Many heads of police departments across New York State are against the state's intention to legalize marijuana.

The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police which represents over 500 police chiefs, commissioners, superintendents and other police executives stand in opposition of legislation that would legalize regulated marijuana in New York State, according to a press release.

"As Police Officers, we are sworn to enforce Federal, State and Municipal laws and to protect the public. Marijuana is illegal under Federal law and is classified as a “Schedule 1” drug which means that the federal government views cannabis as highly addictive with no medical value," New York State Association of Chiefs of Police President John Aresta said in a press release.

In 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo referred to marijuana as a "gateway drug." Cuomo later admitted the facts changed and he called on the New York State Department of Health to assess the impact of a regulated marijuana program in New York State

In Jan 2018, Cuomo directed the Department of Health to launch a multi-agency study to review the potential impact of regulated cannabis in New York. The study, issued last July, concluded the positives of a regulated marijuana program outweighed the negatives.

"Now we just have to put it in place, and we have to do it in a way that creates an economic opportunity for poor communities and people who paid the price, and not for rich corporations that are going to come in to make a buck. It reduces the impact of criminalization on communities of colors," Cuomo said during his State of the State address. "It will automatically seal certain cannabis-related criminal records. It implements quality control. Counties and large cities can opt out so we're not telling them what to do. It generates approximately $300 million in tax revenue and creates good union jobs that we need."

The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police is concerned legalizing marijuana will lead to increased health issues and driving deaths.

"Aside from the numerous health related issues with the use of marijuana, we are concerned with how the legalization will impact public safety. Of great concern is traffic safety. New York has been making great strides in lowering traffic fatalities to the lowest numbers on record. In comparing data in Colorado (which legalized marijuana in 2013), the first year that marijuana was legalized traffic fatalities increased 62% in that one year," Aresta said.

Gov. Cuomo is proposing the establishment of a regulated cannabis program for adults be placed in the 2020 budget.

"I must emphasize that the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police is in opposition to the legalization of marijuana," Aresta said. "I urge the State to proceed cautiously, learning from other states that have already suffered the deleterious effects of this decision, before moving forward with legalization in New York State."

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