When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, many feared that this would increase adolescent use of the drug. Several years later, the evidence shows that this was not the case. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports that teen use has not risen since legalization occurred, read about it here. This is unsurprising because regulation is much more effective at keeping a drug out of children's hands than prohibition. A black market marijuana dealer does not care about the age of the customer. He does not check IDs. When the market is regulated and taxed, it becomes like alcohol and vendors have a responsibility to screen their clientele.
If we are serious about protecting our youth, we have little choice but to legalize and regulate marijuana in New York State. It ensures that the product is grown under safe and controlled conditions, and that there are enforceable standards for sales and consumption.