Legalize Cannabis in New York: Enact the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act

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Dear Members of the New York State House, Senators, and Mr. Governor Cuomo,

I'm writing this petition in the hopes that the legislature of this great state is prepared to represent the majority of the voters of this state when it comes to ending the prohibition of the cannabis flower. Over 57% of those polled support the legalization of the cannabis plant, and there is a bill in comitee "The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act",  which is being introduced in the legislative session in the hopes that our state government is prepared to end a law for which the time certainly has come, and enact new legislation which could save many lives from diseases like disorders which cause childhood seizures, protect the lives of others, and more than this – represent the people of this state accurately. But let the facts speak for themselves.

I URGE you to read the following, if only for the sake of your own education about the cannabis plant, and marijuana prohibition and use on the whole.

In New York state, the prohibition on the cannabis flower has been enforced unfairly on minorities whose communities continue to flourish and support our overall culture as a state, and as a people as one nation. Black communities are subject to the enforcement of the prohibition on cannabis flower at a rate 7 (seven) times more than that of white men and women, and Latino communities at a rate 4 (four) times more likely DESPITE young white men and women being more likely to both use and be in possession of cannabis at any given time. This results in permanent blemishes on the records of people whom without this rude introduction into the American justice system, which is now largely privatized, perhaps could have reached higher in life instead of living their lives in prison, in jail, or paying fines for a medicinal herb.

Next, lets discuss the harmful effects of marijuana. Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody (none) dies from marijuana use. People die from alcohol overdoses. There has never been a fatal marijuana overdose. The health-related costs associated with alcohol use far exceed those for marijuana use. Health-related costs for alcohol consumers are 8 (eight) times greater than those for marijuana consumers, according to an assessment recently published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal. More specifically, the annual cost of alcohol consumption is $165 per user, compared to just $20 per user for marijuana. This should not come as a surprise given the vast amount of research that shows alcohol poses far more – and more significant – health problems than marijuana. Alcohol use damages the brain. Marijuana use does not. Despite the myths we've heard throughout our lives about marijuana killing brain cells, it turns out that a growing number of studies seem to indicate that marijuana actually has neuroprotective properties. This means that it works to protect brain cells from harm. For example, one recent study found that teens who used marijuana as well as alcohol suffered significantly less damage to the white matter in their brains. Of course, what is beyond question is that alcohol damages brain cells. Alcohol use is linked to cancer. Marijuana use is not. Alcohol use is associated with a wide variety of cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, lungs, pancreas, liver and prostate. Marijuana use has not been conclusively associated with any form of cancer. In fact, one study recently contradicted the long-time government claim that marijuana use is associated with head and neck cancers. It found that marijuana use actually REDUCED the likelihood of head and neck cancers. If you are concerned about marijuana being associated with lung cancer, you may be interested in the results of the largest case-controlled study ever conducted to investigate the respiratory effects of marijuana smoking and cigarette smoking. Released in 2006, the study, conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that marijuana smoking was NOT ASSOCIATED with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Surprisingly, the researchers found that people who smoked marijuana actually had LOWER incidences of cancer compared to non-users of the drug.

Finally, lets discuss the people for whom you serve in the legislature and your offices to represent. According to recent polls, (February 2014), over 89% of those polled were in favor of medical marijuana, and 57% of those polled were in favor of ending the prohibition on marijuana. 57% is the majority opinion, the majority you have been elected to serve and adequately represent.

It is my sincere hope that you support Sen. Krueger’s legislation, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) when it is introduced into the legislative session and push it through its stagnant state in comittee. It is time to end the prohibition of this medicinal flower, end the unfair enforcement of its prohibition, and get back to enacting laws that represent the will of the majority of the people of this state.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration,

Michael Manning – Buffalo, NY.