Troy, NY -- Rensselaer County District Attorney, Mary Pat Donnelly and Sheriff Patrick Russo held a joint press conference on the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Area school district superintendents, school resource and police officers, MADD, and Police chiefs joined the District Attorney and the Sheriff with sharing the message.
The push for the “if you feel different, you drive different!” campaign is aimed at Rensselear County high schoolers who will be attending proms and senior dances and events over the next few weeks.
“We are hoping to prevent a tragedy today, our roads in Rensselaer County are less safe than they were one year ago when marijuana became legal in New York,” stated District Attorney Donnelly. “Marijuana use by those under the age 21remains illegal, and driving while high is not only dangerous, it is also a crime. Most of our teens are not aware of that fact.”
New York became the 15th state to legalize marijuana, and the new law went into effect on March 1, 2021. A troubling consequence of marijuana usage is impaired driving. The District Attorney explained there have been 47 cases since marijuana was legalized in 2021.
It is our hope that you will join us to share the message for the “prom” season that driving under the influence of marijuana and/or alcohol is dangerous as well as illegal. “The marijuana cigarettes that our parents smoked many years ago is nowhere near as potent as the cannabis we are seeing now,” said Sheriff Patrick Russo. “That decision to get behind the wheel can cause them their life or someone’s life.”
East Greenbush School Superintendent, Jeffrey Simons also mentioned, “no one wants to get that call, the call from the police that their son or daughter has been involved in an accident with a drunk or impaired driver.”