Group of State Lawmakers Agree With Sheriffs, Against Legalizing

Group of State Lawmakers Agree With Sheriffs, Against Legalizing Pot

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"Drug driving is just as bad as alcohol driving."

Those are the words of St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells. Last week, Wells and fellow north country sheriffs Colleen O'Neill, from Jefferson County, and Mike Carpinelli, from Lewis County, joined other law enforcement across the state to speak out against legalizing recreational marijuana..

Sheriffs against legalizing pot

Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing to legalize the sale and use of pot.  The sheriffs say a study on traffic death increases in Colorado after weed was legalized there backs up their concerns.

Those concerns are shared by some state lawmakers. including 116th District Assemblyman Mark Walczyk, who is against legalizing pot as well. 

"I have a lot of concerns about the proposal as I've heard it so far," Walczyk said.

Walzcyk said one of his concerns is how law enforcement would tackle issues.

Patty Ritchie, State Senator of the 48th District, also opposes legalization of pot and said the sheriffs coming out against it shouldn't be taken lightly.

"Very seldom do you hear them have joint press releases or press conferences, especially across the entire state, so that should alone drive home the message that this is something that should really be looked at seriously," Ritchie said.

We also spoke with 117th District Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, who said New York could learn a lot from the Colorado study the sheriffs cited.

"The statistics are there. You've got a good background on what is going to happen in the state of New York," Blankenbush said.

Even though these north country lawmakers are against recreational marijuana  Blankenbush and Walczyk said they do think one day marijuana will be legal in New York. They just hope by then, their concerns are addressed.

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