Letter: Whoa there on legal marijuana, says UC Substance Abuse Council

The Ulster County Substance Abuse Prevention Board, along with the New York State Police Chiefs Association, the New York State Health Directors Association, New York State United Teachers and other coalitions are against legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use. Gov. Cuomo’s own Department of Health report, which ironically concludes with a recommendation to legalize, includes the following statements: 

• “There is an association between marijuana use and impairment in the cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention.” Page 6

• “Experts stated there are concerns about the effects of marijuana use on the developing brain.” Page 9


• “Adolescents who use marijuana regularly have an increased risk of developing psychosis.” Page 7

• “Estimates range from 8.9 percent to 30 percent of the population who uses marijuana will develop some form of dependence.” Page 10

• “For individuals who are susceptible to psychosis, regular use of marijuana lowers the age of onset of psychiatric disorders.” Page 7

• “There is research that demonstrates an association between maternal marijuana smoking and lower birth weight of newborns.” Page 7

In addition, the following recent facts have come to light:

• Youth use of marijuana jumped significantly after legalization in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon.

• Pot shops are clustered in low-income and minority communities in legalized states.

• Colorado has seen marijuana-related traffic deaths rise by nearly 50 percent.

Some think that legal pot won’t have consequences. Some believe that the problems seen in other states won’t happen here. They’re wrong. Young people will be harmed. Big Marijuana will continue its targeting and victimizing of low-income and minority communities. Drugged-driving incidents will escalate. Our public health and mental health crises will get worse.

We support decriminalization, which removes the criminal penalty, as a matter of social justice. But there should be no rush to pass legislation legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use when there are too many unknown consequences that could severely impact the health and well-being of New Yorkers, young and old.

Stacey Rein, Chair
Ulster County Substance Abuse Prevention Board

There are 19 comments

  1. J. Rogan

    Full of crap, none, I repeat none, of this is fact or true, not one thing in this article. It is just a skewed report, that favors what they want you to believe, however there is one hundred times the exposes’ on marijuana, that state exactly the opposite, like the part about any form of addiction with marijuana use and just about everything else printed in this letter. And, tell me where you got that Colorado tidbit of absolute false information about causing fifty percent more tragic death accidents, I call bull crap too the max on that one. Also, the legal shops in both, Colorado and Mass. are in every part of town, where they were placed, not relegated to minority communities, that whole diatribe is complete crap. In fact in Mass. the few are all in more affluent, rural communities on purpose, as too make top tax dollar, so you are very wrong there. Colorado has them in affluent ski towns, how many minorities ski in Colorado? Marijuana, has increased tourism for Colorado by one thousand percent, are all those travellers minorities? While we debate over legal pot, estimates state that, NY is loosing about 3 million in tax income a quarter, too New Yorkers buying pot in Mass., and that is just from those that live close by, and drive there. It is just about the stupidest thing NY, has ever done, not being the first to legalize pot. Oh, wait a minute, that’s right, we did it with casinos and gambling too, and after years of NY’s head up it’s butt, guess what, they finally legalized gambling, after just about everyone else and lost billions in tax revenue, in the process. Last to the party, that should be NY’s motto. Latest estimates are that approximately 80%, that’s approximately 80%, of adult New Yorkers smoke pot on a regular basis, so who do you think, that you are protecting and saving? Just think if NY was creating revenue from these pot smokers, instead of wasting money persecuting them, what we could use that money for… Drug education for teens, opiate use reduction, money too fight the opiate crisis, (which is also quite a bunch of a mixed bag of skewed facts, lumping tragic heroin and fentynal addicts with patients with chronic pain on prescription opiates by a doctor, the difference was remarkable, like night and day, however the patient was attacked first, and now must live in constant pain, due too the same skewed thinking as in this bullcrap letter. Chronic pain patients and heroin addicts are like comparing apples to baseballs, they are both round and any and all other is void of comparison. And, in fact, we have forced the chronically pained patient running to the street dealer, because they can no longer get relief from their doctor. That is all they did was cause more opiate addicts going to the street, of those with chronic pain, rather than being controlled and monitored by doctor, prescribing clean prescription opiates, as they were for decades, how ludicrous. Great job America.), using marijuana as the first line to fight opiate addiction, as it has been proven too be, the top device that helps addicts through withdrawal. It is about time too stop the attack on one of the greatest gifts too man, cannabis, and make it legal everywhere.

  2. Hariet Hunter

    RE: legalization of marijuana
    The laws that apply to alcohol should also apply to marijuana. How about comparing statistics of DWI from alcohol abuse in, say, Colorado alongside the numbers from marijuana use.
    Maternal smoking of any substance (tobacco) also results in lower birth weight.
    Maternal use of alcohol while pregnant causes physical and mental damage to the fetus while still in the womb.
    Alcohol use in developing brains (aka children) will also cause impairment, learning disabilities etc. That is why there are laws governing the use of it. Alcohol use in adults, when abused, causes all of the same negative reasons and more. But I don’t see any one closing liquor stores and making it illegal to use recreationally. In fact, there are not any positives in the alcohol use column. But medical marijuana has proven to be a godsend to many.
    The list of reasons for not legalizing and regulating marijuana is incredibly ancient thinking and just plain ignorant.

    1. Dr. Spock

      Just today, on CBS This Morning, there was a story, that Gynecologist’s around the world, and in the USA, are recommending, that pregnant mothers, with morning sickness should use marijuana, too alleviate their nausea and morning sickness effects. Because, it has been found through constant studies that, there is no known bad side effects to the baby. Now, they did not elaborate, whether said use involved “smoking” or burning of the marijuana, but there are many other forms and ways to ingest this wonderful panacea. Apparently pot is the best thing ever found to alleviate, this common, awful effect of pregnancy.

      1. Bogart

        Weed is used for chemotherapy patients to stop nausea and increase the desire to eat. It should never happen to you, though.

  3. Steve Rafalsky

    I appreciate and approve Ms. Stacey Rein’s view (of the Ulster County Substance Abuse Prevention Board), though my take differs, being spiritual.

    I lived 19 years in Woodstock, and was part of the counterculture community there. I wrote favorably about drugs occasionally—including marijuana (under the pen name, Steve Levin). Then after taking the Christian faith seriously (though born a Jew) and after some decades, I became a church planter and pastor in the Middle East (Cyprus), then back again to NYC, co-pastoring a church in Queens, NY, until I retired. My background in a nutshell.

    I give a link below to a booklet with three brief essays (in pdf) I wrote arguing that marijuana—as well as the other psychedelic substances—are what the Bible classifies as “sorcery”, which essays spell out the danger of this age-old practice of accessing the demonic realm with its “wondrous” powers and states of mind, now disguised as a “recreational activity” and also used for “medicinal purposes” (though with this latter the non-psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, CBD, may indeed be medicinally useful and safe). This aspect of marijuana—sorcery—clarifies why it can be so dangerous to our minds and souls.

    Indeed, after some fifty years the impact of the exportation of the Woodstock spirit into all the world—along with all its drug use—has profoundly affected not only the U.S. and U.K., but the world itself, and the zeitgeist, as we can see from the escalating madness and vulgarity in our present culture, from top to bottom.

    The booklet, “OUR SORCEROUS AGE – Prelude To Armageddon”, and the link to my Dropbox:

    1. Zappa

      Oh please, sorcery, ha, ha ,ha, what a load. There are a lot of you “Christian” whacko’s out there. Sorcery, now I’ve heard it all! And, you want us too believe you, wow. What are you smokin’

  4. Pricilla Mullens

    I’ve been in the pot shops of Colorado, Arizona, Washington state, Oregon, Nevada and California. They are high-class joints in upscale neighborhoods as well as middle class. none were in the ghetto, because there’s no money in the ghetto. As to legalized weed, it is harder for kids to get that way.
    Where it is not legalized, kids can get in quicker time than you can spit. Look at the Village of new paltz’s former trustee who got busted for dealing. That wouldn’t be necessary once weed is legalized. Your forgot Canada for your statistics, but then, if you can’t get out of ulster county to do field research in the United States, why would you cross the U.S. Canadian border?
    Drivers on the cell phone in a car are a lot more scary than recreational pot smokers.
    “Speak for yourself, John Alden.”
    Call me?

    1. Doubting Tom

      I have read Governor Cuomo’s assessment on the legalization and regulation of marijuana. It can be read online, and is actually easy reading. The author of this article warps every crumb that they printed. The assessment asks questions from other reports and studies, and in some, if not most, when these reports are negative against marijuana, the assessment lies in contention of those study findings. The author used some of the latter, as being part of what the assessment is saying, not the actual finding of the assessment that actually disagrees with what was printed above. In fact half of what the author writes, is nowhere to be found in this report. One part though, for instance, the part about the under twelve year olds, getting sick, was from the children getting into the adults “edible” cannabis, thinking it was candy or snacks, not unlike soap pods. Not that these kids became users of marijuana because of legalization. The study states an increase in hospital visits of under twelve year olds, but if before you had, let’s say four visits in the past, and five kids ingest edibles and got sick, that would be a marked increase of over one hundred and twenty percent. Not like it is a million kid’s. The recommendation was to change wrapping, so not to entice the children, and too educate the buyers of the dangers of leaving it in the open, and available to the kids. If you look today those numbers of children accidentally eating their parents stash, has thankfully dropped right off of the chart. It was a corrected problem, that luckily did no real, nor permanent harm too those children. The assessment disputes every claim of this author, as being cock-a-hoop, by taking short excerpts of sentences, out of context, and not showing the full assessment view. I knew a Christian pastor, once, when I gave the whole bull$h!t fools way of being born again a try, I thought a little God can’t hurt, boy was I wrong. This pastor did the same thing, picking bits and pieces from different parts of the Bible to make his born again points of his Sunday sermons. However, if one would read further, in any of these little quips of Bible verse, the whole meaning completely changed, and did not measure with “The Lord’s Word”. Funny thing the Bible actually warns the flock, of such twisted bastardization of man. This pastor was bending bits and pieces too fit his agenda, not God’s, but his and his Church’s. The author here did the same exact thing. I urge you to read the assessment yourselves, and you will see how twisted this author bent verse too fit her personal agenda, not the Governors, or the States.

  5. Nick

    “A study published today in the journal Addiction found that, on average, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state (all of which have legalized medical marijuana) had about one additional traffic death per million residents. The same effect was true for the neighboring states, probably because people drive across state lines to buy cannabis. In total, there were about 170 extra deaths in the first six months after legalization.

    Interestingly, the increase was temporary, and rates went back to normal after about a year. “

    The study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.14536

    So that “50% increase in marijuana-related deaths” cited in the above letter is complete BS. Lying does not help you appear legit: you will be caught and deemed untrustworthy.

  6. John

    Again, not one thing in that piece is true, not one. And, the sorcery thing is not either, while were at it the whole “God” thing is just man made control of weak minds. Next, he will tell you that life is a journey, with a choice of end destinations, all too make a person waste the days of their lives, however, life is a destination, not a journey, that must be lived and savoured right now, for that truly is all you and I have. If, you live for now, you will live a fuller life, and when this vessel is done, your energy will be onto another journey to the next “destination”. All journey’s of enlightenment, if successful end at the same place; Yourself. Imagine no heaven, no hell, just now. God is a concept, by which we measure our pain. I’ll say it again, God is a concept by which we measure our pain, I don’t believe in magic, I don’t believe in I-Ching, I don’t believe in Bible, I don’t believe in tarot, I don’t believe in Hitler, I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in Kennedy, I don’t believe in Buddha, I don’t believe in Mantra, I don’t believe in Gita, I don’t believe in yoga, I don’t believe in kings, I don’t believe in Zimmerman, I don’t believe in Beatle’s, I just believe in me. Yoko and me. The dream is over. Namaste.

    1. Thomas Byrom

      It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles. Then; the victory is yours. It can not be taken from you, not by angels, not by demons, heaven or hell.

  7. Johnny Appleseedsandstems.

    The head of the Judiciary Committee moved forward yesterday the national legalization of marijuana. Vote Democratic if you agree, or put in again the guy we got now if you don’t.

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