Gov. Andrew Cuomo desires to legalize marijuana for recreational use this year. His support for this policy is unfortunate, as more and more people are coming forward with valid concerns about recreational marijuana.
At a recent Long Island panel discussion on marijuana, prosecutors and law enforcement officials stated that available mechanisms for testing drivers for marijuana impairment were not as reliable as the available tests for alcohol impairment. Officials also expressed concern that legalizing recreational marijuana would lead to “an uptick in drugged driving crashes, injuries and fatalities.”
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill is also concerned about the impact of marijuana legalization upon traffic safety. In addition, Commissioner O’Neill has noted that making it legal for people to grow marijuana in their homes could create fire safety issues.
The New York State Association of County Health Officials asserts that states where recreational marijuana has been legalized have seen increases in emergency room visits and traffic fatalities. The NYSACHO also states that “marijuana use significantly increases the likelihood of addiction to other drugs” and argues that it would be hypocritical for the state to legalize recreational marijuana when it discourages and regulates cigarette smoking.
Given all of these concerns (and many others), it would be wise for the Governor to reconsider his position.