Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the legalization of marijuana as a part of his legislative agenda for the upcoming year. In response, the leading statewide nonprofit opposed to the legalization of the drug, Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM-NY), released the following statement:
“It is unfortunate that Governor Cuomo, who has a history of being opposed to marijuana use, is now playing into the hands of Big Pot,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former Obama administration advisor and head of SAM-NY. “The list of public health and safety associations opposed to the commercialization and normalization of marijuana, including the Medical Society of the State of New York, would beg to differ with the Governor’s plan.
“If the Governor is looking for new revenue streams for the state, marijuana legalization shouldn’t even be on the table. A recent study out of Colorado found that for everyone dollar in pot tax revenue, $4.50 must be spent to mitigate the negative consequences. It is entirely disingenuous for lawmakers to rush to earmark a single dime of pot money – such as the “Weed-For-Rails” proposal – before the harms of legalization are considered.
“A study released today by the National Institutes of Health found that marijuana use among 10th graders has risen 10% and current vaping of the drug is up significantly among our youth. This is concerning given the fact that today’s marijuana has THC levels up to 50% higher than in the past, especially when vaped. Additionally, the percentage of youth who say they would use marijuana if it was legal has increased.
“SAM New York will continue actively working with our partners throughout the state and with lawmakers in Albany to oppose the agenda of Big Marijuana. Legalization of pot would cause a host of damages in our state through increased mental health issues, increased drugged driving, issues with second-hand smoke, and the black market. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy promised to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days. We have held his agenda up for close to a year, we will do the same in the Empire State.”