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Police chief: Legalization of marijuana concerning when it comes to keeping roadways safe

News 12 was told the Legislature has a deal on legalization in New York. It appears the law enforcement piece isn't complete.

News 12 Staff

Mar 26, 2021, 3:00 AM

Updated 1,213 days ago

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The state of New York could be just days from legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana, and it's raising a lot of concern in the law enforcement community, particularly when it comes to keep our roadways safe.
Drunk driving has been a problem in New York, as it has been in every state but driving under the influence of marijuana is a whole new problem that law enforcement agencies say could put people at risk.
Critics point to Colorado, where fatal car accidents linked to marijuana use did increase after it was legalized. Proponents, however, point to the state of Washington, where it stayed level.
News 12 was told the Legislature has a deal on legalization in New York. It appears the law enforcement piece isn't complete.
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Paul Oliva says enforcing DUI laws involving marijuana is very different than alcohol.
"There's not a lot of guidance," he says. "With alcohol, .08 is the legal limit, with marijuana and THC there's no data that we have to base an arrest off of other than ability impaired."
News 12 was told companies are working on a saliva test to determine if someone has marijuana in their system and that at least initially, drivers suspected of being under the influence would be issued a citation - the equivalent of a speeding ticket - and not face a crime.


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