Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his proposal to legalize marijuana in the state. In response, Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM-NY) and a New York resident released the following statement:
“Marijuana legalization would enrich Big Tobacco at the expense of the health and safety of New Yorkers. We call on Governor Cuomo to slow down and listen to public health and safety associations across the state, including the Medical Society and county health officials who have spoken out against legalization.
“Commercializing marijuana has resulted in consequences the Empire State does not need, including sharp increases in marijuana-impaired driving and fatalities, thriving black markets, sustained social injustice, and increased youth use just to name a few. The increase in youth use is concerning as just today a study was released that showed just a couple joints can drastically alter a developing brain.
“No matter how many states try, pot does not bring the promised ‘windfall’ of revenue. Promised social justice equity never materializes, arrest disparities continue, and innocent people get hurt. Governor Cuomo is not acting in the best interest of our state, this will only benefit Big Marijuana and its new Big Tobacco shareholders.
Recent polling shows support for legalization among New York voters has dropped 10% since Governor Cuomo chose to push for it. Additionally, an Emerson College poll found that the majority of New York voters prefer decriminalization over legalization.
“This fight is far from over. We will be making our voices heard.”