why cynthia nixon’s bid to legalise marijuana shows she’s the new face we need in american politics

Ay blaze it 420 jokes aside, Cynthia showed a deeper understanding of institutional racism in drugs laws than most career politicians just one month into her run for Governor.

by Roisin Lanigan
12 April 2018, 11:08am

If you’d told anyone in the noughties -- the dark time of saddle bags, Juicy Couture tracksuits and SATC as an unproblematic, beloved TV show -- that in 2018 we’d have embraced saddle bags, Juicy Couture tracksuits and that Miranda Hobbes would have emerged as our political saviour, they would have looked at you like you were crazy, rightfully so.

But in a world where an ex-reality TV star and overgrown angry tangerine can become President of the United States, anything is possible. And in just under a month since she announced her run for Governor of New York, Cynthia Nixon (who will always be Miranda in our hearts) has proven that she’s exactly the kind of new energy American politics needs.

No more so was that evident than in a Twitter video yesterday where Cynthia announced her intention to legalise marijuana in the state of New York if elected governor in November. Casually explaining her stance in a 90 second clip, Cynthia says: “I believe it’s time for New York to follow the lead of eight other states and DC and legalize the recreational use of marijuana. There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana, but for me, it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity.”

It’s not the first time Cynthia has talked about legalising it, and it goes without saying that it’s a pretty popular policy -- cue hundreds of memes and headlines about blazing it just in time for 4/20 -- but in using that policy to make a wider point about race she’s shown a deeper understanding of America’s institutionally racist drug policies than most career politicians have dared to say in decades.

The fact is that while getting stoned is a hobby white people can indulge in without threat of jail, and more and more something that can be flaunted as a fashion statement or lifestyle choice, people of color are routinely persecuted for the same casual drug use. In fact according to the ACLU, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana, despite usage rates being relatively similar. Between 2001 and 2010, 88% of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests were simply for possession. Factor in the billions wasted on enforcement and it’s clear that not only is America’s war on drugs institutionally racist, it’s a complete waste of taxpayer money.

“In addition to ending a key front in the racist war on drugs”, Cynthia went on in her video, “regulating and taxing marijuana will generate hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue for our people and create important agricultural opportunities for our state.” Her comments are a stark contrast to Cuomo’s own stance on marijuana, which is more of the old-fashioned “run kids, it’s a gateway drug!” rhetoric.

It would be easy to vote for Cynthia as governor just because she’s recognisable from TV -- the dreaded Donald Trump effect -- or, because she finally wants to fix the overburdened, old fashioned, never-on-time subways that are causing millions of New Yorkers nightmares every day on their attempted commutes. But really, if New Yorkers vote for her because she understands the racist double standard in America’s so called ‘war on drugs’ and is unapologetic in wanting to move towards undoing that, then it can only be a step forward for the country’s draconian drug policies, and an example for other states (and hopefully, the UK).

Plus you know, everyone loves legal weed.

cynthia nixon