In addition to patching up the broken criminal justice system in New York, Cuomo’s push for marijuana legalization is expected to rake in some serious cash for the state. Apparently public transit fare hikes and astronomically high taxes just aren’t cutting it anymore. Per an estimate by The New York Times, legalizing recreational weed could bring in more than $1.7 billion in sales per year. That’s a whole lotta green.
Cuomo’s legalization plan is expected to earn approval from state lawmakers. Pro-pot Democrats hold the majority in the State Senate and New York City democrats make up a huge portion of the Assembly. Forget a blue wave, we’re sensing a purple haze coming on.
To date, 10 other states and Washington, DC have legalized recreational marijuana use -- some more recently than others -- and even more have allowed some form of medical marijuana use. Each has seen comparable revenue to projections for New York, and they’re not letting the profit go up in smoke. Most have put the revenue toward important initiatives, like schools and transportation, helping the homeless, and funding scholarships.
Although Cuomo’s ultra-chill proposal hasn’t been pushed through just yet, New Yorkers are already making plans for spending all that green. One idea seeing a lot of support within the five boroughs is, of course, using the cash to fix the subway system, which is in need of about $43 billion in repairs (suddenly everything makes sense). Another idea being floated is putting revenue from weed purchased at legal dispensaries back into communities of color which, as previously stated, are often unjustly affected by drug laws.
Cuomo has yet to provide further details on his plans for marijuana legalization, so we’ll just have to wait and see exactly how it will work, where the money will go, and when legal weed will be available across the state. In the meantime, prepare to puff, puff pass some legally purchased pot, New Yorkers.