Just one day after announcing at his final State of the City address that he’d reduce the penalty for the possession of small amounts of weed, Mayor Bloomberg took to his radio show to explain why he doesn’t support full-on legalization like what’s currently happening in Colorado and Washington. Never mind the fact that small possession out of public view has been decriminalized in theory (but not in practice) since 1977–we’d like to focus on the pretzel logic the mayor used to explain his anti-legalization stance.
First, Bloomberg put an absurd new spin on the outdated, disproven idea that cannabis is a gateway drug and/or gateway crime by arguing that legalization would turn out-of-work pot dealers towards the cocaine trade. Then, the mayor stated that weed should remain illegal simply because it’s stronger now than it was back in his own toking days.
We asked the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-pot lobbying group that’s backed successful cannabis-related legislation in Colorado, Rhode Island, Delaware, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts, and a host of other states, to weigh in on Bloomberg’s remarks.
“Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that, regardless of its potency, it is far less toxic, less addictive, and less harmful to the body than alcohol,” said Mason Tvert, MPP’s spokesperson and a leader of the effort to pass Colorado’s Amendment 64. “Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to scale back marijuana penalties is commendable, but the same cannot be said about his desire to continue criminalizing adults who make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer.
“If Mayor Bloomberg wants to prevent people from buying cocaine,” he added, “He should support a regulated marijuana market in which sales take place in tightly controlled stores and marijuana consumers are not exposed to other illegal products.”