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article imageBloomberg says legalizing marijuana was 'stupid'

By Tim Sandle     Jan 24, 2019 in Politics
It's 'the stupidest thing anybody has ever done', according to Michael Bloomberg. This isn't a reference to inventing nuclear weapons or the Vietnam war, but the legalization of marijuana.
Michael Bloomberg made his comments at the U.S. Naval Academy during January 2019, drawing a parallel with legislation to approve marijuana and drug overdose deaths from prescription painkillers (the U.S. opioid crisis). Bloomberg began making points about the high proportion of opioid related deaths, and then switched his speech to focus on cannabis reform.
According to some commentators, Bloomberg is seemingly stepping up his efforts to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination ahead of rivals such as Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. His opposition to cannabis, as part of a conservative stanch from the former New York mayor, could well be part of this strategy.
In the speech, billionaire Bloomberg said: "Last year, in 2017, 72,000 Americans OD’d [overdosed] 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, and that’s another thing that Bloomberg Philanthropies will work on it in public health."
Bloomberg's views are not in tune with all in the Democratic Party, or with New York politicians. The Hill reports that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pushed for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in New York.
Cuomo took a different stance to Bloomberg, focusing on socioeconomic factors: "The fact is, we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and the well-off, and one for everyone else," Cuomo indicated. "And that's going to end. We must also end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma, and let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all
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