Actress Cynthia Nixon, who has aspirations of winning New York’s gubernatorial Democratic primary, has made a series of comments about race and marijuana that have created a political firestorm.
“Now that cannabis is exploding as an industry, we have to make sure that those communities that have been harmed and devastated by marijuana arrests get the first shot at this industry,” Nixon told Forbes in an interview last week. “We [must] prioritize them in terms of licenses. It’s a form of reparations.”
“The reality is that for many white people, marijuana has effectively been legal for years,” Nixon has wrote on her website. “It’s time to legalize it for everyone else. We have to stop putting black people in prison for something that white people do with impunity.”
Nixon’s “form of reparations” comments have sparked backlash from some African Americans.
Rev. Al Sharpton says he agrees with legalizing marijuana, but “putting pot shops in our (Black) communities is not reparations” and adds the community should receive first dibs on “education and healthcare” instead.
Black Lives Matter of Greater New York posted a statement on Facebook claiming Nixon’s comments “does a disservice to our community for her to play into harmful stereotypes of African-Americans as drug users and dealers” and “it does an even greater disservice to the enduring consequences of both slavery and Jim Crow and the inequities these systems of oppression perpetuated to claim that legalizing marijuana would somehow erase that experience.”
Nixon also made news recently during the state’s annual Legislative Correspondents Association by quipping ‘Vote for the homo, not for Cuomo’, a reference to fliers that questioned Ed Koch’s sexual orientation during the contentious 1977 New York mayoral race against Cuomo’s father, Mario.
Nixon also made political jabs at Eric Schneiderman, the former New York General Attorney who is under scrutiny following physical abuse allegations from four women – calling for his resignation.
Shneiderman has since stepped down, but Nixon says the investigation should continue.
Nixon hopes to take Cuomo on during a one-on-one debate on ABC News affiliate, WABC.