Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Health Department released a report which claims the positive effects of marijuana legalization outweigh the negatives and recommends the legalization of the drug in the state. Smart Approaches to Marijuana president and founder Dr. Kevin Sabet released the following statement:
“This recommendation is extremely concerning.The decision by the Health Department could accelerate New York becoming hostage to a massive commercialized pot industry. In the years since other states moved to liberalize their drug laws, drugged driving deaths have skyrocketed, emergency room visits have risen, and youth are using marijuana more – all of which should give New Yorkers pause.
“The simple fact is, marijuana use is connected with substance abuse disorder more than any other drug. Indeed, according to data from the National Institute of Health, 70% of today’s illicit drug users began their substance abuse with marijuana.
“The study says that legalization could encourage the use of products with lower THC content. In the real world, the marijuana industry works constantly to produce and market more and more high-potency THC products — some even registering up to 99% THC content. In legalized states such as Colorado, potency limits are continually denied by pot lobbyists.
“The report also claims that marijuana may reduce opioid deaths, but if we look at Colorado, where marijuana has been legal since 2013, opioid deaths are at an all-time high. Even further, a new study by Australian researchers published in the prominent Lancet journal found that marijuana did not reduce opioid abuse. Other research shows marijuana use can even predict opioid use.
“Not only has marijuana legalization completely failed to stem opioid deaths, fatal car crashes stemming from marijuana use have more than doubled in both Washington and Colorado.
“Finally, a recent Emerson College poll found that the majority of New Yorkers do not support the legalization of marijuana. The poll also found that minority communities overwhelmingly opposed the full legalization of marijuana. Only 22% and 24% of Latinos and African Americans, respectively, supported legalization.
“If Governor Cuomo’s administration would like to review some additional information, SAM would be happy to provide him with an in-depth analysis of five years of data from legalized states.”
“In response to the Administration’s actions, SAM and our New York affiliate, SAM New York, will be actively engaging in Albany and beyond on this front. SAM NY is working overtime to organize the resistance in New York.”