Sen. Addabbo voiced his displeasure with the new Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.
By Michael V. Cusenza
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) voiced his disdain for the new, very relaxed marijuana laws that are going into effect across New York while addressing area residents during Tuesday evening’s Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic meeting.
“After reading the bill, there were just some things in it that I could not approve,” Addabbo said, noting that he was one of just three Democratic senators to vote no on the legalization legislation.
One of those concerns is that technology has not caught up with the law, so it still is extremely difficult for cops to charge someone with driving under the influence of cannabis when there is no marijuana breathalyzer to gage consumption.
“It’s impossible to know the actual intoxication level of the driver beyond the smell test,” the senator added.
According to the State Senate, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act establishes a new range of criminal penalties for unlawful possession and sale of cannabis:
The penalties for possession start as a violation for three ounces of flower or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis and escalate to a Class D felony for more than 10 pounds of flower or four pounds of concentrated cannabis.
The penalties for sale start as a violation for unlawful sale of any weight of cannabis and escalate to a Class C felony for unlawful sale of over 100 pounds of flower or concentrated cannabis.
The MRTA incorporates impairment by cannabis into the infraction of Driving While Ability Impaired, the lowest degree of Driving While Intoxicated, but otherwise does not change existing law for Driving While Intoxicated.
The MRTA allows the odor of cannabis to be used as reason to suspect that a driver is intoxicated, but prohibits using odor as a justification for searching a car for contraband.
Additionally during the meeting, civic board members and concerned area residents brought quality of life concerns to Neighborhood Coordination cops, including: the prevalence of dirt bikes and drag racing; children selling food at several intersections along Cross Bay Boulevard, and illegal dumping.