(NEW YORK, NY) – Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM-NY), the New York affiliate of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), today applauded the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and the Westchester Chiefs of Police Association for their opposition to New York’s plan to commercialize marijuana, citing significant concerns about public safety, and public health. The groups join the growing number of statewide organizations opposing Governor Cuomo’s rush to push the pot industry in the state.
The statewide association, representing over five hundred Police Chiefs, Commissioners, Superintendents and other command level police executives, raised serious concerns about impaired driving and potential for greater traffic injuries and fatalities, among its many concerns.
“The fatal consequences of drugged-driving have played out on the roads across the U.S., especially in those states that have rushed to commercialize weed,” stated Dr. Kevin Sabet, former White House advisor to President Obama and President of SAM-NY. “Statistics from states that have legalized prove that this is a growing issue, with estimates showing that a third of impaired driving incidents can be traced to marijuana.”
The Association in a letter to officials, “implored the legislature to consider the negative ramifications of legalization on public safety versus the desire of some seeking financial gain and a segment of the public that crave easier access to a potentially dangerous intoxicant.”
Additionally, costs for retraining of police officers and police dogs as well as additional personnel are projected to be significant for local governments.
“For parents like Corinne Gasper of Ohio, whose daughter, Jennifer, was on the way to work when she was hit by a marijuana-impaired driver traveling more than 80 miles an hour through a red light, or Darryl Rogers of North Carolina, whose son, Chase, was killed by a woman driving with marijuana in her system, the case against legal weed is all too real. New Yorkers have a choice – they can stand up to Big Marijuana and say no, or accept weed onto their roadways, and risk their children’s lives,” Sabet continued.
Since legalization was passed in Colorado, drugged driving rates have more than doubled going from killing roughly one person every 6.5 days to every 2.5 days. A nationwide report issued last year, found that 40 percent of driver fatalities who were tested for drugs tested positive for some form of marijuana.
One groundbreaking study found that that chronic marijuana use can impair a person’s ability to drive for up to three weeks after stopping marijuana use.
Car insurance rates have also risen in states where marijuana has been legalized.
SAM-NY, the leading voice in opposition to the governor’s effort to rush through legalized weed, is organizing people across the state to contact legislators about the realities of increased pot use including significant physical and mental health impacts on drivers and young people. The group favors decriminalization as an alternative to legalization.
“The truth about drugged-driving remains kept in the shadows, because too many people don’t understand the serious ramifications of increasing pot use among the population. Elected officials must take time to review the science and the facts, study the outcomes in states like Colorado and California and then make an informed decision. It’s time to hit the brakes on Big Pot.”