In a New York Times article that focused on Californians’ laissez-faire attitude about recreational marijuana use, the state’s high-profile lieutenant governor said he believes anti-marijuana laws have become archaic.
“These laws just don’t make sense anymore,” Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom is quoted as saying in the Dec. 20 Times article. “It’s time for politicians to come out of the closet on this.”
The article states that Newsom supports marijuana legalization, and advocates of legalization quickly reacted to the report. The Drug Policy Alliance on Dec. 21 compared the potential impact of Newsom’s comments to the prominence he received as mayor of San Francisco in 2004 when he directed the city-county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Newsom told the Times that the widespread nature of recreational marijuana use among prominent people in society has helped shape the view he is now sharing publicly. “These are incredibly upstanding citizens: leaders in our community, and exceptional people,” he said.
The Times article states that while California has become a virulently anti-tobacco state, marijuana smoke enjoys an accepted presence in locations as diverse as outdoor concert venues and fancy dinner parties in Beverly Hills. Yet California voters narrowly defeated a marijuana decriminalization initiative in 2010, and now the state has seen Colorado and Washington become the first states to adopt marijuana legalization and regulation initiatives via the ballot box.
Newsom told the newspaper that he does not use marijuana.