Top doctors don't want marijuana legalized

December 20, 2018 06:12 PM

It's likely that in a matter of months, the recreational use of marijuana will become legal in New York state but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to grow or buy it everywhere.  

"We're spending a lot of money right now on the black market and none of it is going back into the community… It's already in our communities, kids are already getting it.  When you regulate it, you take it out of the black market and you put it in a store and then you can go after the people who are giving it to kids," says Mary Kruger, president of Rochester NORML. 

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Kruger has been working for years to try and legalize marijuana in New York.  

While statewide polls show that more than 60 percent of New Yorkers support legalization, the County Health Officials of New York, do not. 

"From a health standpoint, we're very concerned. We are in the middle, as you know, of a major opioid addiction crisis and our concern is that this may be a gateway to other drugs. We know that early use in adolescents will potentially put some at risk for addiction down the road," says Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County health commissioner.  

When it comes to the argument that legalizing marijuana might help people move away from opioids, "there's no evidence for that yet, we've heard the stories and certainly, you'll hear of one or two examples of where that might be the case but from a medical evidence stand point, the jury is still out," Dr. Mendoza says.

Over objections from the top doctors in all its counties, the New York State Legislature isn't waiting. 

But while they may say yes to adult usage in private settings, the counties don't have to make it easy on users.  

In states like Colorado, while marijuana is legal to use, only 25 of the 64 counties allow growing and/or dispensaries. The state law there gives them the ability to ban or allow any weed related businesses in their municipalities. 

While it's not clear that New York legislation would emulate that, it is possible.  

News10NBC is currently taking a poll of all the county managers, mayors and town supervisors in our area to see where they stand on legalizing weed and if, given the opportunity, they would move to ban marijuana businesses from setting up shop or selling in their municipalities.  

As soon as we hear back, we'll let you know.   


Jennifer Lewke

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