State needs to amend its failed drug policies

Reading Douglas Turner’s column, “State must never allow recreational marijuana,” was like taking a trip back through time to the era of “reefer madness.” Like the architect of marijuana prohibition, Harry J. Anslinger, Turner conflates marijuana with heroin, and then jumps on the most recent, high-profile celebrity heroin overdose to crusade against marijuana and call for endless marijuana arrests. In other words, he wants more of the same failed policies that have gotten us where we are today.

Heroin and painkillers pose very real public health problems that are killing people across New York every single month, and people seeking treatment are often “waitlisted” for lack of resources. Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes’ recently introduced bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol includes a provision that would dedicate a significant portion of marijuana tax receipts to the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services for expanded treatment and prevention programs.

This seems to me to be a more reasonable and rational approach that has the added benefit of allowing police, courts and prosecutors to spend time and resources on more important tasks than finding and prosecuting adults who use marijuana.

Adam Scavone

Co-founder and Director

New York Cannabis Alliance