New York Coalition Holds Press Conference Opposing Marijuana Commercialization Effort

By March 4, 2021Uncategorized

A coalition of experts on drug policy, medical professionals, prevention workers, law enforcement, and education advocates held a virtual press conference outlining their opposition to the effort to legalize marijuana in NYS.

Click here to view a recording of the press conference.

Quotes from Speakers:

Dr. Kevin Sabet, author of Smokescreen, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM New York), and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration:

“We are here to once again oppose the commercialization of today’s high potency marijuana. New York has decriminalized possession of marijuana, let’s take the time to evaluate the effect this has on our state before we open up to the marijuana industry and its investors from Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, and Big Pharma.

Kyle Belokopitsky, Executive Director of the NYS PTA:

“This is one of our top issues. A new report from California shows that young people are more likely to use marijuana if it is legalized. This report showed an 18% lifetime increase and a 23% increase in the past-month use of marijuana. As such, we were shocked that the governor’s amendments reduced the penalties for selling marijuana to a minor. This will harm our children and we will continue to oppose these measures.”

Dr. Thomas Madejski, Past President of MSSNY and Member of the Board of Trustees of the AMA:

“Cannabis use has been an ongoing discussion among the American Medical Association (AMA) and Medical Society of the state of New York (MSSNY). The AMA has affirmed a statement that cannabis is a dangerous drug, use should be discouraged, and adult-use should not be legalized. This is a powerful drug, and to create an industry that promotes this drug is legislative malpractice. The AMA opposes the legalization of marijuana. We need to say no to the addiction industry.”

Marinés Rodriguez, Regional Field Director for SAM New York:

“I was born and raised in the Bronx in the 80s and have seen one drug after the next ravage my community. If we introduce yet another drug, it will not help communities like mine. Our communities lack the resources to deal with current levels of substance abuse, we cannot afford yet another drug — especially one that is essentially being endorsed by the state government.”

Carol Christiansen, Co-Founder of Drug Crisis in our Backyard-Westchester:

“Legalization sends the wrong message to our young people. My son, who was an NYPD detective, began using marijuana and this led to him using opioids, which ultimately led to his death. Young people who use this drug do not realize the potential harm they are bringing about on themselves.”

Avery Anderson a representative of the Yonkers Community Action Program:

“It is my duty to be a voice and an advocate for youth in our state, and as such, I say no, we should not legalize marijuana in New York. We do not need any legalization of negative reinforcements of our already struggling minority communities. The legalization of marijuana is consent to lose our hope and our future. This is not a plea to take rights, but instead, it is a plea to save lives.”

Dr. Russ Kamer, Co-Founder and Medical Director, Partners In Safety:

“Last year I authored a study published in JAMA internal medicine that found increased traffic fatalities in the first 4 states to legalize marijuana. We calculated that nationwide legalization would result in about 7000 excess deaths a year. In New York, we would have 240 excess deaths a year. That might not sound like a lot compared to COVID, but it amounts to one Schoharie limo disaster every month. If marijuana is legal, what standard will we apply to safety-sensitive workers? There is no objective standard as there exists for marijuana. This should be a concern for us all.”

Sheriff Rob Maciol, Oneida County Sheriff and representative of the NYS Sheriffs’ Association:

“When you look at our neighboring states and others that have legalized marijuana, we should be learning from their mistakes and not following and repeating them. The effects on law enforcement will be enormous. The established policing practices that have been proven to keep our communities safe when it comes to drug use and impaired driving will be completely upended. Furthermore, people are so focused on a so-called “right way” to legalize marijuana, instead of focusing on should marijuana be legalized. Legalizing marijuana will make our communities less safe.”

Sheriff Craig DuMond, Delaware County Sheriff and representative of the NYS Sheriffs’ Association:

“This is a major problem we are facing. The NYS Sheriffs believe this is a bad idea and that view is based upon the lessons seen from other states. Legalized states are seeing increases in impaired driving. We have a limited number of DREs in our state and we will be behind the eight ball when it comes to this. In my entire county, I only have two DREs. Furthermore, marijuana legalization has been shown to have little negative effect on the marijuana black market, it has actually had the opposite impact. Illicit markets have grown in these states, it would also happen in New York.”


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