Mike Bloomberg’s cringe-worthy comments about the racial disparities in cannabis arrests were made public via a Feb. 10 tweet—and critics aren’t happy about it. While serving as mayor of New York City, New York, Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policy was taken to the extreme, especially regarding cannabis arrests.
During a speech at Aspen Institute in 2015, Bloomberg told the audience that 95 percent of murders and victims are “are male minorities, 16 to 25.” The billionaire then spoke about cannabis arrest numbers in disadvantaged communities.
“People say, ‘Oh my god, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ [. . .] Yes, that’s true.,” Bloomberg added. “Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods.”
The billionaire then provided his solution: “Spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets,” Bloomberg advised, and “put those cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”
This 2015 speech by Michael Bloomberg, justifying his widespread stop-and-frisk police searches and marijuana busts of Black and Latinx New Yorkers, is appalling. It’s also a complete distortion of criminal justice.
Racial profiling violates civil rights, and makes no one safer. https://t.co/oKcrTosed8
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) February 11, 2020
On Feb. 11, the next day, Bloomberg apologized for his comments about racial disparities in arrests, admitted that he could have slowed down with the stop-and-frisk policy earlier. “I have apologized for taking too long to understand the impact of stop and frisk on Black and Latino communities,” Bloomberg tweeted. “I inherited stop and frisk. In an effort to stop gun violence, it was overused. I cut it back by 95%. I should have cut it back sooner.”
I have apologized for taking too long to understand the impact of stop and frisk on Black and Latino communities.
I inherited stop and frisk. In an effort to stop gun violence, it was overused. I cut it back by 95%.
I should have cut it back sooner. https://t.co/nj2hBJcQP6
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 11, 2020
Bloomberg also called medical cannabis one of “great hoaxes of all time” back in 2013, which wasn’t too long ago. Bloomberg, however, has slightly evolved in his stance on cannabis, saying that he supports decriminalization, as in the case of Joe Biden. Bloomberg also said that he supports states’ right to legalize cannabis at the state level.