlled by the Conservative Party would recriminalize it. The party has now made its proposal, which is being widely criticized for enshrining the harms the high court identified in making its historic […]

On Marijuana Busts, Still a Tale of Two Cities

BY NATHAN RILEY | New York City is still arresting black and brown youth for marijuana and leaving white youth alone. The change of mayors and a new police commissioner, William Bratton, have yielded more of the same. The number of arrests in the first three months of this year is basically the same as […]

What to Make of Heroin Deaths

BY NATHAN RILEY | Philip Seymour Hoffman’s end was no anomaly. Overdose deaths have risen dramatically in New York City and the nation. He is one among thousands. The fact that he was the object of critical accolades was also not unusual. Hoffman was a high-performing heroin user — Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, John Belushi, and […]

A Canadian Breakthrough on Sex Work Sanctions and Safety

BY NATHAN RILEY | In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has decriminalized prostitution, making that nation the second to go this route. The court’s December 20 decision relied heavily on social science data introduced into evidence that found the safety of sex workers is best protected by allowing them to conduct business in […]

From Bratton, A New Direction Needed

BY NATHAN RILEY | For Bill de Blasio and William Bratton’s NYPD to make a clean break with the troubled recent past, there must be a fundamental redefinition of the crime problem in New York City. No doubt due in large measure to the massive focus on the abuses of stop and frisk, Commissioner Ray Kelly, […]

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