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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Michael Bloomberg’s marijuana record makes me question whether he has Democratic Party values


According to a 2016 Pew Reseacrh Center study by more than two-to-one, Democrats favor legalizing marijuana over having it be illegal (66% vs. 30%). An article I just read (which I will get to) led me to look into Michael Bloomberg’s position on marijuana. What I discovered was troubling considering he is flirting with the notion of running for president as a Democrat.

There’s a lot to like about uber-rich former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, 76, who, as noted in an Associated Press article last week, appears to be seriously considering running for president as a Democrat in 2020. He believes we have to fight climate change, is for gun control, and donates millions to liberal candidates.

He once said about illegal immigration that “we’re not going to deport 12 million people, so let’s stop this fiction.”

He’s come out in favor of federal funding for stem cell research: “Despite its potential, the federal government has restricted funding for creating new cell lines – putting the burden of any future research squarely on the shoulders of the private sector. Government’s most basic responsibility, however, is the health and welfare of its people, so it has a duty to encourage appropriate scientific investigations that could possibly save the lives of millions.” (Quotes from Wikiquotes)

He’s obviously smart and knows how to run a huge bureaucracy. From the AP article:

Bloomberg acknowledged he has already formulated his justification for a presidential bid, but he declined to share it when asked. Still, he offered a message to any critics who might not think he belongs in today’s Democratic Party.

“I don’t think anybody has done more on the environment, on gun safety, on immigration, go right down the list,” Bloomberg said. “I was the one who stood up for gay marriage long before it became popular. I was the one at the national convention who said Trump was a con man. If you find anybody that’s done more on these issues than I have, and the people that I’ve been lucky enough to work with, please give me a call. I’d like to hire ’em.”

Of course, he’s no stranger to self-promotion as his website demonstrates. 

The eighth richest person in the United States just fished $1.8 billion out of his petty cash drawer (his worth is estimated at $51.8 billion) and donated it to Johns Hopkins University gaining himself a lot of free publicity and headlines like this in People Magazine “Michael Bloomberg Donates $1.8B to Johns Hopkins University Amid Speculation over 2020 Bid”

Bloomberg was a Democrat before seeking elective office and then he switched his party registration in 2001 to run for mayor as a Republican.

Then after serving two years as Republican mayor of New York City Bloomberg campaigned to change the city’s term limits law. He was elected to his third term in 2009 as an Independent candidate on the Republican ballot line.

Finally, noting no doubt that the only chance he had to become president was to oppose Trump in 2020, in 2018, re re-registered as a Democrat. He cited the need for Democrats to restore America’s system of checks and balances, obviously referring checking and balancing Donald Trump.

All this led me to wonder how committed he was to Democratic Party values he was, and how much he just was an ambitious politician who reached the absolute peak of the business world and  after serving as mayor of New York City had nowhere to rise except to become president.

It was an article about his position on marijuana enforcement while mayor that prompted me to write this column. It was an article with the title “Teenager Claims Body-Cams Show the Police Framed Him. What Do You See?” ( that led me to discovering that when t came to enforcing outdated draconian marijuana laws in New York City Bloomberg’s position was far removed from the consensus of Democrats that cannabis should be legal and removed from the Federal Class One list as a dangerous addictive drug with no medical benefits.

The article is about an arrest for possession of one marijuana joint which the police are suspected of planting in a suspect’s car and has little to do with Michael Bloomberg per se.

However, the part that caught my attention follows: “The New York Police Department has historically aggressively enforced marijuana laws. Marijuana arrests soared to more than 50,000 a year under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when the police often stopped young men on questionable grounds and searched them for contraband, a practice a federal judge eventually found unconstitutional.” In 2014, the new major, Bill de Blasio took office on a promise to roll back “stop-and-frisk” although as this incident seems to demonstrate there are still problems.

In June 2013 Bloomberg said that medical marijuana was one of the greatest hoaxes of all time.

However, in April 2002 the New York Times reported the following in an article”Bloomberg Say He Regrets Marijuana Remarks:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that he regretted making an off-the-cuff comment about his marijuana use that led to a full-page advertisement, and he demurred when asked if he believed the drug should be legalized for medical use.

He commented as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation began a $500,000 advertising campaign featuring the mayor responding to the question of whether he had ever tried marijuana by saying: ”You bet I did. And I enjoyed it.”

The quotation came from an interview Mr. Bloomberg gave to New York magazine last year before he announced he was running for mayor.

Among the advertisements was a full-page one in The New York Times yesterday. ”What I said back then was the truth,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a news conference in the Blue Room at City Hall.

”In terms of, I had, certainly when I was younger, as I suppose most people in my generation, experimented. I never lie, so if somebody asked me a question, I told them. Do I, in retrospect, wish I didn’t say it that day so they couldn’t quote it? Of course.”

Acording to a story in The Aspen Times Bloomberg called Colorado’s decisions to legaize recreational marijuana stupid. The man who has been strongly pro-science in regards to climate change said “What are we going to say in 10 years when we see all these kids whose IQs are 5 and 10 points lower than they would have been? I couldn’t feel more strongly about it, and my girlfriend says it’s no different than alcohol. It is different than alcohol. This is one of the stupider things that’s happening across our country.”

Bloomberg has been all over the map on the question of marijuana law reform. As reported in The National Review in June 2012 he said “that he would support a proposal by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to significantly curb the number of people who could be arrested for marijuana possession as a result of police stops.”

This marijuana opinion and policy paints Bloomberg not only as something of a hypocrite, but also as out of touch with Democratic values with the majority of Democrats include legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. More troubling is how the enforcement of these laws targeted the minority community.

At present I am leaning towards Beto O’Rourke as a 2020 candidate despite the fact that he lost his bid to unseat Senator Ted. Cruz. In fact, because he came so close to beating him in bright red Texas, his stature on the national stage has if anything increased.

I wrote about how Beto O’Rourke would be a strong Democratic Party candidate if he beat Cruz before the election on Daily Kos with a photo heavy story.

There’s no doubt that Beto’s Democratic Party values are unquestioned and when it come to marijuana, would anybody be surprised or really care if he fired up an Obama Kush doobie from time to time?

A Washington Post article notes about O’Rourke: “He’s Barack Obama, but white,” one Democratic bundler was quoted as saying.


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