NEW YORK – Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called for the state to decriminalize marijuana possession.
In his proposal, Cuomo wrote: “The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York state, but data consistently shows that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety.”
Steve Chassman, LCSW, CASAC (Email), with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, says he agrees incarceration isn’t the answer for dealing with marijuana users. But he also says the governor’s plan shouldn’t end with lessening the penalties for possession.
“There should be a step two to this,” he says. “What are we doing around community education and prevention around marijuana? Are there moneys going to be allotted for school-based education around the dangers of marijuana?”
Under current state law, most people caught with small amounts of marijuana for the first time receive a fine similar to a parking ticket. Gov. Cuomo’s plan would change that by completely decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug.
The governor’s proposal faces a big hurdle in the Republican-controlled state Senate. One state senator has already called the governor’s plan a “bad idea,” because he says marijuana is a gateway drug.
Eight states, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational use of marijuana.
For more than 60 years, LICADD has successfully delivered evidence-based programs designed to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction. LICADD offers crisis intervention, screenings, brief interventions, referrals to treatment and several family and parent education workshops to help Long Islanders struggling with the effects of addiction. Through our Open Arms, EAP Program, LICADD has provided targeted solution-focused support to companies all along the East Coast, serving over 60,000 employees and their families.
LICADD is Long Island’s premier non-profit agency providing life-saving alcohol and drug prevention and intervention services to at-risk children, individuals, and families across the region. With offices in Mineola, Holbrook and Riverhead, LICADD conducts evidence-based prevention programs, community outreach initiatives, and a mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents and public policy advocacy.
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