One of many nation’s strongest, affluent, and populous states is laying the groundwork to finish hashish prohibition.
On Friday, July 13, New York State Well being Commissioner Howard Zucker launched a 75-page Marijuana Legalization Influence Evaluation, concluding that “the optimistic results of a regulated marijuana market in [New York State] outweigh the potential damaging impacts.”
Drawing on findings from 9 different legal-cannabis states in addition to medical marijuana in 29 states, the evaluation made a couple of dozen sweeping conclusions that advance the argument for hashish regulation and taxation within the Empire State. Amongst them:
- “Marijuana regulation might generate long-term price financial savings.”
- “Adjustments in general patterns of use will not be more likely to be important.”
- “The vast majority of credible proof suggests legalization of marijuana has no or minimal impression on use by youth.”
- “Regulating marijuana reduces dangers and improves high quality management and shopper safety.”
- “There was no improve in violent crime or property crime charges round medical marijuana dispensaries.”
- “Marijuana could scale back opioid deaths and opioid prescribing.”
- “Marijuana has intrinsic well being advantages and dangers.”
- “There may be little proof that marijuana use is considerably or causally related to extra widespread psychological sicknesses (similar to mild-tomoderate despair or nervousness) or different adversarial outcomes (similar to suicide) within the normal inhabitants.”
Differing Opinions, Similar Information
New York has virtually 60,000 sufferers enrolled in its medical marijuana program who thus far have skilled simply 27 reported adversarial results and no reported deaths, Zucker discovered.
The evaluation, ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January, will act as a standard set of information lawmakers can draw from throughout a possible 2019 legalization drive within the state Legislature, stated Chris Alexander, coverage coordinator for the New York workplace of the Drug Coverage Alliance. That group labored to go decriminalization in addition to medical marijuana measures in New York, which doesn’t enable citizen initiatives.
“It refutes misinformation about what’s taking place in different authorized states with regard to underage use, visitors fatalities, psychological well being impacts, and all that stuff. The report goes to verify after we get to the purpose the place we’re prepared to speak about this, we’ve got the identical information,” he stated.
The report has historic echoes, too. New York state well being officers beneficial towards hashish prohibition within the now-prescient LaGuardia Report — which got here out in 1939, simply as prohibition was gaining velocity.
With legalization polling at greater than 60% in New York, actual reform might occur not in 5 years, however starting in January when the Legislature reconvenes.
“Subsequent yr is feeling increasingly actual,” Alexander stated.
New York State may need a $3.5 billion hashish underground market, the evaluation discovered. Legalizing the botanical drug might generate anyplace from $248 million to $667 million per yr in tax income, it concluded.
Readability on Drugged Driving
The report additionally provides some much-needed readability on the problem of drugged driving, discovering that:
“Conclusions can’t be drawn from the prevailing analysis on the impression of marijuana use on motorized vehicle visitors crashes. … Nonetheless, three years after the legalization of regulated marijuana in Colorado, motorized vehicle crash charges general weren’t statistically completely different, though this proof remains to be preliminary. … A examine evaluating motor vehicle-related fatalities in Washington and Colorado to eight related states discovered that three years after marijuana legalization, modifications in motorized vehicle fatality charges weren’t statistically completely different from these in related states with out regulated marijuana.”
The report notes that the dearth of historic information makes definitive conclusions unreliable.
“Few states collected pre-legalization baseline information to make use of as a comparator for analysis functions. States which have regulated marijuana have an lack of ability to conclusively state the function that marijuana has performed in visitors security. Knowledge from the Nationwide Freeway Transportation Administration’s Fatality Evaluation Reporting System on crashes include the caveats that they can’t be reliably in contrast throughout or inside jurisdictions or throughout years.”
And the report makes clear that having hashish byproducts in a single’s blood doesn’t make that particular person impaired.
“The Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration and the AAA Basis for Visitors Security have each made the excellence that not like alcohol, presence of THC in a person’s blood stream doesn’t equate to impairment.”
Weed Conflict A Minority Conflict
The report additionally notes hashish prohibition’s toll on the residents it’s designed to guard, notably black communities and different individuals of coloration.
“Criminalization of marijuana has not curbed marijuana use regardless of the dedication of serious legislation enforcement sources,” the report states. “Marijuana prohibition leads to disproportionate criminalization of sure racial and ethnic teams.”
9 out of 10 New York Metropolis marijuana arrests are of black and Latino people, regardless of related utilization charges amongst all races, Alexander stated.
The report appears destined to assist Cuomo proceed evolving on the problem of hashish coverage, he stated. The governor had been a pacesetter on decriminalization since 2012. However as not too long ago as final yr, he stated hashish is perhaps a gateway drug to heroin.
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon attacked Cuomo on the left for not transferring quick sufficient to unwind the conflict on weed, which Alexander stated might have pushed Cuomo to hurry up.
“He was already transferring on this subject. If something, she may need accelerated [Gov. Cuomo’s] timeline,” he stated.