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I was disappointed to see the Cayuga County sheriff cite junk science in his case against marijuana legalization.

Sheriff Brian Schenck’s concern and compassion for Cayuga County no doubt motivated his remarks. But our elected officials and our press have a responsibility to disseminate science-based research as part of the public debate. And there is nothing scientific about The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

The agency, which Schenck cited, exists to fight drug trafficking, not to conduct research or analyze data. The claims the agency makes about traffic accidents, crime and youth consumption are misleading, designed to incite fear, and often outright false. Here in the Rocky Mountains, law enforcement, media and everyone else generally ignores the agency's sky-is-falling rhetoric. It's alarming to see officials give credence to that misinformation elsewhere — especially in my hometown.

To be clear, there are cons to legalization. Schenck is right to be cautious. But there are also pros. Marijuana legalization reduces opioid addiction, it brings billions into state coffers, and it cuts down on unnecessary policing, prosecution and incarceration.

Let’s try to buck the national trend and make decisions based on facts not fear.

Brian Liberatore


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