A New York gubernatorial candidate wants to use the economy-boosting effects of cannabis to raise money for massive infrastructure repairs.
Joel Giambra is a rare breed among politicians who support the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis. Formerly he was an Erie County executive who cut public service finds and employees. However, the public’s view of him began to change in 2006, when he wrote an op-ed in the Buffalo News which criticized the “War on Drugs” calling for decriminalization. He also has since joined the pro-advocacy group NY Grows.
“Adult use of marijuana can produce revenue for the state that can rebuild the MTA and our roads and bridges throughout the state,” a source close to Giambra told the New York Daily News. “Many of our neighboring states now allow for adult use and New York will miss out on billions in revenue and further expand the black market.”
There are many ways that cannabis can benefit the state of new York. The New York Times found that after adjusting for inflation, the budget for the subway system has not changed in 25 years, though daily ridership has risen in that time to 5.7 million. The largest rapid transit system in the world with 472 stations in operation, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency after a series of derailments, track fires and overcrowding incidents. Gov. Cuomo currently opposes cannabis legalization in the state.
In other states, legal cannabis has become a rich budget resource. As of the summer of 2017, Colorado has made half a billion dollars in tax revenue from state and local coffers. When voters initially supported legalization, it was estimated that legalize cannabis it would bring between $5 and $22 million in revenue. Since legalization went into effect in Oregon, the state has gained six times the amount of revenue in 2016 after legalizing cannabis in the state.