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Cayuga Co. sheriff weighs in on possible marijuana legalization in NYS

Medical marijuana (CNYCentral File Photo)

When Cayuga County Sheriff Dave Gould started his law enforcement career almost 50 years ago, he said a conversation about legalizing marijuana in New York or anywhere else in the country was unheard of.

"When I started, marijuana was a big thing," he said. "You had possession of it and you had a certain amount of weight, it was a felony, and it still is if you have a certain amount right, but now it's certainly more-accepted in society."

"I absolutely no way in my life thought it would be legalized, but times have come forward, and again, I'm not going to come out and say I'm against legalizing this," he continued.

As New York weighs the pros and cons of legalizing pot in the foreseeable future, Sheriff Gould said this could free up officers bogged down with marijuana-related arrests.

But it hasn't been so easy in other states where it's already legal.

"Been some fatal accidents. A lot of motor vehicle accidents and other types of accidents where it is legal now," Gould said. "People are smoking it on the street like they're doing anything else and they're abusing it."

That's where Gould's concern lies.

He wants people to realize if marijuana is legalized, people still need to treat it like alcohol.

What's more, he said it requires users to be responsible and use common sense, especially if they plan to get behind the wheel.

"Give them a little time to, you know, get that data, and let it sink in and make sure that we are doing it correct," Gould said.

While the discussion continues at the state level, Gould said he believes legal weed in the Empire State is coming.

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