Recreational Marijuana

Published on March 15th, 2021

Memorandum of Opposition

Update: Signed into Law, Chapter 92 (3/31/21)

Re: A1248 Peoples-Stokes / S854 Krueger
Recreational Marijuana

The above-referenced legislation would legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana in New York State. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly opposes this legislation.

We stand by our 2019 statement, in which we urged the legislature to reject such a plan, citing consequences from increased teenage and childhood use, impact on developing brains, natural progression to harder drug use, and increased impairment-related transportation accidents and deaths.

“Of particular concern regarding the movement toward legalization is the impact on children, and the normalization of usage that state approval encourages,” we wrote.

While the Catholic Conference statement noted the seriousness of racial disparities in enforcement of marijuana offenses, we said the state could take “appropriate measures to ensure that skin color or zip code do not result in different outcomes for the same offense.” Indeed, subsequent to the Conference statement in 2019, the state decriminalized possession and use of low levels of marijuana.

New York’s medical, education and law enforcement communities have urged the state to reject recreational marijuana legalization, and so does the New York State Catholic Conference.