What to Know
- Mayor de Blasio says he's "not there yet" when it comes to legalizing marijuana
- His wife Chirlane McCray say she supports legalizing the drug but says it should be highly regulated to protect young people
- A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 60 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana
Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray disagree about whether or not marijuana should be legalized for recreational use, with the mayor saying “I’m not there yet” and the first lady of New York saying she believes “public opinion is all for it” and that it should be legalized but “highly regulated.”
The couple made the comments Thursday morning while being interviewed on The Breakfast Club radio show on Power 105.1 FM.
“I believe we should legalize it because I don’t think people should be penalized and punished for using it, but I think it should be highly regulated,” McCray said, warning that those who want to legalize the drug aren’t “thinking about people who are predisposed to addiction.”
“I’ve spoken to the addiction experts. Anything can be a gateway drug. Glue – all kinds of inhalants,” she said.
McCray said she speaks from personal experience.
“I loved marijuana when I was a young person. And I know that it can be difficult to stop using,” she said.
De Blasio has also admitted to smoking marijuana in the past. When asked several years ago if he had smoked it at Gracie Mansion, he said: “No, I haven’t smoked marijuana since I was at NYU.”
In Thursday's radio interview, de Blasio said, “You could definitely make the argument for why the current situation is ridiculous, but it doesn’t mean legalization suddenly makes the world a perfect place.”
The mayor said the two had been talking about the issue recently and that his wife brought up “the corporate dynamic” of legalization and how it was similar to the pharmaceutical companies’ connection to the current opioid crisis.
“In some ways it’s even worse if it’s a corporate dynamic (than a criminal dynamic), because look at the extent of the opioid crisis that was corporate driven. Look at the tobacco crisis, look at how many people we lost. That was corporate driven,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said he understands “marijuana’s a very different drug than the others” but that we should “figure out where the hell we’re going first before we suddenly unleash this new reality.”
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 60 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana.