Wednesday, former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced an ill-advised proposal to use marijuana legalization in New York to fund improvements to the New York City subway. A coalition opposed to legalization in the state and city of New York, Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM-NY) reacted to the statement.
“There is nothing funny about this ‘Weed-For-Rails’ program. Today’s marijuana is not Woodstock weed – it is much stronger than in the past and it produces harmful secondhand smoke effects,” said Dr. Kevin A. Sabet, a former Obama administration advisor, and head of SAM.
A long list of other public health and safety associations, including the Medical Society of the State of New York, oppose the legalization of marijuana due to its damaging effects on public health and safety. Furthermore, a new study from Colorado finds that for every dollar in pot tax revenue in Colorado, $4.50 is spent to mitigate the consequences.
“It is ironic that some want to use pot to fund fixes to public transit when numerous studies show pot legalization drives up car crashes and increases other collateral damage,” said Sabet. “With the MTA looking at a price tag of over $40 billion to fix the litany of problems with our subway system, the idea that legalizing marijuana is a solution is ridiculous.”
An Emerson College poll taken earlier this year found that more than half of New Yorkers oppose the legalization of marijuana when given the full range of options on drug policy. Moreover, 76% of New Yorkers do not support marijuana advertising, 73% do not support public use of marijuana, and 58% do not support marijuana stores in their neighborhoods.
“SAM Action and SAM New York will actively work with lawmakers to help them understand the damage marijuana legalization would cause the state through increased mental health issues, increased drugged driving, issues with second-hand smoke, and the black market,” Sabet continued. “Governor Cuomo should see through the empty promises and rhetoric of the marijuana industry and reject this dangerous policy opposed by the public health and safety advocates of New York.”