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NY Attorney General Candidates Admit Using Pot

Photo Credits: Donovan (dandonovan.org), DiNallo (ericdinallo.com), Rice (kathleenrice.com), Schneiderman (ericschneiderman.com)

Photo Credits: Donovan (dandonovan.org), DiNallo (ericdinallo.com), Rice (kathleenrice.com), Schneiderman (ericschneiderman.com)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/WCBS 880) — Two candidates for New York attorney general say they tried marijuana and cocaine in their youth and two others said they only tried pot.

Two other candidates said Wednesday they never took so much as a puff.

State Sen. Eric Schneiderman, 55, a lawyer, legislator and former sheriff’s deputy from Manhattan, said he tried marijuana and cocaine. “Like many others who grew up in the late ’60’s and early ’70s, Eric regrettably experimented with drugs when he was younger,” spokesman James Freedland said.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, 45, told the New York Daily News on Tuesday she tried the two drugs a few times in her early 20s, something she now calls stupid and from which she moved on. She told the newspaper that she opposes legalizing illicit drugs and that she has seen the damage they cause to families, communities and public safety.

“Kathleen said openly and honestly that during college she experimented a handful of times with marijuana and cocaine. It occurred more than two decades ago and she regrets the mistake,” her campaign spokesman, Eric Phillips, said Wednesday. “What’s clear here is that Kathleen is someone who’s honest and that she’s an official who New Yorkers can trust will always be straight with them.”

Rice and Schneiderman are among five candidates in a Sept. 14 Democratic primary to become New York’s chief lawyer and sometime investigator and prosecutor with a staff of about 700 attorneys.

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, 53, the Republican nominee, said he tried marijuana a handful of times in college in the 1970s. “What he remembers most is he didn’t like it. Other than that experimentation Dan has never used any other illegal narcotic or controlled substance,” spokeswoman Virginia Lam said.

Ex-state Insurance Superintendent and former Deputy Attorney General Eric DiNallo, 46, said he tried marijuana once, in April 1984 with his then girlfriend at Vassar College, but no other drugs. He teaches ethics at New York University’s business school. “I did inhale. It was so painful I couldn’t understand why anybody would do it again. Brand me a nerd and we can move on,” he said.

Attorney Sean Coffey, 54, a former Navy flier and reservist from Westchester County, said he never tried any illegal drugs. He went from high school into the U.S. Naval Academy. “The only drugs I’ve ever seen have been in evidence bags when I was a federal prosecutor,” he said.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, 64, said drugs were around when he attended college in the Boston area at Brandeis and Harvard Law School, but he was never inclined to try them. “Not even a little,” the Westchester County lawmaker said.

Two candidates for governor, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and former congressman Rick Lazio, both have acknowledged trying marijuana when they were younger.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)