Mayor Bill de Blasio

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Mayor Supports Legalizing Recreational Marijuana ‘The Right Way’

May 31, 2019 - 1:28 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana see hundreds of millions in tax revenue while opponents worry about public safety and health issues.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already said he wants to see marijuana legalized in New York State, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says if it’s done, it has to be done right.

On his WNYC broadcast, the mayor noted that the situation in Albany is very fluid when it comes to the possible legalization of the drug.

“I am very concerned that we make sure if there's going to be the legalization of marijuana that it's done the right way,” he said. “I am adamant about the fact that it cannot lead to a new corporate reality.”

The mayor, who recently entered a bid for the White House, says he fears the legalization of marijuana will create “a new tobacco industry or a new opioid industry done the wrong way.”

De Blasio says that as a progressive state, New York will eventually legalize recreation marijuana – but he wants it to be in a way that helps communities.

“It has to be done in a way that really empowers community based businesses,” he said. “Particularly in communities of color that suffered for so long because of Draconian laws that sent people to prison for low-level drug offenses."

The mayor described the current chances of legalizing marijuana as “touch and go.”

Meanwhile, Cuomo expressed deep doubt that the legislature, at least in this session, will approve the legal sale of marijuana for recreational use. 

"I proposed it, I  support it. I am dubious at this point about the likelihood of success," he said.

He added: "The senate sponsor of the bill said, if the assembly passes it first and if the governor were to campaign on it, then maybe it would pass. Paraphrasing,” the governor said. “That is a lot of ifs in that sentence."

Cuomo said the conversation with the senate sponsor did not give him much confidence on the likelihood of the legislation passing.