Lawmaker says road safety package is needed in New York before marijuana is legalized

Long Island Sen. Todd Kaminsky is not prepared to back the legalization of marijuana without bolstering traffic and road safety first.

“Right now I’m very concerned that we’re moving along one track with marijuana legalization and not having a comprehensive road safety package with funding for drug recognition experts, other ways to detect, education so people know it’s not safe to drive,” Kaminsky said on Tuesday.

Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor who now represents a suburban district in Nassau County, has spoke with law enforcement officials in other states where marijuana laws have loosened in recent years.

“The amount of young people who think it’s OK to drive while high is scary,” he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier in the day proposed new funding plans for mass transit in New York City, with part of the proceeds from the sale of commercialized marijuana going toward transportation.

But marijuana legalization is complicated in part by the criminal justice reform aspect of the legislation as well. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters he would prefer revenue from taxing marijuana go toward communities impacted by drug laws.

Kaminsky, meanwhile, is not ruling out ultimately backing marijuana legalization.

“I think it’s possible to do both, but we need to see that effort made,” he said.

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