As the clock ticks down to the September 10 primary, it’s become high time the mayoral candidates address the topic of marijuana.
Yesterday, City Comptroller John Liu rolled out a proposal to legalize and regulate cannabis in the five boroughs. Mr. Liu insists, however, he has never smoked the drug and never intends to do so even if it’s legalized.
But that’s not the case for all of the Gracie Mansion hopefuls. Politicker asked the various mayoral campaigns what their respective candidates’ stances were on marijuana legalization and whether they’d ever taken a toke.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner may have Big Thought Thursdays, but city Comptroller John Liu just had a big pot Wednesday.
Mr. Liu, whose campaign took a major hit when he was denied matching funds last week, unveiled a proposal to legalize marijuana in New York City today, comparing the status quo’s ban on the substance to the country’s infamous prohibition against alcohol a hundred years ago.
“It’s time to recognize that the prohibition of marijuana has failed,” Mr. Liu defiantly stated. “And its enforcement has damaged too many lives, especially the minority communities.”
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.”
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.