Last week, Democratic state Sen. Peter Harckham announced he would support the legalization of marijuana in New York.
On Tuesday, a group that's opposed the creation of a retail cannabis market in New York pushed back.
The group Smart Approaches to Marijuana held a news conference outside of his district office to urge him to reconsider.
"As a constituent of Senator Harckham, I am completely dumbfounded that he will support marijuana commercialization because he wants more money to fight drug abuse," said Russell Kamer, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine, New York Medical College. "It doesn’t make any logical sense to put more drugs into our community in order to prevent people from using drugs."
Harckham last week with Sen. Liz Krueger backed the bill on the condition revenue from the sale of cannabis products would go in part to aid substance abuse and create an addiction awareness campaign.
Harckham's support for the measure was significant given the opposition to the proposal last year from suburban lawmakers; Harckham represents a Hudson Valley Senate district.
"The commercial marijuana industry has demonstrated a routine habit of marketing its highly potent, kid-friendly products in ways that are appealing to young users and given what we know about marijuana’s effects on young users, it is hard to imagine that any revenue will outweigh the subsequent costs," said Melissa Robbins, state director for Smart Approaches to Marijuana New York (SAM New York). "What’s more, states that have legalized have seen increases in marijuana positivity rates, issues in productivity, and some have even begun to force employers to hire candidates who fail to pass drug screens. All told, this is not the way forward for New York."