Mayor of New York backs marijuana legalization

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The mayor of New York has officially voiced his support for legalizing marijuana last week following New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plans to legalize cannabis across the state.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that if the state of New York legalizes cannabis that past low-level marijuana convictions should be expunged and that sales from marijuana should be “closed to corporate interests”. He said that the market should be open to New Yorkers, especially Hispanic and African-American residents who have for too long been unfairly targeted for marijuana use.

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“Legalization, done the right way, will marry opportunity with justice,” said de Blasio.

“We have a chance to create a brand-new industry that will lift up everyday New Yorkers. And we have a chance to choke off corporate America in the process and not let them get their greedy hands on this industry here in the state.”

De Blasio released a report of more than 70 pages put together by a taskforce that endorses the legalization of marijuana in New York. Outlined in the report are key goals that have been identified that the Mayor believes are necessary in rolling out a successful market which include the following:

  • Establish an Equitable Licensing System
  • Preserve Communities
  • Protect Public Health
  • Right Historic Wrongs
  • Ensure Product Safety
  • Put Small Businesses First
  • Create Equal Opportunity
  • Ease Access to Capital
  • Make Fair Investments
  • Build Local Businesses

“I support legalization because we’ve developed a path forward that will help make our City fairer,” said Blasio. “I look forward to working with the State to make this a reality.”

Earlier last week, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez erased dozens of past possession convictions and vacate almost 1,500 open warrants for low-level marijuana offences.

“I do not believe these cases keep us safer, they cause a lot of distrust in our system,” said Gonzalez. “These convictions really have a dramatic impact on the quality of someone’s life.”

Governor Cuomo has expressed similar sentiment recently about how legalization in New York is long overdue and that the tax revenue from the industry would benefit New Yorkers. He has suggested that some of that money would go toward fixing New York City’s crumbling subway system. 

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