Republican gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra wants to legalize recreational marijuana use in New York and use the revenue to fund transportation improvements.
Giambra, former Erie County executive, would dedicate all tax revenue generated by the move to transportation projects, according to the New York 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,” a source close to Giambra told the 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.”
The New York Post reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to appoint a panel to study marijuana legalization in the state.
Giambra plans to introduce a formal proposal on his plans later in the campaign, the News said.
Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, including Massachusetts and California. The News noted that the Justice Department recently announced it would repeal an Obama-era policy that protected marijuana programs in various states.
New York already has a medical marijuana program. The governor has said in the past that he opposes legalizing the drug for recreational use, according to the News.
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb is so far the only other Republican to announce a run for governor. He said he’s open to the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana in the future, but wanted to see more study of the issue first, the News said.
He also said he’d like to see the state create a dedicated funding stream for transportation projects out of existing resources, according to the News.
Two Central New York politicians are considering runs for governor. State Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican, has been talking to party members statewide about the prospect and former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has been toying with the idea of challenging Cuomo in a primary.
She has also been considering running for Congress against U.S. Rep. John Katko.