Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to present the state legislature this week with ways to fund the financially troubled Metropolitan Transportation Authority. On Tuesday, he released his $168 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year 2019, which includes a proposal for charging vehicles for driving in the busiest areas of Manhattan during peak hours, with the money raised going to mass transit. According to the Daily News, a Republican gubernatorial candidate has a different idea. Joel Giambra, a former Erie County executive who announced his bid for governor last week, said he wants to legalize marijuana to fund the city’s desperately-needed transit repairs.
Giambra’s formal proposal for legalizing weed will come later in the campaign. A source close to the candidate told the Daily News, “Adult use of marijuana can produce revenue for the state that can rebuild the MTA and our roads and bridges throughout the state. 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.”
Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy, supports it. While medical marijuana is legal in New York, Cuomo has previously called it a gateway drug that leads to other drugs.
Cuomo’s stance on pot might have slightly changed; on Tuesday, the governor called for the funding of a study on a regulated marijuana program. While little details are known now, Cuomo’s budget proposal says the impact of legalizing pot on health, the economy and on the state’s criminal justice system will be the focus of the study. All of the proposals within Cuomo’s budget must be approved by the legislature by April 1.
[Via Daily News]