Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy released the following statement on the current debate over commercializing marijuana in New York currently coming to a climax in Albany. The mental health advocate and nephew of former New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy is calling lawmakers asking them to protect communities and reject legal weed, including high-potency THC drug products favored by the Big Tobacco-backed pot industry.
“New York’s lawmakers have just a few days to show the nation they won’t be duped by Big Marijuana’s empty promises and deliberately deceptive rhetoric. Legalizing pot in New York will not lead to social justice, empowerment for minority communities, an end to the opioid crisis or mountains of revenue to close budget gaps. It will make money for a predatory industry and take lives. Despite the claims of the pot industry, the mental and physical health impacts, the real public safety concerns and the costs to taxpayers will be significant if not irreparable. I implore our elected officials not to listen to Wall Street investors and vote on the side of parents, teachers, clergy, doctors, treatment specialists and law enforcement. Don’t be duped. Get this right.“