City Comptroller John Liu is a long shot to become the next mayor of New York City. According to a recent poll, Liu received only 6 percent support from likely voters. But, a new proposal from Liu just might set him apart from his fellow mayoral hopefuls.

Liu wants to legalize pot.

Liu proposes legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana in New Amsterdam and using the revenue raised to cut tuition prices at the City University of New York.

“Why not regulate and tax it?” Liu asks. “We can derive $400 million in revenues for the city, use that money to cut CUNY tuition in half and reduce the disparate social impact that’s occurring in too many of our communities.”

Liu’s plan comes on the heels of a federal judge ruling that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy is unconstitutional. Stop-and-frisk led to unprecedented low-level marijuana arrests in NYC, disproportionately affecting blacks and Hispanics.

Liu envisions licensed pot retailers, in the liquor store license vein, supplying the city with weed. However, he stops short of allowing New Yorkers to puff in public.

As reasonable as it sounds, all of this is, of course, a pipe dream. Liu is currently in 5th place in the race for mayor (the Democratic primary takes place September 10). Additionally, the New York Senate, which has consistently voted down strict medical marijuana measures over the years, would have to approve any legalization plan.

But for some, Liu’s candidacy will be a success if he can make marijuana an issue in the high-profile campaign.  

A majority of Americans (52%) now favor legalization. And an overwhelming majority of Americans (72%) believe efforts to enforce anti-marijuana laws cost more than they are worth.

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