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Legal Vices — One Year Later: A Community Dialogue

Legal Vices — One Year Later: A Community Dialogue
Now streaming!

The NEPR News Network will broadcast Legal Vices: One Year Later -- A Community Dialogue on Saturday, November 30, at 4:00 p.m. You can find your station here, or stream online at nepr.net.

More than 150,000 people visited MGM Springfield’s 2 million square-foot complex during its first weekend of operation in August 2018. In late November traffic backed up on I-91, news reporters descended, and long lines snaked through Northampton for the first day of legal sales of cannabis in Massachusetts.  The pros and cons of gambling and recreational marijuana were debated with fierce intensity throughout the western Mass community for years. Roughly one year later, it’s an appropriate time to explore what has happened and where we go from here.

Tune in to WGBY on Monday, November 25, for a community dialogue that will focus on the impact of the MGM Casino and legalized marijuana in western Mass. Have projected financial benefits come to pass? How have various minority communities fared? Has the social fabric of our region changed? Have there been unforeseen consequences? Host Carrie Saldo & Adam Frenier will pose these questions and more to panels of experts. Panelists include:

  • Les Bernal, National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling;
  • Dr. Rachel Volberg, Principal Investigator, Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts;
  • State Rep. Bud Williams, Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies;
  • Payton Shubrick, founder and CEO of 6 Bricks, LLC;
  • Steven Hoffman, Cannabis Control Commission Chairman;
  • Heather Warner, MPH, Collaborative for Educational Services.


“We remember there being so many viewpoints and predictions about how the MGM Casino and legalized marijuana would affect the region.” says Connecting Point Executive Producer Tony Dunne. “A year has passed, and questions remain. This primetime special is designed to deliver the facts and to provide a forum for sharing and discourse.”

Looking for more information? Visit Connecting Point for interviews about recreational marijuana and gambling and follow NEPR's newsroom coverage on marijuana and gambling.


This town hall represents the first editorial collaboration for New England Public Media, the new alliance of WGBY and New England Public Radio. The town hall will be moderated by Connecting Point host Carrie Saldo and NEPR reporter and All Things Considered host Adam Frenier. A balanced panel of experts will discuss topics raised by the audience and Connecting Point and NEPR contributors will be on hand to share insight from their own reporting.

“The role of public media—to provide trustworthy, unbiased information—has never been more important,” says New England Public Media President Martin Miller. “With television, radio, and other media platforms NEPM connects the people of western New England with the ideas and policies directly affecting their lives. That’s what this community dialogue is all about.”


Carrie Saldo (WGBY Connecting Point Host, Reporter, Producer, & Writer)

An experienced and award-winning print, broadcast and digital journalist, Carrie Saldo's years in the industry include reporting for several PBS and NPR member stations, The Berkshire Eagle and Berkshire Living Magazine. Carrie has degrees in English and Theater from Manhattanville College.

Adam Frenier (NEPR — All Things Considered Host & Reporter)

Adam joined NEPR as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician. Adam graduated from UMass Amherst in 2004 with a B.A. in History.