Marijuana in the Race for New York City Mayor

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director August 14, 2013

    appleUPDATE: Thompson, McDonald, Catsimatidis, and Carrion’s positions have been added. The race to become the next mayor of New York City is one of the most publicized and followed of 2013 and the issue of marijuana has been playing a prominent role, with a large majority of the candidates backing some degree of reform. NORML has compiled this list of the candidates and their statements surrounding marijuana policy to help educate New York City voters where they stand on the issue.


    Supports Full Legalization:

    Sal Albanese

    Background: Former New York City Council Member

    Position: “I believe that the time has come to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. By legalizing it, we can allow police officers to focus on local crime issues and improving clearance rates for homicide, rape, and robbery. By regulating marijuana, we can put black-market drug dealers out of business. By taxing marijuana, we can raise billions of dollars in new revenue to pay teachers better, create pediatric wellness centers, and expand health services.” – Sal Albanese’s Response to NORML

    Click here for more info.

    John Liu

    Background: Current New York City Comptroller

    Position: “By keeping it illegal, you actually encourage more violent crime. Why not regulate and tax it? We can derive $400 million in revenues for the city, use that money to cut CUNY tuition in half and reduce the disparate social impact that’s occurring in too many of our communities.” – John Liu Statement to NY1

    Click here for more info.

    Supports Decriminalization:

    Bill de Blasio

    Background: Current Public Advocate for New York City

    Position: “In New York City, nearly 50,000 people were arrested last year for marijuana possession. Low-level marijuana possession arrests have disastrous consequences for individuals and their families. These arrests limit one’s ability to qualify for student financial aid and undermine one’s ability to find stable housing and good jobs. What’s more, recent studies demonstrate clear racial bias in arrests for low-level possession, with African-Americans arrested four times more frequently as whites — despite roughly equal usage rates. This policy is unjust and wrong.

    First-time offenses for possession of small amounts of marijuana are supposed to be punishable by fine only, unless publicly displayed. Commissioner Kelly instructed NYPD officers to stop making arrests for marijuana possession unless it is in public view. However, too many young African-Americans and Hispanics — without prior convictions — are still arrested for marijuana possession after being stopped and frisked by police, who then treat it as public display.

    Bill de Blasio will direct the NYPD to stop these misguided prosecutions and push for the passage of Governor Cuomo’s marijuana possession law, which would remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession under 15 grams. Bill de Blasio will enforce these standards and ensure cases of marijuana found through police stops are treated as possessions, not public displays. These commonsense changes will help reverse the racial impact of low-level marijuana arrests and align policing practices with constitutional protections.” – From Campaign Website

    Click here for more info.

    Christine Quinn

    Background: New York City Council Speaker

    Position: Supported Governor Cuomo’s efforts to decriminalize marijuana. Also supports medical marijuana.

    Click here for more info.

    Bill Thompson

    Background: Former New York City Comptroller

    Position: Supports decriminalization of small amounts and medical marijuana, but not legalization. (Source)

    Click here for more info.

    Anthony Weiner

    Background: Former United States Representative (D-NY)

    Position: “End Arrests for Small Amounts of Mari- juana. These arrests serve no purpose; they worsen NYPD/community relations, create criminal records that ruin lives, and waste the time and energy of officers who should be fighting serious crime.” – Campaign Website

    “I can tell my police officers and my police commissioner, that’s [marijuana arrests] not a priority for my administration. [It] damages lives, and very rarely do you catch a master criminal that way.” – Anthony Weiner to Capital New York

    Click here for more info.

    No Formalized Stance:

    Erick Salgado
    Ceceilia Berkowitz


    Supports Full Legalization:

    Joe Lhota

    Background: Former Deputy Mayor of New York City, Chief of M.T.A.

    Position: Supports marijuana legalization, but believes that responsibility for acting on the issue falls to the governor and federal government.

    Click here for more info.

    Supports Decriminalization

    George McDonald

    Background: Founder and President of the Dole Fund

    Position: Supports decriminalization. (Source)

    Click here for more info.

    John Catsimatidis

    Background: Owner, president, chairman, and CEO of the Gristedes Foods

    Position: Supports medical marijuana, but not legalization.

    Click here for more info.

    The independent candidate, Adolfo Carrión, Jr, supports decriminalization, but not legalization.

    26 Responses to “Marijuana in the Race for New York City Mayor”

    1. The great and mighty THON says:

      Is it only nyc or is it longisland also?

    2. Anonymous says:

      Are you guys reading? Odds are, if it passes in NY it won’t be legal to buy, so you still have to buy from a dealer and can only have 15 or less grams. And that means you can still get busted for purchasing and selling. It’s bullshit how there are so many people in the state/country who would vote for full legalization federally.

      WHY IS THIS NOT A REAL DEMOCRACY?!?! FOR THE PEOPLE!! That’s how many billion!?! Not just a selected few hundred or so. It’s bullshit how this is the most free country and freedom is what we’re all about, but we don’t wven have the fuckin freedom to smoke some pot instead of destroying our bodies with alcohol to catch a buzz?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    3. Kevin says:

      whats wrong with something that hurts no one and allows people to eat, have great sex, engage in conversation make you friendly never violent (unlike alcohol) you cannot overdose on it,it makes you aware of all the bullshit, enjoy music and movies helps you sleep relieves pain, helps treat many health disorders medically proven relieves stress and many more benefits. It will also generate millions in revenue its just the biggest brainwash in human history. Legalize it and make it harder for kids to get since they would have to show id instead of walking next door to get a bag. Its safer than alcohol and Tylenol and even water has never killed anyone unlike these three

    4. Kevin says:

      Lord in heaven finally no more cheating on drug tests because I enjoy a little weed once in a while when I get home from work

    5. Steve says:

      The candidates should know that the system is making it
      Many votes will be lost because of this.
      Is anyone looking out for votes? …Really?

    6. Julian says:

      @Vape: Did you see how quick Anthony Weiner answered “yes” when they asked him if he ever texted while driving? His opponents must be PAYING him to run. Unfortunately it looks like DeBlasio is leading; I say unfortunately because decriminalizing has a caviat vs. legalization in that the dark forces of prohibition are still at work with the Cuomo/DeBlasio plan. We could see small posessions decriminalized in NYC, but not full scale regulation for sale and use like Colorado or Washington.
      The greater success story will be for minorities carrying small posessions of cannabis with stop and frisk, which continues despite the recent court ruling of its unconstitutionality.
      An even GREATER success story for NYC would be if Jessica Williams from the Daily Show could stop and frisk white men on wall street with suit and ties and slicked back hair and check their briefcases for bank statements betting against their own investors. Now THAT would be JUSTICE.

    Leave a Reply