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