The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 31, 2021, legalized the commercial sale of marijuana in the State of New York. Now that marijuana advocates have accomplished their goal, the push is on to further liberalize New York’s drug laws.
Over the years, marijuana advocates have tended to claim that marijuana is less dangerous than other drugs. They have also emphasized the use of the drug for medical purposes. The same approaches are already being used in regard to other drugs, particularly psychedelics (drugs that alter a user’s perception of reality and cause hallucinations).
According to City & State New York, “state lawmakers have introduced legislation to decriminalize psychedelics, such as psilocybin and psilocyn, in addition to decriminalizing the possession of all controlled substances. While such legislation might have been considered unpassable previously, both drug policy experts and local politicians feel that these proposals could be adopted as early as the next legislative session based on the state’s softening stance on drugs.” City & State blithely contends that psychedelics are not addictive and not very harmful, citing a drug legalization advocate as support for its position. Washington, D.C. has already legalized hallucinogenic mushrooms, and the state of Oregon has legalized psychedelic drugs for “therapeutic purposes.” Furthermore, State Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera sponsors legislation to create “safe” sites for the injection of intravenous drugs. Bill S.2523-Rivera/A.868-Gottfried—a bill that would decriminalize syringe possession—has passed the Senate and the Assembly and awaits action by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Those who advocate for a “softening stance on drugs” often attempt to evoke compassion. Why, they ask, should government punish citizens for youthful mistakes or experimentation relating to drugs? This, however, is the wrong question. The real question is: Should those who peddle dangerous drugs be allowed to get away with it?