Mike Bloomberg on Drugs

Mayor of New York City (Independent)


Decriminalize possession, but wait on pot & kids

Q: You have called marijuana another addictive drug that we've never done research on.

BLOOMBERG: Look, the first thing you do is we should not make this a criminal thing if you have a small amount. For dealers, yes, but for the average person, no, and you should expunge the records of those that got caught up in this before. Number two, we're not going to take it away from states that have already done it. But, number three, you should listen to the scientists and the doctors. They say go very slowly. They haven't done enough research. And the evidence so far is worrisome, before we get all our kids, particularly kids in their late teens, boys even more than girls, where this may be damaging their brains. Until we know the science, it's just nonsensical to push ahead. But the cat's out of the bag. So some states have it, you're not going to take it away. Get rid of the--decriminalize the possession.

Source: 10th Democratic Primary debate on eve of S.C. primary , Feb 25, 2020

No legalization; pot lowers IQ by 5 to 10 points

When an audience member at the Aspen Institute asked Bloomberg about Colorado marijuana, he responded that it was a terrible idea, one that is hurting the developing minds of children. Though he admitted to smoking a joint in the 1960s, he said the drug is more accessible and more damaging today: "What are we going to say in 10 years when we see all these kids whose IQs are 5 and 10 points lower than they would have been?" he asked. "I couldn't feel more strongly about it, and my girlfriend says it's no different than alcohol. It is different than alcohol. This is one of the stupider things that's happening across our country."
Source: Aspen Times 2015 coverage of 2016 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 9, 2015

You bet I smoked pot, and I enjoyed it; but.

In 2010, over 50,000 New Yorkers were arrested for marijuana possession. Of those arrested, 86 percent were Black and Latino, even though national surveys show that Whites use in greater numbers.

The crackdown on marijuana crimes in New York has taken place during the term of Michael Bloomberg, who when asked if he had used marijuana responded, "You bet I did, and I enjoyed it." The injustice of a white man--one who has admitted to using, and enjoying, marijuana--overseeing the most zealous campaign of marijuana prosecution in the world (no other city prosecutes more of its citizens for this offense), one that ends up disproportionately impacting Blacks and Latinos, is glaring. And to add insult to injury, New Yorkers must pay, through taxes, the price to make all of these arrests. The cost of prosecuting this offense in New York City alone is estimated to range from $53 million to $88 million annually.

Source: Dealing Death and Drugs, by Beto O'Rourke, p. 91 , Nov 29, 2011

Stopped smoking at 30; then became anti-smoking proselytizer

Mike the Eagle Scout also played the bad boy, hanging out at the local stables with the townies, to smoke and gamble. "He told me one time that he won a lot of money, and he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pile of bills," said Susan Carley Davis, another classmate. He wound up smoking until he was in his early thirties, and only much later becoming the anti-tobacco proselytizer New Yorkers know well.
Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by Joyce Purnick, p. 22 , Sep 28, 2010

Dubbed "Mommy Mayor" and "Nanny Bloomberg" for anti-smoking

Bloomberg, the public health advocate, opened a citywide offensive against smoking at the passionate urging of his health commissioner to broaden the ban on smoking in restaurants and public buildings by extending it to bars.

Bloomberg's anti-smoking campaign infuriated barkeeps, worried the tourism industry, and frustrated protective mayoral aides who worried about championing a smoking ban with the city still in recession and recovering from 9/11. The policy was fine with them, but not the timing.

"The Mommy Mayor," thundered a New York Post editorial. "Nanny Bloomberg" complained a headline in the Wall Street Journal.

Bloomberg persisted and, ultimately, the gamble paid off. Bars and restaurants survived, and public opposition dwindled. The number of adult smokers declined by 350,000 New Yorkers in 7 years, attributed as much to sharp increases in city, state and federal cigarette taxes that ultimately brought the cost of a pack in NY to $10 as to the new law.

Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by Joyce Purnick, p.127 , Sep 28, 2010

You bet I smoked pot; and I enjoyed it

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation, (NORML), launched a new $500,000 ad campaign in New York City this week, urging an end to the massive number of arrests of pot smokers in this city, and features NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s quote on his own use of pot. “You bet I did. And I enjoyed it,” said then Mayoral candidate Bloomberg just before the elections last year when a New York magazine reporter asked about his pot use.

“I’m not thrilled they’re using my name. I suppose there’s that First Amendment that gets in the way of me stopping it,“ Bloomberg told reporters when informed of the NORML ads graced with His Honor’s face and attributing the quote to him. But Bloomberg added that the NYPD will continue to vigorously enforce the laws. The campaign includes a full-page ad in the New York Times, as well as posters for bus stops, buses, and phone booths. There are also two 60-second radio ads that will be played by the top stations in the city.

Source: Preston Peet, www.drugwar.com , Apr 10, 2002

NYPD will continue to vigorously enforce drug laws

[When he learned that NORML would use his image and his words on pro-marijuana advertisements, Bloomberg said] that the NYPD will continue to vigorously enforce the laws [against marijuana use]. In 1992, when former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took office, there were just 2,000 arrests of pot smokers. Until that time, cops would usually issue a ticket and fine instead of arresting people, yet by 2000, NYC was arresting approximately 50,000 people for simple use and possession every year, nearly a 1,000 a week. The NYPD now runs most every pot smoker they catch through the criminal court system, which can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, or longer, subjecting marijuana users to dangers far above and beyond any resulting from their simple use of pot, and the city will oftentimes attempt to coerce those arrested to plea out to charges they don’t deserve under the law.
Source: Preston Peet, www.drugwar.com , Apr 10, 2002

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Other big-city mayors on Drugs: Mike Bloomberg on other issues:

Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee)
Bill de Blasio (D,NYC)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Bob Filner (D,San Diego)
Steven Fulop (D,Jersey City)
Eric Garcetti (D,Los Angeles)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Marty Walsh (D,Boston)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)
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Page last updated: Mar 25, 2021