Opponents of legalizing marijuana in New York made a last minute pitch to derail an agreement reached between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to allow the sale of the drug to adults for recreational purposes.
The school officials and law enforcement groups say legalizing cannabis will lead to more underaged teens and children using the drug, and could also cause more traffic accidents and potentially deaths.
Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA, has a son in 6th grade. She said opponents are talking to lawmakers to try to convince them to vote no when the bill comes to the floor as early as Tuesday afternoon.
“I say to our legislators ‘if you vote yes on this legislation, you are voting to harm my child,’” Belokopitsky said.
Patrick Phelan, with the Police Chief’s association, said there is no reliable roadside test for marijuana impairment, and no agreed upon scientific standard for measuring intoxication from cannabis. He predicts there will be more traffic accidents causing injuries and fatalities.
“I know that people are going to get in traffic crashes and they are going to die, and that’s what I am legitimately concerned about,” Phelan said. “I’m not just some old guy railing against the legalization of marijuana.”
They said if they are not successful, they will try to get the law repealed, and will work with local governments to try to pass a referendum to allow municipalities to opt out of the state’s legalization laws.