Some wary of proposed marijuana decriminalization

April 23, 2018 09:31 PM

Some are wary of a proposal to decriminalize marijuana.

Last week, Senator Charles Schumer announced his bill to remove the drug from the federal list of controlled substances, which would instead give states the power to regulate it. 

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While the bill doesn't fully legalize marijuana, police officers say it brings the drug one step closer.  Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode says it is the last thing the community needs. He says loosening the restrictions on the drug will only make the community's drug problem worse. 

"A safe society is a sober society, we'd rather see programs that promote wellness than legalize more drugs," he says, "Alcohol is legal and look at all the problems alcohol has created. Condoning another substance is not another good public policy." 

Leaders of Recovery Now New York agree. The organization helps addicts get clean and stay sober, and their executive director thinks this bill will open a new door for more drug use. 

"As a recovery addict in long-term recovery, it may not be my choice drug but if I smoke it I'm gonna go to my choice drug," says David Attridge.

The Drug Alliance Policy disputes that claim, however, citing new evidence of marijuana instead reducing the use of more harmful drugs by easing withdrawal symptoms.

Senator Schumer also is fighting for it:

"Sixty-one percent of Americans want it, but let each state decide what they want," he said, "The federal government should focus its resources not on marijuana but on opioids, crack, cocaine, and more serious drugs."

And as for the impacts on crime? Data collected by the Naitonal Incident Based Reporting System found that violent crime in Washington state has decreased since marijuana was legalized, while overall crime remained at an all-time low. Colorado's Department of Public Safety, meanwhile, also showed a 6% decrease in violent crime statewide.

Senator Schumer says he plans on introducing the legislation to the United States Senate in the coming weeks. 


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