Could Current Vaping Outrage Slow Marijuana Legislation?

One local official believes it should be the opposite

Brendan Keany
October 09, 2019 - 6:53 pm

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BUFFALO (WBEN) - One of the more discussed topics in New York State politics is the emergency ban on vaping.

While there may be some fatigue, as there are seemingly new "developments" every day, one local politician is hoping that the negative attention currently focused on vaping will allow an easier path for marijuana legislation in the near future. State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes weighed in on the matter.

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"It kind of makes sense for the executive branch, like Governor Cuomo and others, to try to think of ways to help protect their citizens, but it's very difficult to protect your citizens against something that you can't regulate," said Peoples-Stokes. "If folks are vaping a legal, medical cannabis product that comes from any of the New York State operators, they will not have to worry about the negative impacts on their lungs," said Peoples-Stokes.

Peoples-Stokes has long advocated for the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana, and some have raised concern that this vape safety mania might encourage lawmakers to take a longer look at the safety of marijuana use.

However, Peoples-Stokes thinks it should lead to the contrary.

"I hope it affects (marijuana legalization) in a positive way because it really speaks volumes about how we're going about it wrong in this country," she began. "I think the state-by-state method of legalization has opened up unregulated markets, and I think the best way to pull that market back in is to legalize at the national level, but if not, we'll have to go state-by-state. The issue is that we need really good regulation, good oversight and education of cannabis and nicotine vaping."

Listen to her full comments below:

Assemblyman Pat Burke also discussed his feelings toward the ban.

"A staff person of mine has a 12-year-old cousin, and the kid wakes up every night in the middle of the night and takes puffs on his bubble gum-flavored Juul, which is a type of vape pen, and it's becoming a health epidemic," said Burke. "Those things don't happen by accident, they happen in structures. Nobody thinks it's a good idea to have bubble gum-flavored tobacco cigarettes - they're not allowed - you can't do that. You can have menthol or regular, and there's a reason behind that because you don't want to expose it to children in that way."

As for those who argue that if legislators are going to go this direction with flavored e-cigarettes, then the same measures should be taken to ban cigarettes, Burke says the argument is asinine.

"That's not a fair comparison," began Burke. "A fair comparison would be that there's already a ban on flavored cigarettes because it's directly and intentionally children, who make poor decisions."

Listen to Burke's full comments below:

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