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Tompkins County Legislature Meeting: 11/20/18 05:30 PM

Governor Daniel D. Tompkins Building Department: Public Safety Committee

Ithaca, NY 14850 Category: Legislation or Funding - State and Federal
Functional Category: Health Related, Public Safety


1 Resolution in Support of Marijuana Legalization in New York State

2 (Pending Health and Human Services Committee action 11-16-18)
3 WHEREAS, since the drug war was initiated in the 1970s, over $1 trillion has been spent nationally enforcing
4 drug laws, including those pertaining to marijuana, and
6 WHEREAS, the existing drug laws have contributed significantly to the mass incarceration of two million
7 American citizens which represents the highest imprisonment rate of any nation and 25% of the world’s prisoners, and
9 WHEREAS, marijuana is the most widely used illicit substance and marijuana possession is the most
10 commonly charged drug offense; accounting each year for over 600,000 Americans who are arrested, imprisoned,
11 fined, or otherwise criminalized and stigmatized, potentially for life, because of their use of marijuana, and
13 WHEREAS, New York State has one of the worst racial disparities in marijuana arrests in the United States,
14 with people of color being eight times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people, despite similar rates
15 of use, and
17 WHEREAS, since 1996, there have been over 800,000 low-level marijuana possession arrests in New York,
18 and
20 WHEREAS, in 2010 alone, New York State spent $675 million enforcing marijuana prohibition, and
22 WHEREAS, existing marijuana laws have been ineffective at curbing use, improving public health outcomes,
23 or increasing public safety, and
25 WHEREAS, the American public, at 93%, overwhelmingly supports legalizing medical marijuana and believe
26 the drug should be legal for medical uses, and
28 WHEREAS, 63% of New Yorkers support the legalization of marijuana for adult use, and
30 WHEREAS, 30 states and the District of Columbia have broken from the federal government and allowed
31 access to marijuana for medicinal purposes, and
33 WHEREAS, nine states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and
34 Washington, and the District of Columbia, have voted to legalize marijuana for adult use, and
36 WHEREAS, the New York State Department of Health has concluded that the benefits of taxing and
37 regulating marijuana outweigh any potential negative consequences, and
39 WHEREAS, the Governor of the State of New York has accepted that conclusion and endorsed marijuana
40 legalization, and
42 WHEREAS, in parallel with the New York State initiative to develop an agricultural foundation and market
43 for industrial hemp, legalizing marijuana would spur development of marijuana-based agri-business in rural areas of
44 New York State, and
46 WHEREAS, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) S. 3040 (Krueger) / A. 3506 (Peoples-
47 Stokes) legalizes the production, distribution, and use of marijuana by removing the substance from classification as an

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Resolution (ID # 8212) Meeting of November 20, 2018

1 illicit drug under New York’s Controlled Substances Act, and

3 WHEREAS, the MRTA will provide a foundation to create a responsible and well-regulated industry for
4 adults over the age of 21, and a framework to limit youth access in ways that are unachievable under prohibition,
5 including the implementation of the following regulatory safeguards:
7  Establish, finalize, and financially support necessary infrastructure, including regulations, rules,
8 appropriate testing of infrastructure and critical staff onboarding prior to beginning of sales.
9  Align regulation of marijuana with the New York Clean Indoor Air Act which will ensure children, youth
10 and other vulnerable populations are not exposed to marijuana use or second-hand smoke. Enforcement of
11 these marijuana regulations must adequately address use in restaurants and other public spaces.
12  Align regulation of marijuana with existing tobacco laws, and advocate to reach a unified statewide
13 adoption of a Tobacco Marijuana 21 policy.
14  Include warning labels on all marijuana products to ensure consumer awareness of health dangers and
15 risks.
16  Formulate and implement specific regulations targeting edible safety, including child-resistant packaging
17 and restrictions on products which may be enticing to children.
18  Active ingredients concentration regulations, particularly those related to packaging, labeling, and testing
19 for potency, must be standardized and in place before implementation.
20  Impairment as a result of substance abuse while operating a motor vehicle must be assessed and enforced
21 based upon best available evidence.
22  Fund surveillance and research efforts to monitor the type, use, frequency of use, and potency of marijuana
23 used by New Yorkers.
24  Encourage and fund the scientific study of health effects among New Yorkers who use marijuana.
25  Fully fund enforcement and oversight, with such funding taking into account inflation and industry
26 growth.
27  Establish a financial structure that will apply the tax revenue received by New York State from the sale of
28 marijuana to these regulatory responsibilities first, before allocating revenue to other uses.
30 WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Legislature understands that use of marijuana in the state of New York has
31 unintended negative consequences for some people, including risk of dependency, possible desensitization to future
32 drug use, negative cognitive and academic effects, complicated interrelationships with mental illnesses, adverse
33 cardiac and respiratory effects, and long-term brain development impacts related to underage use, and
35 WHEREAS, the Tompkins County Legislature supports passage of the MRTA so that these unintended
36 negative consequences of marijuana use, that impact the lives of many marijuana users, may be better addressed in an
37 environment where criminal penalties are not a factor in seeking assistance, and
39 WHEREAS, the MRTA will provide an alternate approach and serve a greater public good than prohibition
40 has, by saving law enforcement resources and instead generating millions in tax revenue that could be allocated to
41 support drug treatment, detox facilities, and programming for those who experience marijuana dependency, efforts to
42 end the opioid epidemic in New York State, investment in New York’s public schools, libraries, early childhood
43 education, re-entry services, adult education programs, marijuana health effects research, public education programs,
44 community development projects, and rebuild communities that have been most harmed by marijuana prohibition’s
45 collateral consequences, and
47 WHEREAS, the MRTA will end the disproportionate enforcement of marijuana prohibition in communities of
48 color that has directly led to reduced access to advancement opportunities including the ability of an individual to get a
49 loan, get a job, go to college, or have a place to live, and
51 WHEREAS, racial justice, economic opportunity, and public health are priorities of the residents of Tompkins
52 County, now therefore be it
54 RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Public Safety and the Health and Human Services Committee, That
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Resolution (ID # 8212) Meeting of November 20, 2018

1 the Tompkins County Legislature:

2 1.Supports the bringing an end of marijuana prohibition;
3 2.Supports the creation of a diverse and inclusive marijuana industry;
4 3.Supports the reinvestment of revenue from taxed and regulated marijuana in communities that were
5 impacted by the war on drugs;
6 4.Supports the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act,
8 RESOLVED, further, That the Clerk of the Legislature send copies of this resolution to Assemblywoman
9 Barbara Lifton and State Senators James L. Seward, Pamela Helming, and Thomas F. O’Mara and request their
10 support for the passage of the legislation.

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