Mayor Michael Bloomberg vows more lenient marijuana policy in State of the City

Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg delivered the State of the City at the Barclays Center. (Credit: NYC Mayor’s Office)

New York City has unfinished business, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today.

In his last State of the City address, he vowed to finish many projects undertaken during his 12 years as mayor, like the High Line, and launching some new ones, like curbside car chargers.

He spoke at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which opened in September and has hosted Jay-Z concerts as well as the Brooklyn Nets season.

Bloomberg said he would pack his remaining 320 days, including today, which was not only Valentine’s Day but also his birthday.

“We have unfinished business,” he said. “Our goal is not to spend the year cutting ribbons.”

He promised to finalize construction on the 7 train extension, which will go all the way to 34th Street and 11th Avenue in the planned Hudson Yards development.

Another of his projects, the High Line, will also be finished as the third part is finalized.

Also on the list? The Ferris wheel planned for the Staten Island shore, which he announced last year, and bringing Major League Soccer back to the city.

And he said he wants to ban Styrofoam packaging from stores and restaurants, like the kind found in many to-go boxes.

In another new proposal, Bloomberg suggested a pilot program for curbside vehicle charges that could fill up vehicles in 30 minutes.

He tackled a few crime topics, including marijuana arrests. The mayor said that starting next month, anyone arrested for having a small amount of marijuana will no longer be held overnight.

Alfredo Carrasquillo of VOCAL-NY said the announcement was a “step in the right direction.”

“Mayor Bloomberg stopped defending the indefensible and now recognizes that we cannot afford to criminalize youth of color for carrying small amounts of marijuana,” he said.

But Carrasquillo, who told Metro about spending two days in jail after a police stop and arrest for marijuana, said stop-and-frisk is a part of the problem, as many are found with marijuana during such stops.

During his address, Bloomberg defended the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk program.

“I understand that innocent people don’t like to be stopped,” he said. “But innocent people don’t like to be shot and killed, either.”

Uptown Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito expressed disappointment at the mayor’s vigorous stop-and-frisk defense, but she said the marijuana statements were “step in the right direction.”

“This policy shift is greatly encouraging,” she said in a statement.

And Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams applauded the decline in the incarceration rates that Bloomberg pointed out, but otherwise blasted his leadership.

“The use of spin and selective statistics cannot distract us from the reality that this mayor, for whatever personal reason, has time and again refused to chart a new course for New York City,” he said.



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