Business leaders express concerns over possibly legalizing marijuana

March 21, 2019 01:33 PM

Leaders of area business and government met on Thursday and there was only one topic on the table -- marijuana.

You'd think business leaders would be driven by the bottom line, but with the question of the possible legalization of marijuana, it appears no one there thinks this should be rushed.

"It comes down to let's believe in science, let's believe in studying and let's believe in history. Where have we made our mistakes with nicotine and alcohol and opiates and not make them again," said Carolyn Jones-Assini, MD, with Ellis Hospital.

"You can't measure impairment when you measure THC, at least not yet. As more states legalize, that's going to happen and that'll help all of us," said Kirk Lewis with Schenectady ARC.

Business leaders -- including human resource managers, met with New York State Assembly members about the potential impacts of the legalization of marijuana. Employers worry about it causing a higher rate of turnover, dealing with state and federal agencies and laws and the overall message it sends.

"I just hate to have the public think that this is a safe drug and it's not a big deal," said Assini.

For Assembly members Fahy, McDonald, Woerner, all Democrats, and Walsh, a Republican, there seems to be agreement on moving it out of a budget discussion.

"Get this out of the budget, let's give this some time," said Fahy.

"Sadly, right now at this stage of the game, that $1 has been probably taken by $2 worth of wants and needs," said McDonald.

"There's a lot to be said for let's move this out of the conversation of the budget," said Woerner.

"Why rush it? Why stick it in the budget? Why force it," said Walsh.

The Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the legalization of marijuana, neither has the Business Council. They, like so many, want a clearer picture through all the smoke.


WNYT Staff

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