Opposition to Legalize Marijuana
The New York State Association of PBAs, the largest police organization in New York, representing 45 police unions, opposes any legislation to legalize marijuana because of the risks and dangers it presents for the men and women of law enforcement as they perform their lawful duties protecting the public. In addition, we believe the legalization of marijuana threatens the long-term health and safety of our children, and will negatively impact traffic safety and significantly increase fatalities on our roads and highways, as statistics from other locales have shown.
Although there are many indisputable facts upon which to base our decision, we will mention just a few. The first fact is that political leaders are well aware that the opioid epidemic, which is gripping our young people, is impacting every community across the state. Despite the many opioid-related deaths, legislators seem poised to legalize marijuana knowing that it is likely a “gateway” drug which leads to the use of opioids and other heavier substances when the high from marijuana is no longer enough.
It is also an indisputable fact that innocent people will be seriously injured or killed on our roads and highways as a result of drivers operating motor vehicles under the influence of marijuana. Further, there is no definitive roadside test that can be administered by police to differentiate “impaired” from “not impaired” at an accident scene or in routine or preventative motor vehicle stops.
When considering any legislation, it is irresponsible to ignore facts; however, when it comes to legalizing marijuana, it is also reckless to ignore the facts.
Law enforcement officers affiliated with the New York State Association of PBAs wanted to be on the record in opposition to the legalization of marijuana, so at today’s meeting of the Association in Albany, after a lengthy discussion, a motion passed unanimously to oppose any such legislation.
Joint Budget Hearing
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, the New York State Association of PBAs and the Police Conference of New York together submitted testimony to the NYS Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
The committee met on that day to consider the Public Protection / General Government portion of Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget, which includes numerous, in our opinion, non-budget-related policy issues.
One of the items included in the executive budget proposal is an extensive re-vamping of the existing bail system in our state, essentially eliminating cash bail. While we readily admit that there is room for reform in New York’s judicial system, we believe that the proposal regarding bail is too all-encompassing, removes judicial discretion, and will not only cause an increase in crimes with victims, but will result in significant unfunded mandates along with significant financial burdens on the state and on local municipalities.