Tampa Bay is currently watching several candidates vie for the mayoral seat, and those candidates have differing opinions on legalization of recreational use of marijuana. For the city’s residents, the successful platform could mean the difference between the current relaxed status of marijuana possession and the ability to use marijuana in the city without fear of penalties.

City councilmember Harry Cohen believes the city will benefit from full legalization — and full taxation— of marijuana. Cohen says the opportunity for funds is one advantage to legalization, while the fact that the city’s minorities have been unfairly targeted by efforts to fight the drug war is another reason that legalization would do the most good for Tampa.

Topher Morrison, a small business owner and a second mayoral candidate, has a more hands-off attitude about legalization. He personally has no love for the drug, but he believes other citizens have the right to do as they choose, and the drug should be legalized to facilitate those choices and cut out the potential legal repercussions.

Jane Castor is the candidate currently leading in the polls, and her stance is that since the drug has been decriminalized — equivalent to a parking violation at this time, according to Cohen — the move to legalize is almost anti-climactic. It is a necessity in order to allow citizens to live their own lives with the freedom of choice.

Dick Greco Jr. is also in the battle to be mayor of Tampa, and his position on marijuana is that marijuana legalization is the best move, but boundaries are also a necessity to keep it in check. He has a preference on possession amounts — 20 grams or less — and sales would be kept away from key areas of the city  like schools or areas where youth gather.

Greco is a former judge and has never partaken in marijuana, but with legalization, he indicated that might even change for him personally. In the meantime, he will fight for legalization in order to see the funds benefit the city in a notable way. He believes that would be the greatest benefit of legalizing the drug, since it is obviously already sold and used within the city limits.

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