A group of concerned New Yorkers gathered in front of NYS Senator Pete Harckham’s District Office to host a press conference urging Senator Harckham to join the majority of public health and safety organizations in NYS and oppose the passage of any bill creating a commercial marijuana industry in New York.
This gathering, led by constituents of Senator Harckham, was held in response to the senator’s announcement that he would be supporting NYS Senator Liz Krueger’s bill to legalize a commercial marijuana industry in the state.
“As a constituent of Senator Harckham, I am completely dumbfounded that he will support marijuana commercialization because he wants more money to fight drug abuse,” said Dr. Russ Kamer, co-founder and Medical Director for Partners in Safety. “It doesn’t make any logical sense to put more drugs into our community in order to prevent people from using drugs.”
“Marijuana legalization would make our communities less safe and our law enforcement officers are not ready to handle the consequences,” said Chief Paul Oliva, Police Chief for the town of Mount Pleasant, New York. “As it stands, there is no roadside test to determine impairment levels in marijuana users who get behind the wheel, and we know from states that legalized marijuana that this is a real problem.”
“The commercial marijuana industry has demonstrated a routine habit of marketing its highly potent, kid-friendly products in ways that are appealing to young users and given what we know about marijuana’s effects on young users, it is hard to imagine that any revenue will outweigh the subsequent costs,” said Melissa Robbins, State Director for Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM New York). “What’s more, states that have legalized have seen increases in marijuana positivity rates, issues in productivity, and some have even begun to force employers to hire candidates who fail to pass drug screens. All told, this is not the way forward for New York.”