FALCONER – State Senator George Borrello is strengthening his call against recreational marijuana, and the dangers he says it creates, following a meeting with local law enforcement.
Borrello, who has been a vocal opponent to legislation, maintained his stance that decriminalizing marijuana under the recently passed laws was a foolish move.
“What we have is a horribly drafted piece of legislation whose main goal was to appease radical special interest and to somehow prove that New York State was the most progressive, instead of the most responsible, when it came to legalizing recreational marijuana,” commented Borrello, adding air quotes around ‘progressive’.
The State Senator has been highly vocal about how the codification surrounding marijuana usage should mirror that of alcohol, and even included examples.
“We’ve told people that we’re taking away probable cause. Right now, let’s say you get pulled over by a police officer and that police officer smells alcohol on your breath. That police officer has the probable cause to take you out of the car, to do a field sobriety test,” explained Borrello. “Now you get pulled over by a police officer, he smells marijuana in the car. That is not probable cause for him to take any action. The way the legislation is written, essentially, is that there needs to be an accident, with injury, before a police officer can take action.”
Borrello’s quips seemed to be mirrored by Town of Ellicott Police Chief William Ohnmeiss, who noted dangers he says legalization creates.
“They passed these laws and some of it really doesn’t make sense, and they don’t give us the tools to keep the people that are [consuming marijuana] safe and the general public,” said Ohnmeiss.
“There is no concern for public safety here,” furthered Borrello. “We’re talking about things that are going to cost lives.”
Furthermore, when asked about how the tax revenue that will be generated from cannabis sales may help communities, Borrello summarized studies from Long Island that had dire results.
“The costs of the law enforcement, public safety, and public health costs will far exceed whatever revenue they’d be able to generate,” said Borrello.
The Senator’s comments come just days after he met with police leaders from around the county in Falconer, hearing their concerns.
“From a law enforcement standpoint, there’s not a lot of guidance right now,” furthered Chief Ohnmeiss. “If they would have treated it exactly like alcohol, it certainly would make everyone’s job much easier.”
Others in the community are hopeful that recreational marijaua legalization will positively impact the area, including Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist who last month encouraged marijuana growers to explore the city as a location to expand their business and operation, stating the potential positive impact on the economy.
Currently, the New York State Senate is on their summer recess, however when lawmakers return, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Borrello, his colleagues, and law enforcement make a push to update the state marijuana guidelines.