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Friday, February 13, 2015

Gavin Newsom Doesn't Want to Legalize All Drugs, Just Marijuana

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 1:34 PM

As far as an alarming number of San Francisco citizens are concerned, Gavin Newsom is still the mayor. He is not; he's the lieutenant governor.

And as far as some readers of an interview Newsom did this week — to mark the beginning of his fundraising push for his 2018 bid for governor, an office he's coveted since at least 2009 — are concerned, Newsom wants all drugs legalized.

"I think drugs are too dangerous to leave to drug dealers. Time to regulate, time to tax — and time to get our arms around this," Newsom told San Francisco Chronicle political writer Carla Marinucci. This led drug reform activists to press the question: Has Newsom come around to a Richard Branson position and embraced a Portugal-style across-the-board decriminalization?

Newsom, whose own struggles with substance abuse are well-documented, is known for taking outre stances on risky issues, beginning with his early adoption of gay marriage way back in 2004.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein says Newsom's move on gay marriage helped get George W. Bush elected president in 2004; it may have helped fuel the backlash that led California voters to pass gay marriage ban Prop. 8 (it's since been overturned by the Supreme Court).

Now Newsom is the biggest political name to come across in support of marijuana legalization. He's been behind legalization since 2012, when Colorado and Washington proved that legal weed is a political winner. But Newsom has also spoken publicly about how the war on drugs has failed, specifically, the war on all drugs. 

So the idea of Newsom backing legalization of everything, like former Mexican  president Vicente Fox is proposing, is not so far-fetched. That led some drug reform activists to posit this question: Is Newsom for legalization of all drugs? 
But Newsom's drug of choice is marijuana, and marijuana only, his people were quick to say.

"Seriously? Stand away from the Twitter and read the article," said Newsom spokesman Rhys Williams (who also forwarded us a tweet from Marinucci clarifying that for Newsom, "drugs" meant "marijuana).

"It's crystal clear that the Lt. Governor is answering a question specifically about marijuana in this interview, confirmed immediately and unambiguously by the reporter's response," he added. "Unequivocal."

So there's that. Not all drugs for Gavin Newsom. For now, anyway. 
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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