In his final State of the City address this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a number of new policies he’ll implement in the last of his twelve years in office. In addition to banning Styrofoam in restaurants and an expansion of electric car parking space, among other initiatives, Mr. Bloomberg notably announced the city will simply ticket and release New Yorkers caught with misdemeanor amounts of marijuana, rather than holding them in custody.
“There’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record,” Mr. Bloomberg declared. “Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. And we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But I’ll tell you, we won’t wait for that to happen.”
Earlier today, Abe George, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office and a candidate next year against incumbent Brooklyn D.A. Joe Hynes announced one of his key campaign platforms will be relaxing penalties for marijuana possession.
“As a career prosecutor who spent considerable time investigating and prosecuting drug crimes, I have seen first hand how valuable resources have been wasted enforcing antiquated marijuana laws rather than fighting crimes that directly impact the public good,” Mr. George said in a statement that also noted anti-marijuana laws’ disproportionate effect on young minorities. “Brooklyn, which has long led the city in homicides and shootings, cannot wait until the New York State Legislature acts at some unknown time to finally decriminalize marijuana possession.”
This morning, Buzzfeed published excerpts from Dave Maraniss’ upcoming biography of Barack Obama that detail the president’s usage of marijuana in high school and his years at Occidental College. Mr. Maraniss revealed some of the common names for pot stains in Hawaii, the specific weed slang employed by President Obama and his buddies at Punahou high school and their preferred smoking soundtrack (Blue Oyster Cult, Stevie Wonder and Aerosmith).
Though the excerpts from Mr. Maraniss’ book have generated considerable excitement among the chattering classes, the president has admitted to youthful drug use for years now and, in the past, former classmates have described it as a relatively small part of his life.
Saying No To Drugs
Mitt Romney was appalled when a reporter asked him about medical marijuana during an interview with a local CBS affiliate in Colorado today. He responded by angrily listing off a list of questions he’d prefer to be asked.
“Aren’t there issues? Aren’t there issues of significance that youd like to talk about? The economy? The growth of jobs? The need to put people back to work? The challenges of Iran? We’ve got enormous issues that we face,” Mr. Romney said.
The reporter, Shaun Boyd, replied that medical marijuana is “a significant issue” in Colorado, where it was legalized in 2000. Mr. Romney reluctantly agreed to discuss the topic.