Micheal Bloomberg Is Not A Friend Of Cannabis Legalization

The rush of candidates running for the Democratic nomination for president is breathtaking and encouraging—looking at you, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris—and provided there is anything left of the US by election time, we could be looking at a candidate who favors cannabis legalization at the federal level.

Well, except for that short-fingered, absurdly wealthy, white male candidate from New York with some issues surrounding POC. He’s not in favor of cannabis, not at all.

And no, we aren’t speaking of the semi-sentient 300 pound lumpy sack of moldy Velvetta currently disgracing the country’s highest office, but good guess. No, we are speaking of Michael Bloomberg.

Although not officially yet a candidate, speculation has grown that Bloomberg may enter the race, which perhaps isn’t something the cannabis legalization movement wants, nor does really anyone who remembers his stint as mayor of New York City for 12 long years.

The 76-year-old media mogul is worth more $46 billion, apparently none of which was spent on Cannabis Education 101.

In 2002, NORML built a half-million dollar campaign around a clever quip Bloomberg gave an interviewer in 2001 when he answered the question “Have you ever smoked cannabis?” with “You bet I did, and I enjoyed it!”

While a cute play on Clinton’s oft-mocked “I never inhaled,” it turned out Bloomberg was no friend to the cannabis consumer during his tenure as mayor.

In fact, a 2009 analysis showed that arrests for simple cannabis possession rose 50 percent in his first two terms.

In 2008, 40,300 people were arrested, with 87 percent of those people of color, and as researchers reported, in 2008 the NYPD arrested more individuals for low-level cannabis offenses “than in the 12 years of Mayor Koch, plus the four years of Mayor Dinkins, plus the first two years of Mayor Giuliani.”

There was also his fondness for the “stop and frisk” program, but one POC-targeting issue at a time…

If Bloomberg does run, a recent speaking appearance in Toronto gives us insight as to where his head is at regarding… well, heads.

Bloomberg shared the following: “Last year, in 2017, 72,000 Americans OD’d on drugs. In 2018, more people than that are OD-ing on drugs, have OD’d on drugs, and today incidentally, we are trying to legalize another addictive narcotic, which is perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done. We’ve got to fight that.”

Mikey, you had me right up until “cannabis is an addictive narcotic,” and you lost me again with the thing about cannabis legalization being “the stupidest thing anyone has ever done.” Really? Legal weed is the mountain you choose to die on for being the stupidest thing we’ve ever done? No other contenders for the title coming to mind, huh? Cool.

Bloomberg went on to tell the room full of Canadians, whom I am sure loved every moment, that, in regard to their recent nationwide cannabis legalization,

“To go and encourage people—to make it easier for people to engage in a behavior that has a significant possibility of damaging people’s health—is just nonsensical. This mad, passionate rush to let everybody do things without any research just isn’t something we would do in any other way.”

Okay! Thanks for playing, Mike. Listen, it’s been fun, but 70-something rich white men haven’t really been doing the US any favors for, say, ever, so in 2020 maybe we should try listening to women and people of color and see where that takes us.

Josh Taylor is a well-known and successful entrepreneur in the legal cannabis space, producing B2B and B2C cannabis events, "Backstage Budtending" and upscale concierge services through his companies OregonCannabisConcierge.com and CaliforniaCannabisConcierge.com. His weekly syndicated newspaper column and features about cannabis ran for five years until March 2020.

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