“Conservative projections of an estimated $500 million a year in initial marijuana tax revenues for New York State could leverage enormous economic impact across the board and help rebuild our state,” says former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, an independent candidate for governor who believes the time has come to legalize the sale of marijuana.
“Nine other states have taken this step and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states,” says Giambra, who is seeking the Reform Party line for governor. “Other states are poised to take action and according to Arcview Market Research, one of the top market research firms for the cannabis industry, legal marijuana sales were expected to hit $9.7 billion in North America in 2017 (final numbers not available yet). We need to take marijuana off the black market and cultivate an entrepreneurial economy in New York State instead of crushing our citizens with more onerous taxes to feed the Albany political pipeline.”
Giambra said that based on research he has commissioned that he is releasing today, an excise tax of 13 percent in addition to the existing state and local sales taxes on legal adult marijuana would generate $500 million a year and could finance state bonding of $12.2 billion over five years.
“The money generated from legalizing marijuana would go a long way toward dealing with our state’s crumbling roads and bridges and help with the equally daunting challenge of fixing the broken New York City metropolitan transit system,” said Giambra. “Legalizing the adult use of marijuana is a cornerstone of my campaign for governor. I pledge that if I win the election, it will be one of my major priorities because of the immediate economic benefits it can produce.”
Giambra said according to his analysis, every $1 billion spent on infrastructure will create 13,000 jobs directly in construction and among suppliers and thousands more indirectly, leading to more than 244,000 new jobs over seven years.
“This is a plan to rebuild New York without continuing to raise taxes,” said Giambra. “There’s another billion dollars in taxes and fees already projected in the Albany pipeline this year to deal with a deficit estimated of at least $4.4 billion. I think the citizens have had enough. Let’s take marijuana off the black market, like other states have, and begin to phase in that new revenue stream and put that money to work for the people of New York.”
Legalization of marijuana also has strong public support as a 2017 Gallup Poll showed that 64 percent of Americans favor legalization, with a majority of Republicans backing it for the first time.
Upon the enactment of the cannabis regulation, Governor Giambra will ensure – if need be, by the power of the pardon – that all non-violent marijuana convictions are expunged and all individuals currently incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes are released as immediately as is practicable. Minorities in New York continue to face marijuana arrests nearly 10 times the rate of whites.