By Kevin Sabet February 28, 2019New York has time to avoid the mistakes by other states that made the drug legal.
The rush to legalize and commercialize marijuana has many elected officials making claims that the facts don’t back up. This unrealistic view of legal weed is the result of an orchestrated information campaign by activists and lobbyists tied to a growing industry that parallels Big Tobacco. In fact, Altria, the owner of Marlboro, has invested more than $1 billion in Big Pot. If we did our homework on what happens when you legalize today’s pot, which is many times more potent than the weed of Woodstock, we would find out that the results don’t match anything like the rosy promises made by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and industry leaders.
Looking to states that legalized pot, we see the social justice argument doesn’t hold water. African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana in Colorado and Washington. In Denver, weed stores are clustered in minority neighborhoods in much the same way that liquor stores zone- in on low-income areas.
New Yorkers looking for economic opportunity also have been falsely promised that pot will provide new jobs and give rise to new entrepreneurs. Big Marijuana, like Big Tobacco, will squeeze out small business and those who lack resources. In fact, Altria has purchased Juul, a vape-technology company. In New York, MedMen, a California-based company, operates four locations, while other multistate players that operate in the medicinal market like Curaleaf and Vireo Health, are pitching themselves as avenues to quickly bring weed to consumers.Read more: https://www.newsday.com/opinion/commentary/legalized-pot-marijuana-weed-legalization-1.27845174
Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to three U.S. presidential administrations, is president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a nonprofit.