Smoking marijuana while operating a vehicle appears to have become ubiquitous in New York City after the drug’s legalization. But it’s a trend, though illegal, that’s not easy to curb.
Since recreational marijuana was legalized statewide in March 2021, weed now seems ubiquitous on New York City roadways. At smoke shops, customers drive off after blazing up. In motion or at red lights, smoke wafts from car windows, the smell mingling with exhaust fumes in a pungent miasma.
“It’s coming from all walks of life. It’s all over the city,” said Jayson Vasquez, 39, who has worked as a bike messenger in New York City for 13 years. He sees and smells more and more drivers smoking, even as they negotiate heavy weekday traffic, puffing away behind the wheel and straying from their lanes.
“You’re like, ‘Hey, hey, HEY!’” he said, “and they’re just not paying attention. It’s a real problem for me.”