- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday revealed an evolving stance on marijuana legalization closer to those held by the former New York mayor’s fellow Democratic presidential contenders.

Mr. Bloomberg “believes no one should have their life ruined by getting arrested for possession, and, as a part of his reform efforts that drove incarceration down by 40%, he worked to get New York State laws changed to end low-level possession arrests,” said campaign spokesman Marc LaVorgna, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“He believes in decriminalization and doesn’t believe the federal government should interfere with states that have already legalized,” Mr. LaVorgna reportedly said.

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Mr. Bloomberg officially entered the 2020 race late last month with less than a year left for Democrats to pick and run a candidate against President Trump.

Virtually all major contenders for the Democratic nomination have previously said they favor either decriminalizing marijuana possession or outright ending the federal prohibition on pot, though Mr. Bloomberg has until now expressed a comparatively different stance. He has repeatedly been critical in the past of efforts by states to legalize marijuana, saying as recently as January that it is “perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done.”

“I do not think that decriminalizing marijuana is a good idea,” Mr. Bloomberg said in 2002, his first year as mayor of America’s largest city. He served a total of three terms and was succeeded in office by the current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a former 2020 presidential hopeful.

Marijuana is federally outlawed on account of being categorized as a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. Thirty-three states have passed laws legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana, however, including 11 that also let adults use pot for recreational purposes.

Roughly three-quarters of Americans support legalizing marijuana, according to the results of a Pew Research Center study released last month.

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