Sheriffs, health officials voice concerns about legalizing pot

February 08, 2019 09:47 AM

A law enforcement group is pushing back against Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to legalize recreational marijuana in New York.

Last month, NewsChannel 13 told you about the governor's proposal. It would make New York the 11th state to legalize the drug.

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However, many sheriffs across the state say it's going to cause problems. Simply put, these sheriffs say they took an oath to serve and protect their communities, making a promise to keep them safe -- and legalizing recreational marijuana will make their communities less safe.

Nearly a dozen sheriff's joined forces in Albany, speaking out against the proposal to legalize marijuana here in New York state.

Governor Cuomo is pushing for legal pot use among adults, which in his State of the State, he announced could generate $300-million in tax revenue.

However, the sheriff's, parents and AAA advocates call marijuana a gateway drug in the midst of a jarring opioid crisis.

Fighting crime county by county, these sheriff's say legalizing pot will have a big impact on drug recognition experts known as DREs and their ability to remove impaired drivers from the road.

Albany County D.A. David Soares released the following statement:

"As the state has already decriminalized minor marijuana possession and has legalized medical use, the decision to allocate our office resources away from low level marijuana prosecutions makes sense both economically and practically.  I remain hopeful that our legislators will structure a well-thought-out and regulated industry that will re-invest revenue back into economically deprived urban and rural communities that have been crippled by the war on pot.  I also urge our lawmakers  to learn from the experiences of other states and make roadway safety a priority by investing in Drug Recognition Experts and trainings for law enforcement statewide."

Tyrone Stevens, a spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo, released the following statement:

"The Governor’s Office engaged in significant community outreach during the fall including 17 listening sessions and dozens of meetings with stakeholders and local law enforcement. We look forward to continued engagement as we refine our proposal to ensure public safety while also addressing the harm done to communities as a result of disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws."

Hear more reaction by playing the video of Jill Konopka's story.


Jill Konopka & WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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