Ithaca Mayor Calls For NY Marijuana Legalization

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick has called for legalization of marijuana and de-prioritization of criminal enforcement. The first-term Democrat called on the state to approve medical marijuana or legalize the substance outright.

Ithaca is Gorges
Ithaca is Gorges (Photo credit: Laser Burners)

According to, the mayor previously considered making it a formal executive order in his town—that law enforcement make marijuana enforcement its lowest priority. Then, he learned from local police officials that it was one of the lowest priorities. He has since asked the department to focus on more pressing matters like violent crime, “so-called bath salts” and heroin and cocaine trafficking. But, he would like to see the state move forward even further in freeing up cannabis.

“Every year, millions of dollars are spent on law enforcement and thousands of young people — disproportionately young people of color — have their futures destroyed for possession of small amounts of cannabis,” the first-term Democrat wrote in an opinion article published Wednesday in the Times Union of Albany.

“Because of that, I believe that New York should seriously consider legalizing marijuana; taxing it, and regulating it. That’s also why I have directed the Ithaca Police Department to focus on other issues that will more effectively protect the public. Between dealers of hard drugs and stopping violent crime, our officers have more important things to be focusing on than low-level marijuana offenses.”

He has asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to focus specifically on advocating for medical marijuana, saying they could use other states as role models in drafting the laws so as not to make them “too permissive”.

Mayor Myrick is 25-years old and represents a younger generation coming into power—a generation that is mostly pro-pot, and a generation that will be taking over the Legislature and all levels of government in coming decades and years. He also represents a small city with relatively fewer police resources, and a huge college student population.

“As Gallup and other polling firms have shown, support for legalization is rapidly increasing year after year. A big reason for this is simply generational. Mayor Myrick’s support is a strong indication that legalization is coming, and soon,” remarked Tom Angell, Chairman of Marijuana Majority.

As this younger generation moves into power, we can expect attitudes to change. In the meantime, however, both marijuana patients and recreational smokers must be patient.

Possession of marijuana is still illegal in New York, even if it is made a “low priority” by many New York City city officials. If you are facing marijuana charges, contact our offices today.

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