Irvington Chief of Police Michael Cerone is against the recreational marijuana legalization in the State of New York. According to him, police chiefs, sheriffs, commissioners, and every other law enforcement official in the US are on board in asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to not legalize the use of recreational marijuana.
Earlier this year, Cuomo submitted the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act in the State Senate and Assembly. He hoped that the said bill would pass Congress by April 1. The law would allow the use of marijuana by any person over the age of 21 years, and delete criminal records of the individuals charged for using it. The Bill will also permit households to plant marijuana plants, and allow taxing cultivation and wholesale distribution that could generate about $300 million each year, within the next three years.
Cerone opposed the Governor’s plan by issuing a statement that said that the latter’s push for the legalization of marijuana would pose health and public safety concerns. The Westchester Country Chief of Police Association Executive Director stated that his organization would feel compelled to provide its opinion because its members would be dealing with the aftermath of legalizing marijuana.
The county chief cited Colorado statistics that in 2014 traffic fatalities jumped by 62% after legalizing recreational marijuana on that year. He further said that there would be an increase in deaths and injuries on the New York roadways. Moreover, adolescents would experience adverse effects because they would find it easier to have access to the gateway drug.
Cerone implored the legislature not to legalize recreational use of marijuana because of its negative ramifications on public safety. He suggested that the Congress should consider these ramifications, against the desire of some of the sectors trying to gain easy access and revenues. Cerone’s organization supported the New York State Association of Police Chiefs’ opinion and opposed the recreational marijuana legalization. In a separate statement, Cerone asserted that legalizing recreational marijuana would increase its use and would result in the rise of people driving under the influence of drugs and loss of lives.
John Barbelet, Tarrytown Chief of Police fully supported Cerone’s position. Moreover, he emphasized the need for people to differentiate between medical and recreational use of marijuana. In 2014, the legalization of medical marijuana resulted in at least 62,000 patients being certified to use it in New York.
Barbelet also used Colorado’s data which showed an increase in traffic deaths due to the use of recreational marijuana while driving. He asked how would the police enforce the law against people driving while smoking pot. According to some estimates, New York has around 650 Drug Recognition Experts who can identify drivers impaired from using marijuana on it’s roadways.
The Governor’s law would allow cities and large towns with a population of at least 100,000 to have local laws prohibiting the recreational marijuana legalization.