I recently visited New York and had a great time. Even with the unemployment on Wall Street, it was alive and booming. Manhattan’s prosperity is spreading to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and beyond.
Bloomberg has done a great job for New York, leading it to a glamour not seen for fifty years. Bloomberg seems to love New Yorkers too. For the most part he has improved the quality of life in the city.
I have just one complaint. His policies have caused the death of thousands of people and misery for hundreds of thousands more. As he pursues these policies he knows their effect, so he is knowingly culpable.
New York State laws allow police to ticket people with less than an ounce. Bloomberg has everyone caught with pot arrested, even just a joint. New York City police make almost 50,000 marijuana arrests per year. How does this translate to Bloomberg being a sociopath?
Before Guilliani was mayor, authorities took a rather benevolent attitude towards pot. They didn’t quite tolerate it, but it wasn’t a major concern and it wasn’t emphasized. As far as a non legalized place it was a fairly good place to be a weed aficionado. Light enforcement and fair availability.
Gulliani, a former federal prosecutor, changed that policy more than 16 years ago. Marijuana became top priority and NYC started to rise to the top of the list of the most prohibitionist cities.
Guiliani has an excuse for his policies. He is ignorant and unteachable. Bloomberg has no such excuse. He himself has said in reference to whether or not he has used marijuana, “you bet I did and I enjoyed it.” He must know that it is much more benign than recreational drugs. He knows that the damage of marijuana to the individual and the society is slight as compared with alcohol, amphetamine or other pop drugs.
Lets talk about damage to the individual. The bars are packed in New York and the culture encourages drinking. A fair percentage of these people who pick up the habit in their late teens or early 20’s will become alcoholics. Some people will become addicted to powders or pills. If marijuana were legal, or at least available without much risk, a fair percentage of those people would have displayed harm reduction behavior and would have changed their consciousness using marijuana instead.
New York is a big city. It is home to more than 8,000,000 people. Any policy affects a lot of people. A slight turn to the right may exclude thousands. Mayor Bloomberg’s pothibitionist policy has doomed hundreds of thousands to a life fighting alcoholism and condemned tens of thousands to death early death from it. Other’s use of prescription drugs and powders is leading them to a fast slam into a brick wall.
A simple policy change, placing more emphasis on harm reduction, such as lowering the violent crime and spousal abuse rates rather than spending $25,000,000 a year on marijuana enforcement would affect hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for the better.
So, in spite of Bloomberg’s accomplishments, he holds a prominent space in the list of marijuana drug war criminals. Over his 10 years in office he has been responsible for a minimum of 20,000 premature deaths from alcoholism and other drugs of abuse.
This is truly a shame. He had the potential to be a real reformer but he turned to the dark side.
As I write this my friend Carmen is sitting here. He just said, “If Bloomberg is a Drug War Criminal what about Obama? He knows better, marijuana was influential in his life and he now suffers from MDS. But he is the biggest Drug War Criminal in U.S. history. There are now more busts than ever and they are coordinated by the Dept. of Justice. He (the government) is going after medical marijuana users more than any other president and he refuses to listen to his constituents, experts, sociologists or anyone but cops. He is also a Drug War Criminal.”
Martin’s reply, “Like you, Ed, I will never vote for someone who wants to put me in jail, even for just a little while.”