Local law enforcement opposes marijuana legalization

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A number of local law enforcement agencies across Steuben and Chemung Counties stood in unison, Friday, against the road to legalizing recreational marijuana.

“I think it just speaks volumes that this many law enforcement professionals will come together in this situation or an issue like this,” Jim Allard, Steuben County Sheriff, said in a press conference. 

They want Governor Cuomo to slow the process down and hear out all sides before legalization. 

“Take time to talk to the experts, get the real data about what’s happening in other places and not just push this forward as part of the budget,” Sheriff Allard said. 

According to the officers, the most pertinent issue will be impaired drivers because marijuana is harder to detect. 

“There isn’t a device that screens somebody that’s under the influence of marijuana,” acting Chemung County Sheriff, Bill Schrom, said. “We have to rely on other means to determine that.”

Other means include Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). They are officers who can asses specific drug use on the scene. 

Currently, Chemung and Steuben Counties consists of only a handful of DRE, which takes a considerable amount of training, time and money for an officer to become one. 

Local law enforcement remains in contact with those in Colorado for aid in direction on this path to legalization. 

“It’s about the overarching effects on society, our culture, all of the unseen costs that accompany this and all the unseen health issues and financial impacts that come along with this,” Sheriff Allard said. “It doesn’t mean illegal drugs are going away.”

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