Mayor is Not Worried about Children Inhaling Second-Hand Marijuana Smoke Under New Law

Mayor is Not Worried about Children Inhaling Second-Hand Marijuana Smoke Under New Law

 By Yehudit Garmaise

  After Rodney Harrison, the NYPD’s Chief of Department, who had been a precinct commander in Harlem, told a reporter that “the smell of marijuana smoke was a major complaint of residents who said they smell it outside their buildings or near playgrounds where their kids were playing,” she asked Mayor Bill de Blasio for his response, after his enthusiastic approval of New York state’s legalization of the drug last week.

   “[Chief Harrison] said that city and community leaders have to come up with a plan for this,” the reporter asked the mayor. “So, how are you addressing this?” 

   “That's a real concern for a lot of people, and I know parents have particular concerns,’ responded the mayor, who along with his senior health advisers, have not expressed any concern about the dangers of a city in which marijuana smokers have free reign. “Look, we have very strong laws in this city related to cigarette smoke that also relate to marijuana smoke now.

   “Every place where you're prohibited from smoking cigarettes, you're also prohibited from smoking marijuana.”

    On Friday, however, the NYPD reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new law instructs police officers to ignore both New Yorkers who smoke the drug in public and the exchange of marijuana, unless money is involved, and, of course, children are often outside on the street, where now they will be subject to second-hand marijuana smoke.

   In addition, residents of other cities in which marijuana is legal report the prevalence of marijuana smoke drifting in their houses and apartments through their windows, as their neighbors use the drug.

   “I think it's about educating people on that and, obviously, doing the right kind of enforcement," said Mayor de Blasio, who is not worried. "So, we can get that right, I really do believe it. It'll take time, it'll be an adjustment, but we're going to educate people as to this new reality and then make it work.”

   State Sen. Simcha Felder, who said had previously supported the “decriminalization of marijuana for many of the social reasons” listed in the bill, he, along with Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, voted “No” in Albany last week. 

    “The world is currently battling a pandemic that attacks the lungs, and the science available supports the dangers of inhaling substances,” State Sen. Felder said. “At a time when we are still battling the devastating effects of the drug crisis, also well documented, is the danger of marijuana as a gateway drug.

   “I have always maintained that our children are our most precious resource and many of them will see such broad legalization as sanctioning its safety.”

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