N.Y. Mayor Sees Major Opportunities for Marijuana Legalization

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference on Thursday about marijuana legalization.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a press conference on Thursday about marijuana legalization. Michael Appleton / NYC Mayor's Photography Office


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Alaska mayor killed in D.C. … New Orleans delays short-term rental vote … and Colorado city’s grocery tax refund plan.

Good morning, it’s Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. Marijuana leads Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup but scroll down for more from places like St. Paul, Minnesota; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Phoenix, Arizona. … ALSO IN ROUTE FIFTY … Pennsylvania pension commission flags upwards of $1 billion in investment costs for one yearThe Trump administration moves on tougher food stamp work requirements … and tough but important lessons from San Diego’s 2017 hepatitis A emergency.

Let’s get to it ...

MARIJUANA | New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has come out in support of marijuana legalization in the Empire State calling it an economic opportunity for New Yorkers. A newly released task force report looking at the ramifications of legalization also recommends that former marijuana possession convictions be expunged. "Legalization, done the right way, will marry opportunity with justice," de Blasio said at a press conference on Thursday. "We have a chance to create a brand-new industry that will lift up everyday New Yorkers." [The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; CNN; Gothamist / WNYC]

TRANSITIONS | Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has named three “high profile hires” as deputy governors: State Rep. Christian Mitchell, former Chicago Board of Education head Jesse Ruiz and former Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes. [Sun Times] … California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will be putting his ownership interest into wineries, restaurants and hotels into a blind trust. [Los Angeles Times]

TRANSPORTATION & MOBILITY | The mayor of Skagway, Alaska and her mother were killed after they were struck by a tour bus as they were crossing Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. [Alaska Public Media] … The Colorado Department of Transportation will pay for a long-term study of health in three northeast Denver neighborhoods adjacent to Interstate 70, areas that have show higher rates of heart disease, asthma and diabetes. [Colorado Sun] … It’s been 10 years that light-rail has been introduced to Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe in Arizona. While ridership growth has outpaced projections, it’s been leveling off. What comes next for the Valley Metro Rail network? [Arizona Republic / AZCentral.com]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | In a MinnPost interview with St. Paul, Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter looking back on his first year in office, the mayor said this about public safety: “My mantra has been that a public safety strategy that’s a ‘police only’ is like a health strategy that’s ‘ambulances only.’ It’s far too reactive. It doesn’t give us the chance to be really proactive and think about the type of stability that we really want to be focused on.” [MinnPost] …  

CITY HALLS | New Orleans City Council voted to push a vote on proposed new regulations for short-term rentals back to Jan. 10. [The Times-Picayune / NOLA.com] ... Soda tax revenue in Seattle has outpaced projections, generating nearly $17 million in nine months. [The Seattle Times] … The Longmont, Colorado City Council approved a proposal that would allow the development of a program for low-income residents to receive a refund on all or part of the municipal sales tax on groceries. [Times Call] … Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Thursday signed legislation that would implement “Fair Workweek” scheduling starting in 2020, a shift that would make “schedules for retail, fast-food, and hospitality workers predictable.” [Philly.com] … Richmond, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney on Thursday announced a plan to fully fund $800 million worth of renovations and upgrades in Richmond Public Schools. [WWBT] …

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

NEXT STORY: Nine States Lost Population Last Year