In response to the New York legislature considering adult-use cannabis legalization, the New York Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is pushing back, according to a Spectrum News report. In an email sent to members, the Association expressed concerns about youth access and the effect cannabis has on the lungs.
“With the serious crisis of youth vaping and tobacco use, and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which affects the lungs, while still battling the opioid crisis, this harmful legislation is counterintuitive. Especially now.” — Excerpt from PTA letter to members
The group sent similar communications in the past when adult-use cannabis had gained momentum among New York lawmakers. In the email, the PTA asks members to join with “leading medical and public health organizations, education groups, and the law enforcement community” in opposing the legislation.
The call to action comes at a time when New York Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who has previously introduced cannabis legalization bills, believes that adult-use cannabis will be made legal in New York this legislative session. “I’m actually more confident than I have been in the past,” Peoples-Stokes told Buffalo’s WKBW.
Her optimism is notable considering that there remain deep differences between the legislature’s legalization plan and that of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
Forbes reports that while both sides have the same end goal of legalizing adult-use cannabis, they are being driven apart by different ideas about how to get there, and activists argue that the plans don’t go far enough to address social equity and social justice concerns.
“If criminal penalties exist for marijuana, those laws are not going to be enforced evenly. They’re going to be enforced disproportionately for people of color,” said Eli Northrup, policy counsel for The Bronx Defenders, in an interview with Forbes.
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