MADD urges caution on New York’s marijuana legalization bill

| 30 Mar 2021 | 11:02

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving issued the following press release earlier this week:

    (MADD) urges the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo to change its impaired driving law that blocks law enforcement’s ability to remove drunk and drug-impaired drivers from New York roads – a change that’s needed before marijuana legalization legislation is considered.

    “Current law in New York ties the hands of law enforcement by requiring them to identify the impairing substance of a driver at the time of arrest,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “This is simply unrealistic given the number of impairing drugs and combinations of impairing drugs. Impaired driving crimes must be charged based on the condition of the driver, not whether the impairing substance can be named and is on a list.”

    Ahead of proposed marijuana legalization and to ensure impaired drivers will be held accountable, MADD is calling on New York to expand its definition of “drug” to include “any substance or combination of substances that impairs, to any extent, physical or mental abilities.”

    Currently, New York’s drug impaired driving law requires the impairing substance to be named and it must be on the PHL 3306 list or be named as “cannabis” (even odorless edibles).

    A driver can refuse an identifying test, avoid arrest and keep driving while high.

    “A list can never keep up with the hundreds of impairing substances flooding New York and other states every day, including man-made synthetics sold on the internet,” Otte said. “At least 45 other states’ drugged driving laws do not require the impairing substance to be on a list. New York needs to follow these states.”

    About Mothers Against Drunk Driving

    Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.

    MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver.

    MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology.

    MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP.

    Visit or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.