A recent story from the InterPress News Service says that the Mexico City government is planning to begin holding public discussion of legalizing cannabis at the municipal level. Simultaneously, three New York City mayoral candidates have come out for legalization. John Liu, Sal Albanese, and Joe Lhota are proposing legalizing at the City level.
This is the approach I have been proposing – de-federalizing drug control not just by returning drug control to the states but by local governments changing their laws en masse.
When control is concentrated in the central authority, local communities that want to improve their health and welfare are held hostage by the representatives of other jurisdictions that oppose reform. We see in New York that the localities are held hostage by the dysfunction of the state government, a reprise of the way that the states are held hostage by the intransigence of the federal government. This situation triggers the right of the citizenry to rebel against/secede from the central authority, which Colorado and Washington State exercised last year, as did the District of Columbia. (It is the right which Uruguay is exercising by proposing to legalize cannabis – a declaration of independence from the United Nations drug conventions that mandate cannabis prohibition…everywhere.)
Until New York State moves, the local governments should take the initiative – not just in New York City, but in Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Kingston, Utica, Rochester, Ithaca and so on. Can you imagine cannabis cafes in Woodstock?