Cannabis law reform appears as a subject of debate in a New York congressional race

This short article on a Congressional race in the far eastern end of Long Island focuses entirely on the candidates’ differing views on cannabis, indicating to me that this issue may become a subject of debate in the campaign.

I assume that the story results from a conclusion by Lee Zeldin, the Republican challenger, that he can score points against Tim Bishop, the Democratic incumbent, due to Bishop’s vote in support of a monumental, unprecedented bill in the House of Representatives that would restrict the DEA’s ability to act against medical cannabis systems in states where it is legal.

The article is full of dubious characterizations (e.g. saying that Zeldin defers to the states when his position is the opposite: to the contrary, he recites the classic DEA position that we are all enslaved to the FDA), but I consider it a sign of progress that cannabis law reform is now a valid topic of debate in New York politics. By way of contrast, when John Liu and Sal Albanese each declared their support for cannabis legalization as candidates for Mayor in New York City’s most recent mayoral election, the story made no impression.

I am curious to see if this issue appears in the election – maybe Zeldin’s campaign director will decide it’s a loser. If it does appear, I will be very impressed if the candidates can move beyond obsolete catchphrases and instead conduct a real policy debate.

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