In a recent radio interview, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray said she supports legalizing marijuana. Her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has a different take on the issue. But McCray’s support could be helpful for the legalization movement, as she is a highly influential person who is reportedly thinking about running for public office in the near future.
Chirlane McCray’s Take on Cannabis
Chirlane McCray was a guest on Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” yesterday morning. During her interview, the topic of legalization came up.
“I believe we should legalize it because I don’t think people should be penalized and punished for using it,” she said. “But I think it should be highly regulated. I think what’s happening is people see it as a cash cow.”
Even though she said she supports legalization, McCray also voiced a number of concerns with legal cannabis. One of her concerns was that edibles would put children at risk. Additionally, she also said that weed can be addictive and that it can become a gateway drug.
“I’ve spoken to the addiction experts,” she said. “Anything can be a gateway drug—glue, all kinds of inhalants, anything can be a gateway drug.”
Current research does not actually support the theory that cannabis is a gateway drug. In fact, some of the newest research suggests that cannabis can help people break addictions, rather than create them. This seems to be the case with opioids in particular.
Here’s how celebrity doctor Dr. Oz summarized recent findings: “The real story is the hypocrisy around medical marijuana. People think it’s a gateway drug to narcotics. It may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic.”
Cannabis and NYC
Despite some of McCray’s dubious claims about the dangers of cannabis, her support for legalization could have important implications for New York City. That’s especially true as the city continues to see racially disparate enforcement of cannabis laws.
Back in 2013, Mayor de Blasio issued an order directing NYPD to issue summons to people caught with weed whenever possible, instead of arresting them. The order helped reduce marijuana arrests in NYC by 40 percent.
But even after that drop, there were still around 17,500 weed-related arrests last year. And a massive 86 percent of those arrested on cannabis charges were people of color.
Final Hit: First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray Supports Marijuana Legalization
According to New York Daily News, McCray is traveling to New Hampshire today to talk about ways to deal with the ongoing opioid epidemic. Additionally, she has reportedly talked about running for public office in the future. If that’s the case, then her support for legalization could become even more important.
But for now, things probably won’t be changing a whole lot in New York City. Although McCray supports legalization, her husband, Mayor de Blasio, said he does not.
“You could definitely make the argument for why the current situations’s ridiculous,” the mayor said recently in an interview. “But it does not mean legalization like suddenly makes the world a perfect place.”