Tough to ignore: Group uses billboards to battle marijuana bill

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NEW WINDSOR -

As lawmakers debate the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York, one group wants to make it very difficult for politicians to ignore its anti-legalization stance.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, opposes marijuana legalization around the country. It is pushing local politicians to do the same.

“The CDC tells us that if you smoke marijuana you're three times more likely to end up in heroin addiction,” says Kelly Cartenuto, organizer of SAM

Cartenuto says she believes Sen. James Skoufis, currently undecided on the matter, should vote no and he should explore all available information.

"We just don't want the public believing that if we have legal marijuana that's going to solve the opioid crisis,” she says.

A billboard on Route 9W in New Windsor is directly targeting Sen. Skoufis, but he's not the only legislator feeling the heat.

SAM has placed ads across the Hudson Valley.

"There's one in Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ district in Westchester addressing the social justice piece there's also one in Peter Harckham's districts,” says Cartenuto.

She says each one addresses a different argument that is being made for legalization and challenging that.

The aim is to convince the Legislature in Albany - if it comes up this session- to vote marijuana down.

News 12 reached out to Sen. Skoufis’ office, who wrote in part, "It's unclear whether recreational marijuana will come up this legislative session, but I maintain if it does proceed, the bill must include substantial mitigation of the public safety risks associated with legalization."

The current voting session in Albany ends June 19.

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