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Cuomo-Nixon Debate Viewers Learn How To Say ‘Marijuana’ In Sign Language

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There were a lot of hard-hitting issues covered in the New York Democratic debate between incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and primary challenger Cynthia Nixon on Wednesday night.

But for some astute viewers, the debate also served as a lesson in American Sign Language (ASL). Naturally, we’re talking about how to sign “marijuana.”

As the two candidates faced off—making their case to voters about who would be better suited to represent the state ahead of the September 13 primary election—the subject of cannabis reform reared its head. And, in turn, that subject was translated into ASL.

Take this clip, for example.

“And what I would say is that we’re not talking about children smoking marijuana, right?” Nixon said of her cannabis policy platform. “We’re talking about adults, and we’re talking about that, effectively, marijuana in New York State has been legal for white people for a long time—and it’s time to make it legal for everybody else.”

The ASL interpreter became a hit on social media for her marijuana interpretation.

In case you didn’t catch it from the debate, here’s an instructive video of how to sign “marijuana” in ASL.

Animated GIF

In all seriousness, though, the debate captured another significant moment in the marijuana legalization movement. Cuomo may be the favorite to win the gubernatorial race, but observers have honed in on the governor’s abrupt evolution on cannabis policy in the months since his pro-legalization opponent has started to gained ground.

Some have wondered whether it was really a coincidence that Cuomo, who previously described cannabis as a “gateway drug,” announced the results of a New York Department of Health study on the impacts of marijuana legalization in the heat of Nixon’s challenge.

For the record, that study decisively found that the pros of legalization outweigh the cons, and the Cuomo administration has since formed a working group to draft legislation for adult-use marijuana in New York.

The governor reaffirmed his support for the department’s findings during Wednesday’s debate, also revealing that he “experimented” with marijuana during college. However, he also faced criticism over his stance on the use of revenue from a legal marijuana program.

The debate about cannabis will continue, with contenders from all sides vying for the pro-legalization vote. But in the meantime, at least you know how to sign “marijuana.”

New York Gov. Cuomo Forms Panel To Draft Marijuana Legalization Bill

Photo courtesy of ASLvocabulary.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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