NYS Association of Chiefs of Police opposing recreational marijuana legalization

    (WHAM photo)

    Latham, N.Y. – The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police is opposing legislation which would legalize recreational marijuana in New York.

    In his Executive Budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for the legislation to be passed before the state budget on April 1.

    RELATED: Local officials and community members weigh in on legalizing recreational pot

    The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police represents more than 500 chiefs and other command-level officers across the state.

    Among their top concerns are the impact on traffic safety and the added costs for police agencies across the state.

    “New York has been making great strides in lowering traffic fatalities to the lowest numbers on record,” the organization’s president, Chief John Aresta, said in a statement released Friday. “In comparing data in Colorado (which legalized marijuana in 2013), the first year that marijuana was legalized, traffic fatalities increased 62 percent in that one year.”

    The statement continued, “It is anticipated that law enforcement would have to add approximately 650 new Drug Recognition Experts to handle the necessity of the increase in suspected impaired drivers. Most law enforcement agencies with New York State have 20 or less members. Without the appropriate funding from the state, the financial impact could be crippling to some municipalities.”

    If the legislation passes, New York would be the 11th state to legalize marijuana.

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