City Council President Endorses Marijuana Legalization, Opposing Walsh

Michelle Wu and Councilor Tito Jackson say 'Yes on 4.'

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

The state ballot push to legalize recreational marijuana just picked up two supporters at City Hall.

City Council President Michelle Wu and Councilor Tito Jackson have formally endorsed the legalization effort, in start contrast to Mayor Marty Walsh, who has repeatedly characterized the drug as a “gateway” to more harmful opiates.

Both Wu and Jackson appeared at a pro-legalization rally outside the State House Wednesday morning, joined by 27-year-old Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who also supports Question 4. Asked about this stance putting him at odds with Walsh over yet another issue, Jackson told the Globe: “I believe it puts me in line with helping the largest number of people in the city of Boston.”

“It just seems ridiculous that kids at Harvard can smoke pot and have incredibly successful careers while blacks and Latinos, particularly men and boys, who are using the same substance are sent to jail,” Wu said. “It doesn’t make sense for our criminal justice system. It doesn’t make sense for our economy. Certainly, there are issues we have to work out for our regulation of it, but I believe we are up to the task.”

The band of charismatic young pols faces an armada of bipartisan opposition, including Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. On Beacon Hill, the battle lines are already coming into focus. Ten state lawmakers including Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Jay Livingstone are in favor of legalization, while coalition of 119 elected officials announced their opposition Wednesday.