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New York News

Opponents Urge NY lawmakers To Vote ‘No’ On Legal Marijuana

Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA, speaking March 29, 2021.
Karen DeWitt
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Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA, speaking March 29, 2021.

Opponents of legalizing marijuana in New York are making a last-minute pitch to derail an agreement reached between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to allow the sale of the drug to adults for recreational purposes.  The school officials and law enforcement groups say legalizing cannabis will lead to more under aged teens and children using the drug, and could also cause more traffic accidents and potentially deaths. 

Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA, has a son in 6th grade. She says opponents are talking to lawmakers to try to convince them to vote “no” when the bill comes to the floor as early as Tuesday afternoon.   

“I say to our legislators ‘if you vote ‘yes’ on this legislation, you are voting to harm my child,’” Belokopitsky said.  

Patrick Phelan, with the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, says there is no reliable roadside test for marijuana impairment, and no agreed upon scientific standard for measuring intoxication from cannabis. He predicts there will be more traffic accidents causing injuries and fatalities.  

“I know that people are going to get in traffic crashes and they are going to die, and that’s what I am legitimately concerned about,” Phelan said. “I’m not just some old guy railing against the legalization of marijuana.”  

They say if they are not successful, they will try to get the law repealed, and will work with local governments to try to pass a referendum to allow municipalities to opt out of the state’s legalization laws.  

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