Marijuana is already legal in states like Colorado and Vermont. Cynthia Nixon wants New York to be next.
Nixon, who is running to be the state’s first openly queer governor, released a campaign video on Wednesday calling out the racial divide in drug convictions. Although Caucasians and racial minorities consume marijuana at roughly equal rates, an estimated 80 percent of those convicted for pot usage are black or Latino.
Nixon alleges these numbers show the “War on Drugs” is “racist.”
“We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something white people do with impunity,” she claims. “[…] The simple truth is: For white people, the use of marijuana has effectively been legal for a long time.”
The Democrat adds that legalizing marijuana would have numerous other benefits for the state. She believes that recreational weed stands to “generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue” and “create important agricultural opportunities,” while bolstering New York’s $1 trillion economy.
“There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana,” Nixon argues.
Previous studies have indicated decriminalization would provide a major boost in tax revenue for Albany. Former gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra commissioned a report showing recreational marijuana would add an extra $500 million per year to the state’s coffers, which Giambra called a conservative estimate.
Even though polls show two-thirds of New Yorkers support legalizing weed, incumbent Andrew Cuomo continues to oppose itcalling pot a “gateway drug.”
Although New York allows people suffering from chronic illness to use weed as part of their treatment plan, the state has some of the nation’s “most restrictive” guidelines, as USA Today reports. Those tight controls were put in place following intense pressure from the governor’s office in 2014, prior to the passage of a medical marijuana bill.
Cuomo has promised to research the issue.
After launching her campaign in March, Nixon has focused heavily on issues that impact communities of color. The former Sex and the City star kicked off her gubernatorial bid with a speech delivered in Brownsville, an impoverished Brooklyn neighborhood highly populated by people of color.
Nixon, who married Christine Marinoni in a 2012 ceremony, called people of color the “backbone of the Democratic Party.”
“[W]e need to let them lead,” she told talk show host Wendy Williams in an interview last week. “Black women are going to stop showing up for the Democratic Party if the Democratic Party doesn’t show up for them.”