Mayoral Candidate Pushing For 'Social Change'
Independent candidate Jerry Jacobs says social change is the cornerstone of his political platform, and he's pushing the legalization of marijuana.
Jacobs said legalizing marijuana will do for the city of New Orleans what ending Prohibition did for the country in 1933.
Jacobs said it put the gangsters and bootleggers out of business and increased sales tax revenue.
There have been laws on the books against marijuana or cannabis in the United States since the early 1900s, making it a crime to use or sell it.
In the first major debate of the campaign, Jacobs cited crime as his top priority. But he doesn't think using marijuana should be considered a crime.
He wants to legalize the sale of the drug as a way to fight two big problems in the city, including crime.
"Suddenly a tremendous amount of the crime would be out of the city.You'd have many of the drug lords dropping out because of nothing to fight over," Jacobs said.
And the other big problem Jacobs said it would help solve is the city's budget crisis.
"A third of that would go to taxes -- local, state and federal," Jacobs said.
Jacobs is a native New Orleanian who said his family has been in the city as far back as the mid-1880s. He graduated from Newman School, attended Tulane University, did a stint in the Coast Guard, and then returned home to go into the insurance business.
Jacobs said he knows he's a longshot in the mayor's race, but he's using his candidacy to promote social change.
And despite his platform, Jacobs said, "I don't drink and I don't smoke."
He's critical of other candidates in the mayoral race who want to solve the city's crime and budget problems but don't offer specific solutions.
"This is the only specific that anyone has the guts to stand up and say, 'Why not?'" Jacobs said.
Jacobs claims that some high-ranking New Orleans police officers agree with his proposal to legalize marijuana, but he would not identify those officers.
December 22, 2009