Binghamton Mayor Supports Legalization of Marijuana
Binghamton mayor Matthew Ryan says he favors marijuana legalization.
The issue was brought up Tuesday by a caller to WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program.
The caller asked Ryan whether he was for the legalization of marijuana.
After a chuckle, the mayor paused and responded: "Yes, I am."
Ryan said, "If you can drink a quart of Scotch every day and ruin your liver and become a ward of the state, and that's legal as long as you don't get behind the wheel of a car... it's just ridiculous."
The mayor said what he really wants is the growing of industrial hemp to be legalized in the United States.
Ryan described the industrial hemp ban as a ridiculous policy. He noted hemp has many potentially beneficial uses and it's not something that's used as a drug.
While the U.S. continues to prevent farmers from legally growing hemp, Canada and most other countries allow it.
With respect to marijuana, Ryan said it could generate revenue for governments if it was "properly taxed and regulated."
The mayor noted some current and former law enforcement officials around the country have expressed support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Measures to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana were approved by voters this month in the states of Colorado and Washington.
It's still unclear what will happen in those states because marijuana possession remains illegal under federal law.