Cynthia Nixon on Wednesday made legalizing recreational marijuana the first policy plank of her campaign for governor, framing it as a necessary step toward reducing racial inequities in the criminal justice system — and, in doing so, foregrounding an issue that may help her make inroads into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s robust support among black voters.
Ms. Nixon’s stance puts her in contrast to Mr. Cuomo, whom she is challenging for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Cuomo has expressed concerns about recreational marijuana as a “gateway drug,” although in recent months, as New Yorkers have signaled their growing support for legalization, he has suggested he is willing to consider the issue.
In a brief homemade video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Ms. Nixon, seated in her living room, speaking over a faint but steady hum of background noise, said 80 percent of New Yorkers arrested in connection with marijuana use were black or Latino, despite roughly equal rates of use among white people and communities of color.
“There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana, but for me, it comes down to this: We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that…