During tenure as mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg banned or tried banning all sorts of things that bugged him: trans fat, smoking, salt, cups of soda whose size he found excessive.
So maybe it's not surprising to learn that the former hizzoner is still really down on pot legalization. Here he is, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival:
"What are we going to say in 10 years when we see all these kids whose IQs are five and 10 points lower than they would have been?" Bloomberg said Friday night at the Aspen Institute, according to The Aspen Times.
"I couldn't feel more strongly about it," Bloomberg added. "This is one of the stupider things that's happening across our country."
The socially liberal Republican turned independent is no fan of medical marijuana, either, calling it "one of the greatest hoaxes of all time" back in 2013. That's a view that Reason's Jacob Sullum rightly characterized as one of "astonishing ignorance." Back in 2013, Bloomberg didn't just diss medical marijuana. He also said recreational pot was no-go, on the grounds that it's stronger than when he used it and that "if marijuana were legal, those dealers would just start selling something else, like cocaine."
This time, Bloomberg was speaking in Colorado, the state has blazed the trail for legalized recreational pot and has encountered no problems more serious to date than higher-than-expected tax revenue.
Bloomberg apparently didn't bother spelling out the cost of the status quo in the 48 states that do not yet have operating sales of recreational pot (for legal status of states regarding pot, go here).
It's great that he cares about the latter-day Shaggys from Scooby-Doo who might be damaged by legal pot, but what's his take on the hundreds of thousands of people arrested each year for possession? Does the disruption caused by such things matter to him? Guessing from his tenure as New York's mayor, it's a big fat Bronx cheer. During his time as mayor, "the NYPD arrested an average of nearly 39,000 pot smokers each year, compared to 24,487 under Giuliani, 982 under David Dinkins, and 2,259 under Ed Koch."
You can't expect someone as fixated on controlling people's bodies as Bloomberg is to change his mind on pot legalization from first principles. That is, he clearly doesn't think that individuals own their bodies and thus have the right to do with them as they please (and reap or suffer the consequences).
But it's surely not asking too much that characters such as Bloomberg be pushed to explain how demonstrable harms from the war on drugs are less somehow less pressing than hypothetical problems that are mostly grounded in myth anyway.
For god's sake, he was speaking at a supposed "ideas festival." I doubt his audience was expecting to hear a rehash of "ideas" and policies that have been in place for decades and fail to accomplish any of their goals while exacerbating every social ill they claim to ameliorate.
Hat tip: The Twitter feed of Mike Hewlett.
Watch: "The Mike Bloomberg Legacy: 12 Years of Little Tyrannies in 2 Minutes"