Yesterday, John Liu finally made some headlines in the mayoral race with the announcement that he’s in favor of fully legalizing and taxing marijuana in New York, thus tapping into a $1.65 billion market and easing up on an overstrained criminal justice system. “It is economically and socially just to tax it,” Liu told the AP. “We can eliminate some of the criminal nature that surrounds the drug and obtain revenue from it.”
Not that the mayor of New York has the power to make this happen (legalization would have to be signed into law by Andrew Cuomo, who’s opposed to even medical marijuana) or that it’s even close to the most important issue in the race, but still, nice to have somebody bring it up. I mean, of course we all love stoner jokes, that picture of Bloomberg dressed as a hippie, etc. But more earnestly, in a generally progressive, rabidly pro-business state with a famously overrun prison system and a booming nightlife industry, it’s always seemed baffling to me that there isn’t a bigger push for just biting the bullet and legalizing. That’s without taking into account the insanity of keeping marijuana out of the hands of sick people while we quietly pump them full of life-ruining opiates.
Point being, now seems as good a time as any to look at where the other candidates stand on this. That is, those of them that even have an articulated stance. Most of them? They haven’t even bothered.