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KReed

County Executive Opposes Recreational Marijuana in Chemung County

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KReed    415

https://amp.democratandchronicle.com/amp/3164802002?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR028FeBNEC6M7LEVT-1V4_Asp8Ah80W5u4bbSu1ho8sbrZif8X5TxQ5yUc

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It's the same story in Chemung County, home to the city of Elmira, where County Executive Christopher Moss — the former county sheriff — said he supports an opt-out, though he said it remains to be seen if the county legislature would support it.

"I don't think the possible revenue outweighs the social issues we're going to see," he said.

I think it's a bit premature of Moss to weigh in on this without discussion among constituents and the Legislature.

It does not really seem that opting out would prevent or reduce any potential "social issues".

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Cuomo's proposal, however, would allow all counties and larger cities to prohibit marijuana growers and sellers from setting up shop within their borders, provided they pass a local law or resolution.

But it comes with a major catch: Localities only get a cut of the tax revenue if they have cultivators or marijuana shops. And residents would still be permitted to possess the drug, meaning they could purchase it in another county and bring it back to their homes.

 

If the citizens the county would be allowed to possess marijuana (which it seems they are already doing if they are so inclined), what is the benefit of prohibiting sales and cultivation in the county (and foregoing any revenue)? 

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Ann    266
Posted (edited)

Other than potential tax revenue I would ask why?  As far as any revenue, my guess is the State would keep the lion’s share of monies so again, what are the benefits of legalization?

 

Edited by Ann

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KReed    415
Posted (edited)

I think your question deserves to be answered in two different aspects…

First, there is the perspective of Cuomo’s proposal.

The linked article says that his proposal is for legalization across the state….meaning Chemung County residents could possess marijuana for recreational purposes regardless of whether the county “opts out” of legal growing and sale of it.

So I don’t see that opting out would reduce any potential “issues” of usage or possession…since that would still be legal. Residents could still buy the stuff in nearby counties. And Chemung County would still need to deal with whatever effects those purchases may result in……the only difference being that those nearby counties may benefit from whatever small portion of tax revenue that NYS allows them, and we would not.

 

On a larger perspective….I believe that prohibition, in and of itself, generally creates more danger to society than whatever substance/activity is prohibited.

I do not buy that the actual use of marijuana is any more harmful than alcohol. The behavior and actions of people who use (abuse), the effects on family, the damage to life and livelihood…..

The primary difference is “prohibition”. The black market. The criminalization of the transaction results in far more danger than the actual substance and its effects.

We know that during the time of alcohol prohibition….manufacturers, distributors and dealers went on killing sprees to squash competition. Just like drug gangs do today.

We certainly still see lives decimated by alcoholism.  Spousal and child abuse. Loss of jobs and potential.

But, we don’t see the Patron Family declaring war on Jose Quervo these days. We do not see wholesale murdering of craft beer makers by the Sam Adams cartel. 

That crap stopped with the repeal of Prohibition. And I believe we would see pot dealer crimes go away if marijuana sales are legal.

Edited by KReed

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Ann    266

Will have to see how it plays out over time if legalized.

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Chris    910
On 3/16/2019 at 3:35 PM, KReed said:

And I believe we would see pot dealer crimes go away if marijuana sales are legal.

I agree. And furthermore, you're freeing up the legal system and courts to go after the hardcore stuff like heroin and meth. 

And no, I don't buy the "Marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs" theory.

People who want to smoke pot will, whether it's legal or not. I don't see a huge crush of people flocking to buy a bong because it's suddenly legal. 

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Spiff    75
1 hour ago, Chris said:

I agree. And furthermore, you're freeing up the legal system and courts to go after the hardcore stuff like heroin and meth. 

And no, I don't buy the "Marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs" theory.

People who want to smoke pot will, whether it's legal or not. I don't see a huge crush of people flocking to buy a bong because it's suddenly legal. 

Actually NYS Health Department found that Cigarettes and Alcohol are more of a gateway drug than pot. You wont see the "Black Market" sales hurt by the legalization if anything your friendly neighborhood dope dealer is gonna be cheaper because he wont be charging tax.  

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KReed    415
8 hours ago, Chris said:

People who want to smoke pot will, whether it's legal or not. I don't see a huge crush of people flocking to buy a bong because it's suddenly legal. 

Just as people who wanted to drink alcohol did during Prohibition. 

And, like alcohol, some partake in moderation while others face varying degrees of problems (from losing jobs or relationships, to long term health issues to deadly behavior).

I just can't conclude that alcohol is better or safer simply because it's legal now or because it happens to be my drug of choice. 

8 hours ago, Chris said:

And no, I don't buy the "Marijuana is a gateway to harder drugs" theory.

 

7 hours ago, Spiff said:

Actually NYS Health Department found that Cigarettes and Alcohol are more of a gateway drug than pot.

Agree with you both.....and the NIH has suggested that marijuana may actually be an effective gateway back from more dangerous drug use:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6135562/

Quote

 In this article, we review emerging evidence that suggests that cannabis may play a role in ameliorating the impact of OUD [opioid use disorder]). Herein, we highlight knowledge gaps and discuss cannabis' potential to prevent opioid misuse (as an analgesic alternative), alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms, and decrease the likelihood of relapse.

 

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Chris    910
41 minutes ago, KReed said:

And, like alcohol, some partake in moderation while others face varying degrees of problems (from losing jobs or relationships, to long term health issues to deadly behavior).

I just can't conclude that alcohol is better or safer simply because it's legal now or because it happens to be my drug of choice. 

I bet someone could make an argument that alcohol, being more socially acceptable and more readily consumed, is actually more dangerous. 

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Chris    910

I've moved this here with the idea that there can be more discussion both on our part as well as local officials. Better than starting a wholeness thread. 

 

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Chris    910
On 3/19/2019 at 10:42 AM, Spiff said:

Actually NYS Health Department found that Cigarettes and Alcohol are more of a gateway drug than pot. You wont see the "Black Market" sales hurt by the legalization if anything your friendly neighborhood dope dealer is gonna be cheaper because he wont be charging tax.  

You know what the biggest and perhaps most deadly "gateway drug" have been? 

Percocet, Dilaudid, and other prescription opioids that have, until the last year or so, been handed out like candy when Motrin would suffice. Then when the legal supply is cut off, they turn to getting them from a friend, stealing them, getting them on the street, or whatever. Which turns to eventually needing something stronger: heroin. 

Meanwhile, as KReed mentioned above, cannabis can in many cases help with issues such as chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and other medical issues that people were previously chugging pills for. I've seen it first hand when I worked in primary care. 

 

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Ann    266

Hubby and I were talking about this subject this morning.  If legalized, there will still be employers who require random drug testing.  What happens then?

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KReed    415

That's a good question that my brother and I talked about when Colorado first legalized it.

To the best of my knowledge, existing tests that LEO & employers have used for decades to detect THC have a pretty broad time range. I've heard anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks after someone indulges they will test 'positive'. When it has been completely illegal, it didn't matter if they were still high or not because they were still on the wrong side of zero tolerance. But something that long range can't accurately determine if someone is driving or working while impaired (unlike alcohol tests that show real time blood alcohol levels).

My brother was certain that as is becomes legal....it will create a demand and the private sector will throw money into developing a better test to meet the demand. I do tend to agree with him that market will create a demand that some capitalist will be more than happy to fill.

However, no better testing has been introduced more than 5 years after the first states legalized, and well over half of our states (including NY) have legalized it for medical Rx. I think the federal "Schedule 1" ban is preventing companies from research and development. 

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Johnny Go    156

Drug testing for legal substances is an issue when it comes to legalization of THC.  Some tests, such as hair testing, can show positive for months.

What people in Colorado have come to accept is that employers can decide whether they will hire someone who tests positive from recreational use.  Many employers, actually their insurance companies, do not accept recreational users for employment.  I think this also applies to medical users as well, since as you pointed out, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.  There is a level of liability that comes with accepting someone who tested positive for illegal substances at the time of employment.

As far as medical exceptions, sure, depending on the job.  Someone who has a prescription for an opiate might not be disqualified from employment based on legal use.  They will still be denied work at jobs where drug use can impact the safety of the person and those around them.  You can not legally operate an automobile while on prescription opiates.

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Spiff    75
On 5/19/2019 at 9:45 AM, Chris said:

You know what the biggest and perhaps most deadly "gateway drug" have been? 

Percocet, Dilaudid, and other prescription opioids that have, until the last year or so, been handed out like candy when Motrin would suffice. Then when the legal supply is cut off, they turn to getting them from a friend, stealing them, getting them on the street, or whatever. Which turns to eventually needing something stronger: heroin. 

Meanwhile, as KReed mentioned above, cannabis can in many cases help with issues such as chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and other medical issues that people were previously chugging pills for. I've seen it first hand when I worked in primary care. 

 

That is very true and unfortunately most of the time the heroin is cheaper than the pills they get hooked on.

I don't believe legalization will be seen in NY anytime this year.  It went from supposedly the first 100 days in office after it missed that it was pushed off till June. Now they are saying it wont happen in June either.

As far as testing goes employers should still screen employees to protect themselves and the other employees.

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Chris    910
1 hour ago, Spiff said:

As far as testing goes employers should still screen employees to protect themselves and the other employees.

And they will. There's no way many companies will allow their employees to test positive, including my own employer. That includes CBD oil. A positive test is a positive, simple as that. 

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The question of whether Chemung County officials are for it against the possession and use of recreational marijuana is irrelevant if the New York State legislature votes and Cuomo signs a bill legalizing it. 

If that happens, the question will be whether the Chemung County Legislature should pass a law prohibiting the growth, sale and distribution within our county’s borders. The argument in favor of “opting-out” of growth, sale and distribution is the attendant costs of use, i.e. law enforcement, education, treatment etc. 

However, opting-out not only eliminates any revenue stream and job growth in the cannibis industry, but also introduces a dilemma. If nearby counties - Tompkins and Broome for sure and probably Steuben - do not opt-out (i.e. allow growth, sale and distribution) people from Chemung County can simply travel there to get marijuana and bring it back here as it would still be legal to use and possess under New York state law.

I have proposed the creation of a Citizen Advisory Board and Inter-municipal Committee to study this issue. I remain undecided on how to proceed and would like as much input as possible before we make this important and impactful decision. Of course this is all dependent on legalization by Albany, but it sounds as though this will happen sometime within the next 12 months. 

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Chris    910
On 5/22/2019 at 6:55 AM, Christina Sonsire said:

The argument in favor of “opting-out” of growth, sale and distribution is the attendant costs of use, i.e. law enforcement, education, treatment etc.  

Seems to me that's a moot point since people who are going to smoke marijuana already are doing so. The greater concern needs to be focused on the drugs that are actually killing people: the opioids, both prescription and illicit.

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KReed    415
On 5/22/2019 at 6:55 AM, Christina Sonsire said:

The argument in favor of “opting-out” of growth, sale and distribution is the attendant costs of use, i.e. law enforcement, education, treatment etc. 

As Chris said, we already face the "costs of use" from illegal use.

And we'll have the same situation whether we "op out" of growing/distributing, since possessing/using would still be legal whether it's grown/purchased here ....or in Corning, Owego, Watkins Glen, etc.

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Johnny Go    156

Curious, how many overdoses result from legal opioids vs street acquired?

I would wager deaths from overdoses would decrease if controlled drugs with known strengths were to be more easily available.   Deaths would still happen, deaths occur from alcohol overdoses.  But how many people die because that latest hit they got was tampered with an "enhancer", or what they got had one or two cuts less than the normal supply chain?

We should just legalize everything.  Why does the government think they have the right to decide what I am allowed to put into my body?

Because of this, people who truly need the pain relief are being denied access "for their own good".  It's disgusting that the government thinks it knows better than doctors and their patients.

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Chris    910
1 hour ago, Johnny Go said:

Curious, how many overdoses result from legal opioids vs street acquired? 

Most, if not all, of my response to that is purely anectdotal, based on observations made in 25 years of medicine. 

More often than not the "street" opioids are prescription drugs either sold by the person they were prescribed to ( the look on their face is priceless when you tell them they need to take a piss test to confirm they're taking it ) or they're stolen and sold on the street. 

Then what happens is, the dealer runs out, but "Hey, I have this heroin you can try."

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KReed    415
6 hours ago, Chris said:

Then what happens is, the dealer runs out, but "Hey, I have this heroin you can try."

I wonder where we could find statistics on whether the ODs occur more often after they switch to test Johnny's point. 

He makes a very good point, we often hear about individual arrests that include fentanyl, additives, etc.  We know many of the addictions start with the Rx, but what do the lives end with? Mostly Oxy? Mostly heroine? Mostly opioids being mixed with elephant tranquilizer? Whenever the number of OD deaths are reported on, we never get a breakdown....we just hear "opioids".

 

We are veering way off course from growing cannabis...

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Chris    910
1 hour ago, KReed said:

We are veering way off course from growing cannabis...

Yeah, you're right. I just don't think marijuana is a "gateway drug" for the majority of users. 

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My personal concern about the broader issue of legalization (not whether to opt-out) is driving under the influence. I was a prosecutor for many years where I handled cases of driving under the influence of pot, and I now represent the family of the couple killed in a Horseheads crash last year by a driver charged with driving while impaired. Through this work I have seen firsthand that the science for proving a person is impaired by pot is shaky at best. The cases generally require other proof than sobriety and blood tests, and frequently that evidence does not exist.

I essentially have a libertarian stance regarding personal consumption of impairing substances, but I worry very much about the effect they have on drivers. Proving impairment by alcohol and other drugs is far easier than pot, and with legalization we will probably have far more high drivers. Moreover, edible cannibis can have an unexpected effect on even seasoned users, and with edibles legal and available it’s reasonable to fear people will get behind the wheel before they realize how impaired they are.

Again, this irrelevant to the opt-out question because if marijuana can be grown and purchased in nearby counties, all of these problems will be here too.

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Chris    910
11 minutes ago, Christina Sonsire said:

...and with legalization we will probably have far more high drivers. 

Do you think so? Seems to me that people who are gonna drive high are gonna do it whether or not pot is legal. 

12 minutes ago, Christina Sonsire said:

...I have seen firsthand that the science for proving a person is impaired by pot is shaky at best. 

Is this because it stay in one's system for so long, thus difficult to prove if they smoked it an hour ago or a week ago?

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It’s even more difficult. The rate of THC metabolism varies wildly depending on body weight, frequency of use, etc.

Moreover, it’s not just enough to have THC in the blood. The DA still has to prove impairment. This can almost never be shown through blood evidence alone.

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