Bill de Blasio

Why Is N.Y. Mayor De Blasio Yelling at Corporations About Harms Caused by the City's War on Weed?

The government is the villain of this story, not wealthy industrialists.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio formally declared his support for legalizing marijuana Thursday, but he did so in a way that makes it abundantly clear that he doesn't actually support people's free choices.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo beat de Blasio to the punch Monday by reversing his own opposition to marijuana legalization (lagging, like most politicians do, well behind public opinion). De Blasio's own transformation on marijuana comes with so much top-down, progressive, anti-market baggage that you'd be forgiven if you thought this clip of his speech tweeted from his account was actually a rejection of legalization:

De Blasio wants to legalize marijuana but also control who gets to profit off it, all to fulfill his fantasies of what the industry should look like rather than letting the market sort it out. He doesn't want more freedom for New York City's citizens; he wants control over the marijuana market. Marijuana Moment quotes a letter he wrote explaining his vision of legal marijuana in the Big Apple:

The mayor's letter spells out what he thinks a legal marijuana industry should look like.

"We've seen these kinds of new industries spring up before. Legalization can follow two routes. In one, corporate Cannabis rushes in and seizes a big, new market, driven by a single motive: greed," he wrote. "In another, New Yorkers build their own local cannabis industry, led by small businesses and organized to benefit our whole diverse community."

"Tragically, we know what happens when corporations run the show," de Blasio wrote.

Yes, we all recall the time that goons from R.J. Reynolds attacked Eric Garner on a street corner and choked him to death. No, wait, those were officers from de Blasio's own police department, and one reason they were hassling Garner was because of his history of hustling untaxed loose cigarettes. New York City has a massive cigarette black market caused not by corporations but by the city's high taxes, price controls, and other controls on the market. Is that what New Yorkers want marijuana legalization to look like too?

The government of New York City is the villain of this story, not the hero. Government control over who may participate in markets leads to cronyism and corruption. Consider occupational licensing regimes that serve entrenched business interests and protect them from market competition. It's typically the poor who ultimately suffer as their opportunities to participate are reduced.

De Blasio insists he's going to try to force the opposite here, but that's just not how government permitting works in actual practice. Restricting access to this market will hurt those who lack influence, not help them.

De Blasio also calls for expunging the records of those arrested for past marijuana crimes. That part's great, particularly since the New York Police Department kept arresting people even after the state made possession just a citable offense. That doesn't make the City of New York the hero of the story, any more than a bully becomes virtuous because he stops beating up kids in the playground.

If de Blasio is truly committed to making lives better for his poor, underprivileged city dwellers, he should try to keep the government out of the pot industry as much as possible, let the market provide opportunities, and don't put unneeded restrictions on who participates. And don't tax the hell out of it, thereby keeping the demand in place for marijuana black markets.

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  1. Politicians want all the fun of mimicking movie businessmen, shouting “Get me the Jackson report” and making assistants do all the heavy lifting. Politicians are as clueless as movie people about what real business people do.

    “So let it be written, so let it be done.” — Pharaoh and every other statist ever.

  2. No, wait, those were officers from de Blasio’s own police department, and one reason they were hassling Garner was because of his history of hustling untaxed loose cigarettes.

    I keep hearing this, but is it true? Was Garner heading out to the rez to buy the cigarettes he was selling? That’s the only way to get “untaxed” smokes, as far as I know. (Is there a rez anywhere near NYC, anyway?)

    1. There is the Shinecock reservation on Long Island (about an hour and a half east of the city), but going to PA for much cheaper cigarettes, or a few states further south could be worth it if you bought enough bulk.

      1. How much to get your cock shined?

    2. As I understand it, there is a pretty big black market in NY for smokes and for fake tax stamps. So he may have been buying cigarettes that “fell off the truck” and never had the state tax paid. I have no idea whether this was the case with Garner.

      1. Definitely heard of this also, though I can’t say I’ve ever bought a pack at a deli that didn’t have the stamp. Not that my experience accounts for all that much.

        1. They fake or steal stamps too. I think it’s a pretty big money maker for organized crime.

      2. I’d also point out he doesn’t need to leave NYC to get the cigarettes, he just needs to know a distributor willing to sell to him. Just like some guy selling smack on a corner doesn’t need to goto Mexico.

    3. Poorly worded statement. Garner was selling loose cigarettes, which, since they are not individually taxed, is illegal.(And he wasn’t selling at the time – he had in the past, and the cops decided to hassle him).

      The cigarette box may have had a tax stamp on it.

      1. That was my understanding at the time. A lot of people can’t afford a tax inflated pack but will pay a buck or 2 for a single. I think he was buying taxed cigarettes and reselling at a profit. Seems completely harmless to me but I guess we can’t have free enterprise running amok in De Blasio’s worker’s paradise.

        1. A buck or 2 for a single cigarette? If that’s not reason to quit, I don’t know what is

    4. 1. Garner had just broken up a fight – which is what seems to have gotten him the attention of the cops on his last day alive. They were more interested in fucking with him for having sold loosies in the past than taking a statement and he basically told them to fuck off – which triggered the ‘disrespecting me’ clause of the US constitution so they took him down and killed him.

      2. He wasn’t heading out to the rez.

      3. That’s far from the only place to buy untaxed smokes in NYC. The taxes are too high that people drive in from *Arizona*, bringing cheaper cigarettes by the truckload, for sale in NY.

      1. As I understand it, Garner never smuggled – only sold cigarettes that had been broken out of their packages. Which is illegal even if the package had been bought (and taxed) in NY.

      2. I do not mean to sound heartless & I’m no defender of bad LEOs, but Garner, who was obese & had Asthma, resisted arrest on a hot steamy day & ended up dead because of it!…They roughed him up pretty good after he resisted them, but if he had not, he would still be alive today & working that street corner with his Loosies!

        1. no THEY roughed him up for no particular reason than they were getting their jollies in harrassing him. THAT’s what led to his meltdown and death.
          Had THEY been being “good boys” instead of street punks, he’d still be alive selling loosies on the streetcorner…..

          I always put the blame in such situations on the INSTIGATOR of the violence. They played the bully on him, he resisted. Had they not done, he’d have had nothing to resist……

          1. Get your facts straight: HE RESISTED FROM THE BEGINNING & that gave them the cover to kill him!….Understand , I’m not absolving the cops, just stating if he had let them arrest him without fighting back he would be alive today!

            1. Even my cop friends have told me the cops who took Garner down should be tried for manslaughter.

    5. No, he was selling them “loose” meaning one or two or more at a time….Not a pack….So, if a 20 cig pack is $15 in NYC & you sell each cig for a buck, you make $5 a pack & taxes are lost because people are not buying the full packs knowing they can buy them one at a time….Now, if he bought the full packs cheaper in another state or on the Rez, then he can make more money per cig….Capiche?

      1. you make $5 a pack & taxes are lost

        Nonsense.. HE paid the tax on the pack. That is calculated on PER CIG basis… a carton of ten packs, or whatever the number is, brings a tax of ten times the pack price. The pack brings twenty times the each tax. Simple maths here…
        the “untaxed” meme is a lie concocted by the city to obfuscte their abysmal handling of the whole situation. They get their tax whether the guy who lights them up buys them one at a time from Eric Garner, by the deck of twenty, the carton of ten packs, or the case of two dozen or whatever cartons.

        1. NONSENSE!!!….If guys like Garner are not around, there is no option to buy single cigs & people would save their money & buy a full pack & the tax on the pack is collected!

          1. The cigs weren’t bootleg, therefore the packs were already taxed once. You want them to be taxed over and over again.

  3. It was FDR, the socialist god, who started the federal war on weed when he signed the marijuana tax act.

    All Hail, FDR, the socialist god !!!

    1. And then it was Nixon (who was a socialist god, but is not celebrated as such) who created the controlled substances act after the marijuana tax was ruled unconstitutional

      1. Nixon was a RINO, except that he wouldn’t embrace the radical left and Communism. The left should have loved him and his Big Government ideas, but they never got over him defeating Helen Douglas, as nasty a piece of unrepentant Progressivist work as you might care to avoid. Somthe screwed him over for having the audacity to think e could get away with the same kind of paranoid shit that JFK and LBJ did routinely.

        *shrug*

    2. Founder once (jokingly) threatened Anslinger with being fired if he eased up on his war on weed.

      1. Oops, FDR, not Founder.

        1. Actually he is the Founder of the Changeling infiltration into the Federal Govt. That only works of you’ve seen Star Trek: Space Station Edition.

    3. and it was E. I. duPont de Nemours, the chemical company, that put FDR up to illegalising hemp in all forms, because dePont wanted the main competition for their new patented cordage/rope fibre to me rendered illegal…. thus effectively removing it from the market.

      HOW it got from there to being a schedule one drug, no rational being has ever explained……. greedy ones, yes.

      1. Cute theory, but by 1936 brewers were paying a lot of excise and income tax. Since prohibition caused the crash and depression through BOTH the 16th and 18th Amendments, and only the 18th was repealed, the 1937 downturn coinciding with Nazi German rearmament and Allied non-repayment of WWI loans bit into beer income rather predictably. Revenue fell, and that provided a ready pretext for attacking hemp smoking for daring to compete with beer. Brewers had bought that peddled influence fair and square, and were determined that politicians should stay bought. There may have been other causes, such as the need to keep morphine expensive so christian German socialists could quickly rearm and go to war with atheist Soviet socialists–and save Uncle Sam the bother.

  4. We can either let corporate cannabis take control or let the will of the people win the day.

    Johnny Longtorso approves of this message.

    1. Being a Libertarian means getting the government to crack down on icky corporations that we don’t like.

    2. So now he triggered you too?

  5. “Legalization can follow two routes. In one, corporate Cannabis rushes in and seizes a big, new market, driven by a single motive: greed,””

    Hint to low-watt-bulb pols:
    Businesses are started and run to make money, not to satisfy your idiotic hopes.

    1. This is part of the problem – many on the left believe that business is merely an extension of government, and should be used for the “greater good”. The idea of corporations being owned and controlled for the benefit of the shareholders is completely lost on them.

    2. I’m WA, I-502, which legalized pot, was tailored around an onerous regulatory system designed to put barriers to entry on small producers, and favor large corporate entrants to the market. Which is why I opposed it. This has largely been repeated other states who legalized it.

      Isn’t cronyism grand?

  6. To answer the clickbait headline; “because he is a flaming asshole”.

    1. He should see a doctor for that.

  7. Why is N.Y. Mayor De Blasio Yelling at Corporations About Harms Caused by the City’s War on Weed?

    Because he’s a moron?

    1. The politically-correct term is “democratic socialist”. Greedy corporations trying to hang on to some of the money they’ve earned even though the government needs that money more than they do are nothing less than kulaks and wreckers. Look what greedy corporations did to Venezuela for example.

    2. DeBlasio is the poster child for progtards failing upwards. Ideally, people like him should be euthanized.

  8. The war on H.E. Pennypacker continues!

  9. I don’t understand the comparison to Big Tobacco, is Mayor Sandinista arguing that marijuana is dangerous? I’m not woke enough to understand his verbal diarrhea

    1. Or maybe he thinks tobacco wouldn’t be bad for you if it was grown by dirt-poor traditional indigenous farmers.

      1. Not unless he and his corporate friends were able to wet their beaks somewhere down the line.

  10. From the article…

    “…by reversing his own opposition to marijuana legalization (lagging, like most politicians do, well behind public opinion).”

    Lagging behind public opinion is usually the case, ESPECIALLY when it comes to Government Almighty giving up some power!

    In general, though, Government Almighty lagging behind is usually good… Here comes a fave quote of mine:

    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803?82)
    Republics abound in young civilians who believe that the laws make the city, that grave modifications of the policy and modes of living and employments of the population, that commerce, education and religion may be voted in or out; and that any measure, though it were absurd, may be imposed on a people if only you can get sufficient voices to make it a law. But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; that the form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it. The law is only a memorandum.

    1. That is a good quotation.

      1. That’s why he was teaching at Harvard when he was 18 (yeah I watched Jeopardy last night).

    2. “that the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen”

      Which is exactly why we need to throw open the gates of liberty to anyone who wants to come! We NEED more half educated people in our society with vastly different social traditions than our own!

      #OpenBordersAreTheBest

      1. Nice satire by means of reductio ad absurdem

  11. “””Tragically, we know what happens when corporations run the show,” de Blasio wrote.”‘

    Is he having buyers remorse for his deal with Amazon?

  12. All good points if De Blasio wanted to make things easier for the commoners. He doesn’t. He wants to keep enough of them on his side to get re-elected (or at least, no lynched), and the idea that they could possibly do something as complicated as buy and smoked pot without him holding their widdle hands the entire time would never occur to him.

  13. De Bolshevik is the kind of progressive idiot who made black market cigarettes possible. So how will progressive idiots do any better with legalized marijuana?

  14. Let people grow their own and sell it to each other without interference and Big Pot won’t control the whole market.

    But something tells me DeBlasio isn’t going to make that suggestion.

    You want to tax and regulate: you will get Big Pot.

    1. If DeBlasio really gets his way, you’ll have Pol Pot.

      1. People like DeBkasio are why I don’t believe in NAP. They hit, amd I want to hit the, back, decisively, and finally.

        1. There is nothing in the NAP that inhibits retaliation–nor even a defensive response to menacing or attempted aggression. Aldous Huxley had a theory that you have to let the Nazis and Imperials bomb and shoot you, and his “Ends and Means” book drew roars of laughter from Germany, Italy, Japan and Vichy France. Huxley was denied US citizenship because he refused to endorse bearing arms for Uncle Sam and also refused to attribute this to mystical superstition. George Orwell, his former student, harbored no such delusions, and lustily hurled grenades into fascist trenches in Spain back when Ayn Rand was still writing “Anthem.” But politicians are protected from manly retaliation by “shall not be questioned” clauses and armed bodyguards. Better to defeat them with spoiler votes.

  15. “In another, New Yorkers build their own local cannabis industry, led by small businesses and organized to benefit our whole diverse community.”

    “Our whole diverse community” is not referring to the community of pot-smokers or to the general public, it’s referring to the vast but mostly unknown network of grifters and rent-seekers and government parasites known as “community activists”. Translation: Let’s tax the fuck out of dope and spread the money around to all the usual suspects whose main function is to provide reliable votes in return for cold hard cash.

    Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Barack Obama may be the best-known grifters of this sort, but every big city has dozens or hundreds or these little non-profit groups whose primary source of funding is grant money from the government. While the group as a whole is non-profit, the people running the non-profit are not volunteering their time, they get big fat paychecks. And whatever high-minded civic improvement bullshit they put down as their mission statement, 90% of the money goes to those paychecks.

    And that’s all Dei Blasio gives a shit about as far as marijuana legalization goes – what’s in it for me? As long as the lawn order unions were supporting him to keep marijuana illegal he was in favor of that. Once the legalization forces bid up the price, he cheerfully switched teams.

    1. While the group as a whole is non-profit, the people running the non-profit are not volunteering their time, they get big fat paychecks.

      A very important point indeed: some activists handsomely profit from these nominally not-for-profit activities.

  16. Small businesses are run on benevolence and corporations are run on greed, according to Bill DeBlasio. Of course, he is wrong, all businesses are run on self-interest. Any differences are by what each person who runs the business great or small values as being in their self- interest. Though a single proprietor allows greater room for eccentric values of self-interest rather than a large group of owners.

    1. Government is run on self interest too. But with a large private army at its back.

  17. >>>Tragically, we know what happens when corporations run the show

    democrats get elected.

  18. What are you people, on dope? Oh right.

  19. “like rather than letting the market sort it out. ”

    El oh el

  20. Marijuana has popular support and is glamorized in popular entertainment, but vaping….. not as much. I can honestly say that I have not seen a SINGLE moment of vaping in any of the TV show I watch.

    Thus, the government is majorly cracking down on a smoking alternative that’s arguably safer than cigs while begrudgingly accepting pot legalization at local levels. In other words, so many of what freedom or personal choice the government decides to promote is based on popular sentiment or political pressure. No one bats an eye when an American parent is separated from their kids for letting them play alone at a park. If economic migrant drags their kids a gazillion miles across the desert, oh no THEY can’t be separated.

    Blasio is merely giving us a preview of the liberal response once the pot industry becomes the NRA of drugs. And don’t fool yourself, all you need a handful of high profile pot related incidents for the media to float “pot kills kids” narrative all over the air.

  21. “In one, corporate Cannabis rushes in and seizes a big, new market, driven by a single motive: greed. In the other, NY gov’t will tax the sh!t out of it, while strictly regulating who can participate via a blatant ‘pay to play’ scheme.”

  22. one reason they were hassling Garner was because of his history of hustling untaxed loose cigarettes
    What do you mean “untaxed”? Didn’t he buy them IN New York City, thus paying the confiscatory tax on them when they were sold him at retail? That’s been MY understanding. He wasn’t driving to North Carolina and buying cigs by the case at their low tax rate, then “importing” them into New York…. at which point the city would be effectively imposing a tariff upon the transport of goods interstate, clearly contrary to the US Constitution, I don’t care WHO New York’s High and Mighty think they are.
    No, he paid the tax when he bought them by the pack…. or maybe carton. Then he divvied up the price of the pack by the number of cigs, added his markup then resold them. Does Mc Donald’s do any different when they sell a Big Mac?

    No, diBlabbioh simply wants to get HIS dirty mitts in on the game. Watch him…. he’ll do it, too.

  23. Why Is N.Y. Mayor De Blasio…

    Because he’s an enormous douchebag and a lying, disingenuous sack of shit?

    Too easy?

  24. He’ll sing a different tune once the lobbyists show up with the cash he wants.

    1. Locally-sourced, organic cash.

    2. Seeing a brother prohibition extortionist lose after law-changing LP spoiler votes covered the gap is what forces venal mobsters to change their platforms and promise repeal–to anyone stupid enough to believe a looter. “Public opinion” is what convinced even bookies that the pro-energy Trump party would lose the election. You can see what that is worth.

  25. Just two years ago, when progressives were giving me marijauna legalisation as an issue on which they are more libertarian than conservatives, I would say “just wait until it’s legalised — then your side will be all over *Big Pot* and how it needs to be stopped, just like *Big Tobacco*”.

    Yep.

  26. Just two years ago, when progressives were giving me marijauna legalisation as an issue on which they are more libertarian than conservatives, I would say “just wait until it’s legalised — then your side will be all over *Big Pot* and how it needs to be stopped, just like *Big Tobacco*”.

    Yep.

  27. I’m mostly impressed with the “Yeah, baby. Here we go again you white MoFo” looks on the faces of the black women behind de Blasio. He really knows how to galvanize his base!

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  29. Please remember: Blue state politicians like DeBlasio, Cuomo and Phil Murphy in NJ do not support marijuana legalization out of any libertarian impulse, a desire to achieve “social justice,” or any reason other than to tap into a shiny new source of revenue, with a side dish of crony capitalism opportunities thrown in for good measure.

  30. Aren’t corporations selling so much as a paper clip to the Feds forced by law to make everyone piss in a Dixie cup or be fired? What are the costs of only being allowed to hire employees with self-respect and IQ levels too low even for military enlistment?

  31. Wasn’t Garner just selling loose cigarettes? They had probably been taken from a pack of cigarettes that had been purchased at the local Quicky Mart.

    Those Quicky Marts in my part of the country also sell loose cigarettes, for 50 cents each which gives the one that’s selling the loose cigarettes an extra 3
    $3 profit over selling by the pack.

    I imagine that the loose cigarettes in New York cost a buck or more.

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