Cynthia Nixon, who is famous for the role of straight-talking lawyer Miranda Hobbes in HBO’s Sex and the City, announced her bid to legalize marijuana as part of her campaign for governor of New York. Nixon is running against current governor Andrew Cuomo, as the democratic nominee.  

In a video uploaded to twitter, Nixon promised to legalize marijuana as part of her efforts to reduce racial prejudice in the New York prison system. Nixon highlighted the racial injustice of recreational marijuana use in the state, saying that for white New Yorkers, marijuana has effectively been legal for a long time. She also called out the disproportionate amount of people of color currently imprisoned in New York for marijuana related offences, citing recent figures that show over 80% of New Yorkers arrested for public possession or smoking marijuana in 2017 were people of colour.

Progressive Politics 

Nixon’s campaign has been focused around progressive politics, with her twitter bio describing her as a ‘progressive advocate running for governor to fight for a better, more fair New York’. She is also fighting to bring more funding to New York public schools, as well as granting free college tuition to Dreamers and other immigrants who don’t currently qualify for the state’s free college tuition plan. Nixon’s efforts to decrease the number of people of color imprisoned for marijuana related offences is intertwined with her #SchoolsNotJails effort, to stop funding cuts to New York’s public-school system introduced by Cuomo.  Nixon hopes to tackle what she calls the ‘School to prison pipeline’, in which students of color are unnecessarily criminalized from a young age through the current public-school system, which makes them more vulnerable to becoming incarcerated.   

Immigrants 

Nixon specifically outlines the risk non-citizens face from the criminalization of marijuana. Although New York City is a ‘sanctuary city’ for undocumented immigrants, non-citizens presented with minor marijuana offences still face the risk of deportation. Nixon is also fighting to grant free college tuition to Dreamers and other immigrants who don’t currently qualify for the state’s free college tuition plan.  

Nixon is running against current governor Andrew Cuomo for the democratic nominee, who has received strong support from the black community in the past. Cuomo has previously been against the legalization of recreational marijuana, however has recently stated that his stance could change.  It has yet to be seen whether Nixon’s push to legalize marijuana will give her the upper hand over Cuomo with communities of color. Nixon has also addressed the housing crisis and rising gentrification affecting black and latinx neighborhoods. Nixon’s ties to the LGBTQIA+ community may also help her in her efforts to become New York’s first gay governor.  

Nixon also highlighted the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana, which would result in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, as well as providing a boost to the agricultural industry in the U.S Laws have been passed to legalize recreational marijuana use in Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Alaska, Colorado, Maine, California, as well as the country’s capital, Washington D.C.  

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