Cynthia Nixon wants to legalize marijuana because she says it is time to stop putting black people and others of color in jail for something that is ‘effectively legal’ for white New Yorkers.
The gubernatorial candidate revealed her position on Twitter on Wednesday and explained it in a string of posts as well as in a campaign video.
Nixon said that while there are ‘a lot of good reasons’ to make recreational use of the drug legal, stamping out the racial disparity between the number of marijuana-related arrests which currently exists is her biggest motivator.
‘We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity.
Cynthia Nixon said on Wednesday that she wanted to legalize marijuana because while it was ‘effectively legal for white people’, people of color are still being jailed for it
‘The simple truth is for white people, the use of marijuana has effectively been legal for a long time.
‘Isn’t it time we legalize it for everybody else?’ she said.
Nixon cited research released earlier this year which found that 80 percent of the people arrested in New York City for marijuana-related offenses were black or latino despite the fact that white people used the drug recreationally at roughly the same rate.
The NYPD was widely criticized for the statistics.
In the state of New York, it is illegal to possess marijuana unless you have a medical recommendation for it however police tend not to punish anyone found with small amounts.
Nixon, 51, carried on her crusade on Twitter after posting her video and launched an online petition
If a person is caught with under 25 grams of it on their person, they are subject to fines of up to $250 for the first two offenses and will be jailed on a third time for 15 days.
Different view: Incumbent New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has previously described marijuana as a ‘gateway drug’
It is completely legal to be smoking or burning the drug in public and if a person possesses more than 25 grams, it is a misdemeanor crime.
A person has to be in possession of more than 8oz of the drug for it to become a felony, which is then punishable with four years jail time.
Between one and 10lbs will land someone in jail for seven years and more than 10lbs incurs a 15-year sentence.
All crimes related with drug-selling and trafficking are illegal.
Alongside reducing the number of incarcerations among people in color, Nixon said legalizing the drug would raise ‘hundreds of millions’ of dollars for the city in taxes and provide work for farmers upstate.
‘In 2018, in a blue state like New York, marijuana shouldn’t even be an issue.
‘If there was more political courage coming out of Albany, we would have done this already,’ she said.
To bolster her campaign, she linked to an online petition and asked followers to share their support.
Not on board: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, one of Nixon’s political allies and friends, said he is ‘not quite there’ yet with legalizing marijuana entirely. Nixon is pictured (left) on Monday night
Nixon’s position differs to incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo who previously described marijuana as a ‘gateway drug’.
He commissioned research on how legalizing the drug would affect the state earlier this year.
Her position also puts her at odds with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a longtime friend and political ally.
Despite lobbying the NYPD to reduce arrests for possession of small amounts of the drug, de Blasio has never gone quite as far to say he wants to completely legalize recreational use of it.
Just last week, he said he was ‘not quite there yet’ on the topic but was open to learning more about it.