New York regulators have another reason to legalize recreational marijuana: fixing the state’s crumbling subway system. The tax revenue could help the state have the funds to complete necessary and expensive upgrades. With Democrats leading the State Legislature, recreational legalization could have a fighting chance.
A panel has been commissioned to determine options for paying for the subway improvements, according to The New York Times. Governor Cuomo has hinted that a marijuana legalization bill is in the process of being written. It’s expected to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.
Corey Johnson said, “The biggest issue we hear about as elected officials is the state of the subway system. To be able to tie these things together is something that could be highly impactful and potentially transformative.”
The anticipated cost of upgrades to the subways system is over $40 billion.
Riding the subway may also become more pleasant for some that find it frustrating if marijuana becomes legal – it may help relax riders.
Mitchell L. Moss of New York University said, “Maybe you don’t get so grumpy when the subway doesn’t come.”
Moss is a transportation expert. He’s releasing a report supporting the idea of using marijuana tax dollars to fix the subway.
The panel recommending revenue options to fund the project says that marijuana legalization is in consideration. The group says that it has about a dozen ideas for sources of revenue.
Democratic leader, Michael Gianaris supports legalization and the use of its revenue to fix the subway.
Gianaris said, “There are a lot of needs that we have that new revenues need to be considered for. The M.T. A. is near the top of my list.”
Governor Cuomo’s office won’t comment on support or opposition of using marijuana revenue to make the upgrades. Some statements lead some to believe that Governor Cuomo would be on board with signing recreational marijuana into law. He’s been quoted saying, “the situation on marijuana is changing.”
A train rider Enrique Cruz said, “That would be phenomenal. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s a matter of time. So they might as well utilize the money on things that they have unfortunately neglected.”
It is speculated that multiple sources of revenue would be needed to fix the subway but funds from legalizing marijuana could make up a majority of the funding needed.