Marijuana legalization will likely play a significant role in New York’s gubernatorial election come Nov. 6, 2018.
Just 24-hours after New York’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra proposed legalizing adult-use marijuana to help fix the state’s underfunded transportation system on Monday, Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo issued a plan that will allow a panel to examine the consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana in the Empire State.
On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo noted that legalization “is an important topic” and announced that he will appoint a panel to scrutinize the issue of legalizing marijuana. No longer referring to marijuana as a “gateway drug,” Cuomo’s newest politically expedient position on legalization was rolled out during the governor’s 2019 fiscal year Executive Budget Address.
Caught between the proverbial rock and a political hard place, the governor noted:
“If it was legalized in Jersey and it was legal in Massachusetts and the federal government allowed it to go ahead, what would that do to New York, because it’s right in the middle?”
The politics of pot heat up in New York State
More politically astute and seemingly more fiscally responsible, Joel Giambra believes New York’s neglected subway system has “gone to pot” and that legal marijuana can help rehabilitate the states failing infrastructure.
Per the New York Daily News, a source close to the candidate explained Giambra’s pro-cannabis position:
“Adult use of marijuana can produce revenue for the state that can rebuild the MTA and our roads and bridges throughout the state,” explained a representative for Giambra. “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.”
Gov. Cuomo announced today he wants to fund a study of legal marijuana, just 24 hours after GOP challenger Joel Giambra called for full legalization.
Giambra today? "There's no more need to study this. It's time to be aggressive." pic.twitter.com/Nn9fF9lpMz
— Danny Spewak (@DannySpewakWGRZ) January 17, 2018
While the debate to “study” or “legalize” marijuana in New York state will seemingly be decided in November, a public opinion survey published in late 2017 indicates 62 percent of polled New Yorkers support the legalization of recreational marijuana.