Ex-New York police commissioner denounces 'crazy' ideas around legalizing marijuana

Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Sunday voiced strong opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana, saying that the state would be opening up a "Pandora's box" if it chose to take such a step. 

“I still strongly oppose it," Bratton said on "The Cats Roundtable" on AM 970 in New York in an interview with host John Catsimatidis.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio both voiced support for legalizing recreational marijuana in the state earlier this month. 


"I think there are too many unanswered questions," Bratton said. "We still don’t have effective capabilities in law enforcement to deal with the issue of driving while impaired by the use of marijuana. It is as addictive as any other drug. We don’t really know the full effect of that drug on the development of children."

Bratton, who served as police commissioner from 2014 to 2016, later cautioned that "young people will be getting their hands on it."

"You can tax marijuana all you want. It is still going to be illegally grown, illegally sold. We’re opening up Pandora’s box.”

Bratton went on to note that states such as California and Colorado have faced unexpected issues since legalizing recreational marijuana. He said that it was "amazing the number of very ill people that California had, once it became available for medicinal use."

“I am very sorry to see it happening in [New York] at the speed it’s happening, with some of these crazy ideas that have been coming out about allowing people to grow it in their own homes," he added. 

“Legal cannabis is coming to New York State,” de Blasio wrote in a letter accompanying a report on how the city could approach the legislation. “When it does, we must do all we can to make sure that happens in a way that is safe, takes the health of New York City residents into account, and above all, provides opportunity while righting historic wrongs.”

New York would join 10 other states and Washington, D.C., if it were to legalize recreational cannabis.