Reminder: Recreational Marijuana is Considerably More Popular Than Governor Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo today reiterated his position on recreational marijuana in New York State, telling a reporter for Politico that legalizing the world’s most widely used illicit drug remains too risky to contemplate now that he’s stopped smoking it.

“You’ve talked a lot about making New York a progressive leader,” reporter Jimmy Vielkind said, according to an exchange published on Politico. “[But] you haven’t embraced recreational marijuana even as other states have, and I’m wondering, why are you kind of a stick in the mud about recreational marijuana?”

Cuomo, perhaps taken aback by the question, and responded with a joke.

“I support medical marijuana,” he told Vielkind. “I don’t support recreational marijuana. Apparently you do, which explains some of the stories you’ve been writing.”

Cuomo explained that his main concern about marijuana — which he views both as funny and also dangerous enough to warrant locking people up in metal cages — is that it leads to other, presumably not-funny drugs.

“The flip-side argument as you know is it’s a gateway drug, and marijuana leads to other drugs and there’s a lot of proof that that’s true,” Cuomo said, stating that position than the government’s National Institute for Drug Abuse isn't quite sure about.

Cuomo has been wary of marijuana's danger since he stopped using it himself as "a youth." New York’s access scheme, at the governor’s insistence, remains among the most restrictive in the country, with curbs on available forms of the drug and few approved access points.

A 2014 Quinnipiac poll found that the governor is somewhat outnumbered in his fear of the drug he once enjoyed, with 57 percent of residents saying they supported legalizing marijuana for recreational use; New York voters aged 18-29 supported legalization overwhelmingly, 83 to 14 percent. Cuomo's approval rating stands at 40 percent as of September, according to a Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist poll, a gap of 17 and 43 percent, respectively.

Below is Vielkind and Cuomo's full reported exchange about the drug the latter used to consume:

Q: You’ve talked a lot about making New York a progressive leader, and in your state of the state written message you talked about restructuring marijuana laws. You haven’t embraced recreational marijuana even as other states have, and I’m wondering, why are you kind of a stick in the mud about recreational marijuana?

A: Why am I a stick in the mud about recreational marijuana? That’s a sort of loaded question, wouldn’t you say Jimmy? It has an opinion in it. I support medical marijuana, I don’t support recreational marijuana — apparently you do, which explains some of the stories you’ve been writing. Recreational marijuana I think should be separated from the workplace, do we agree on that?”

Q: Absolutely, sir.

A: I just wanted to make sure.

Q: But you’ve smoked marijuana, you’ve said you’ve done so. Why not recreational marijuana? Lots of New Yorkers smoke marijuana unlawfully.

A: “The flip-side argument as you know is it’s a gateway drug, and marijuana leads to other drugs and there’s a lot of proof that that’s true. There’s two sides to the argument. But I, as of this date, I am unconvinced on recreational marijuana. If you choose to marijuana recreationally, you know the law, but again, as reporters, I think you should keep it out of the workplace. But it does explain a lot to me, Jimmy. I want you to know that.”


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