New NY report supports marijuana legalization

14 Juillet, 2018, 08:54 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Report from NY health officials calls for pot legalization

The report predicts that legalizing marijuana could reduce opioid dependency while eliminating criminal penalties that disproportionately impact minorities.

Initiated at the request of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, health officials reviewed the "health, criminal justice and public safety, economic, and educational impacts of a regulated marijuana program" in NY state.

What they could find, according to the report, is that legalization would not significantly increase the rate of marijuana use among adults and teenagers, but it would lower the amount of petty crimes charges which needlessly consume police time. It acknowledges that marijuana is less harmful than legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco, and that legalization and regulation is the best way to mitigate the harm posed by use of the drug. The report also makes an economic case that legalization will lead to a reduction in law enforcement costs, and bring jobs and tax revenues to the state.

Earlier this week, NY state announced that a new policy had already gone into effect allowing anyone prescribed an opioid to request medical marijuana instead.

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The study represents something of an about-face on marijuana policy for ny, which has lagged behind a number of its neighbors, including Vermont, Massachusetts and Canada on marijuana policy.

As of Tuesday, more than 62,000 people signed up for the state's medical marijuana program. But he has softened his stance amid pressure from legalization supporters, including his Democratic primary opponent, "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon.

"Now that the report has been released and its conclusions presented, we are hopeful that the governor and the Legislature can shift from the "if" to examining the "how" to legalize marijuana", Chris Alexander, policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. Were the state to legalize, that could translate into $677.7 million in taxes from the 10 percent of residents who already use it illegally - and likely some more. Federal Bureau of Investigation crime statistics show that each year there are almost 16 marijuana possession arrests for every 1,000 marijuana users in the state, putting NY in the middle of the pack on users' likelihood of getting arrested. "It has become less a question of whether to legalize but how to do so responsibly", the authors write.

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