Although not surprised, I was sorely disappointed that the state Legislature has made the unfortunate decision to legalize recreational marijuana. For every reason given for this law, there are better alternatives. If it’s job creation, why not expand the recycling industry or production of less expensive healthy food options? If it’s unfair application of criminal codes, the current climate of scrutinizing police behavior might have been the best opportunity ever to address this issue. Laws against marijuana can’t prevent all access or use, but I have no doubt that they are a deterrent for at least part of the population.
The fact that legalization (theoretically) applies only to adults does not impress me. We’re dealing with yet another substance that literally alters the brain’s functioning. It’s ludicrous to hear defenders blithely hope that marijuana will be treated as casually as alcohol, and thus be more socially acceptable. We’ve apparently become numb to our society’s obsession with these substances. Even as people lament the opioid epidemic, they deny the risks of increased availability of alcohol, at new breweries, movie theaters and virtually every venue possible.
It’s truly sad that legislators have abandoned the health and moral high ground, instead selling out to their mercenary instincts. Likewise, the potential cannabis producers have been waiting in the wings like vultures, anticipating their piece of the pie. My only remaining hope is that New York residents will make the personal, and wise, choice to go drug-free.