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Cuomo Opposes Medical Marijuana, Paladino Says Let the People Decide

New York Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that he opposes legislation to allow for the use of medical marijuana in the Empire State. Cuomo's remarks came in response to a question prompted by a statement by Republican nominee week Carl Paladino a week earlier that the subject should be put to a popular vote.

Cuomo as Attorney General
New York does not have a voter initiative process, but that didn't stop the Tea Party-supported Paladino from suggesting public referendums on a number of hot button issues, including gay marriage, enacting tougher immigration laws, and medical marijuana. "Let the people decide," Paladino said at a Taxpayer Party forum in Middletown when asked about medical marijuana.

The irascible arch-conservative Palodino, an upstart upstate candidate, trails badly in the polls. According to Real Clear Politics, in the average of all polls on the race, Paladino gets trounced 58% to 31%. The most recent poll, taken over the weekend, has Cuomo winning 60% to 37%.

But even that huge lead wasn't comfortable enough for Cuomo, who in past years lent strong support to the campaign to repeal New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws, to take a similarly progressive stance on medical marijuana. Nor is evident support for medical marijuana among key Cuomo constituencies enough to budge him. According to a March poll, 50% of New Yorkers supported medical marijuana. The figures were higher for liberals (72%), young voters (62%) and Democrats (55%).

When asked by reporters Sunday about medical marijuana, Cuomo said he opposed a medical marijuana bill that had passed the state Assembly. "I think the dangers outweigh the benefits," he said. "I understand the benefits. I understand that it's been tried in other places. I think the risks outweigh the benefits."

When asked about possible revenues from taxing medical marijuana, Cuomo refused to bite. "A lot of things could raise revenues," he said."Legalizing prostitution could raise revenues. I'm against that, too."

And speaking of prostitution, it's worth noting that Paladino isn't the only option for marijuana reformers. Former madam Kirsten Davis is running on a marijuana and prostitution legalization platform on the Anti-Prohibition Party ticket, though her support is too small to show up in the polls. In the Senate race, long-time drug reformer Randy Credico has emphasized anti-prohibitionist and other drug reform positions in his independent campaign taking on Chuck Schumer.

The positions taken by the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New York are yet another indication that good drug policy reform positions are the exclusive domain of neither major party.

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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Drug war reformers shouldn't vote for Cuomo

He's going to beat Paladino anyway, so it's a perfect opportunity for reformers to vote their conscience and vote for Kirsten Davis. Laws outlawing prostitution are bogus for the same reason laws outlawing cannabis are, they violate the rights of consenting adults who are not violating the rights of others.

What's with that 50% support level in New York, are they masochists who like to suffer unnecessarily? Or especially virulent alcohol supremacist bigots? New York was notorious for decades for crucifying users of   hard drugs. Now it looks like they are going to be notorious for maintaining their ban on medicine after more conservative states have seen the light.

What happened.

Hey what happened to Homo beating Paladino? Thanks to all who voted.The better man did win.

just lost my vote buddy

just lost my vote buddy

Why should "the people" decide?

Why not let each PERSON decide what drugs to use, who to sleep with and who to marry?  What if I don't approve of YOUR choices? 

right on!!!!!!!!!!!! u said it!

it SHOULD be an individual's decision!


i, for one, do NOT agree w/ YOUR CHOICES!  (prohibition against stuff for which there is NO victim)

I thought you had more wisdom, as your father did.


very disappointed.

I thought you had more wisdom, as your father did.


very disappointed.

"as your father did"? - not on the subject of rec cannabis

 I'm afraid Poppa Cuomo is as bigoted against recreational cannabis, and in favor of killer alcohol and big pharma's toxic gold mines, as his son. I'm not familiar with Poppa's stand on medicinal marijuana, maybe he's old enough, or wise enough, to realize he might need it himself one day, unlike the brash young hypocritical punk who's going to be the next governor of New York and believes in waging war against his fellow citizens, even if they're sick, even if they're dying. What is his problem!

Vote for Paladino Upstate New Yorkers should have a voice !!!

I am voting for Paladino "let the people choose"!!! 

its so damn ridiculous.

its so damn ridiculous. honestly there would be like 2 negative effects. yes people would get fatter from the damn munchies and sure some people may become lazy. other than that if marijuana was legal the world would be a better place. There is no negative effects from the use of marijuana. sure it may kill a few brain cells but so does breathing heavily. We spend over a million dollars each year to keep people with not even 5 grams on them in jail for longer than they deserve. Its a plant not a drug it just so happens when you dry it out and smoke it that it gives you the euphoric feeling. I would be fine if it wasn't legalized but even tolerated like it is in Amsterdam. The country is constantly bitching about us all being in debt and we could make so much money from legalizing it. Crime would even go down and there wouldnt be drug wars. Seriously America is a joke why is salvia legal when that makes you hallucinate. Oxycodon and Hydrocodon and all these other deadly pills with dangerous side effects but we cant smoke something perfectly fine to the body to make us feel better.

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