Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was the only Democratic mayoral candidate at the debate Thursday night who expressed reservations about the impact on New Yorkers’ quality of life amid a new state law legalizing recreational marijuana.
“I’m concerned about the marijuana laws altogether,” answered Adams, a former NYPD captain, at the WCBS-TV/Ch. 2 forum.
“This can impact on how you respond, it can impair your judgment, so when we talk about legalizing here and how it’s going to be rolled out in the city we need to have clear instructions,” Adams said.
Debate panelist Lynda Lopez asked the five leading candidates who participated in the event if they would enact bans for public places including apartment buildings to shield adults and children from second hand marijuana smoke.
While there is no citywide ban on smoking in private residential buildings, there is a law against tobacco use in their common areas.
Only Adams and entrepreneur Andrew Yang said they would regulate where people could smoke pot in housing complexes.
“We should designate particular areas particularly in large apartment buildings that are appropriate for smoking marijuana and not. Families should not be in a position where they’re concerned about the impact of second hand smoke if they’re just walking in their own apartment building taking their kid to school,” Yang said.
Yang added that he was “thrilled” that the state legalized pot.
But civil rights attorney Maya Wiley, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and City Comptroller Scott Stringer said pot and cigarette smokers should be treated exactly the same.
“There’s absolutely no reason to treat smoking a marijuana cigarette different from smoking a regular cigarette,” Wiley said.
“I completely agree with Maya on this we need to treat them as we would treat regular cigarettes,” Garcia said.
“I agree with Maya and Kathryn, we have to make sure second hand smoke is dealt with just like cigarettes,” Stringer chimed in.
The state law already allows people to smoke pot in public where smoking tobacco is permitted. However, smoking weed is not permitted inside schools, workplaces or cars.