Orleans DA worries about traffic safety if marijuana legalized

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 February 2021 at 10:27 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone said legalizing recreational marijuana will make the roadways less safe.

ALBION – Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone is concerned the state will follow through with legalizing recreational use of marijuana, which he said will result in more accidents and fatalities on the local roadways.

Cardone said Colorado legalized marijuana and marijuana-related traffic deaths went up by three times.

“In other stats, road fatalities have more than tripled,” Cardone said in a conference call Tuesday evening with other local officials. “It’s created a tremendous amount of problems.”

The District Attorneys Association of New York expects the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to approve legalizing marijuana this year, Cardone said.

Cuomo this week said he will push to have legalization approved as part of the state budget, which is due by April 1.

Cuomo said legalization is projected to create more than 60,000 new jobs, spur $3.5 billion in economic activity while generating an estimated $350 million in tax revenue once fully implemented.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley spoke on the Tuesday conference call and said the state’s fiscal woes are putting even more pressure on state legislators and the governor to legalize marijuana. Hawley said he opposes the move and said the governor has inflated numbers on the economic benefits of legalization.

“It’s hiding in the budget bill,” Hawley said about the marijuana proposal. “It should be based on facts and figures and statistics. We’re going to do all we can to make sure this isn’t going to happen.”

Cardone said the state shouldn’t ease up on laws to generate revenue.

“I see it as selling out on our morality to balance budget, which is wrong,” Cardone said.