Depending on the outcome of New York’s next gubernatorial election, the concept of recreational marijuana may not be too far away. That’s because Cynthia Nixon, the former “Sex and the City” star, who’s poised to be Andrew Cuomo’s primary competition in the race for governor, told those in attendance at a fundraiser Tuesday night that she would work to establish a taxed and regulated marijuana market if she is elected.
“She said that if marijuana is legal, we can tax it and make a lot of money from that,” Julie Klam, an author who was at the event, told the New York Times.
This would be a welcomed change for New York. Governor Cuomo has fought tooth and nail over the years to prevent legal marijuana from becoming a reality. In his opinion, marijuana is a “gateway drug” that only stands to worsen the state’s problems with addiction. This in spite of the latest research suggesting that marijuana could be a partial solution.
So far, Cuomo has not been persuaded to side with legal weed even for the potential economic benefit. The most recent projections show the state could rake in a whopping $500 million in annual tax revenue simply by legalizing the leaf in a manner similar to states like Colorado and California. Yet, fear that this move would turn New York into a society of drug fiends continues to deter the path to common sense reform.
But Nixon, a Democrat, understands just how important this economic relief would be for New York. One attendee told the Times that, “she was very exuberant about” raising revenue through the legalization of marijuana.
Interestingly, Nixon’s comments about marijuana legalization are the first reveal of her policy objectives. Since announcing her candidacy in March, she has not provided much insight over her plans to improve New York if chosen by the voters to hold the state’s highest office.
Instead, her focus has been on bashing the Cuomo administration, which she believes is up to its neck in corruption.
“Cuomo’s time in office has been defined by a string of indictments for corruption, his failure to fix the New York City subway, and his support for a backroom deal which handed Republicans control of the state Senate, resulting in the failure of numerous pieces of progressive legislation,” Nixon said in a statement.
But does Nixon stand a fighting chance at becoming the next governor of New York? That’s hard to say at this point. The latest poll shows Cuomo, who has been running the show for the past two terms, is still out pacing Nixon in terms of public opinion. But this could change now that she has made known her intentions to legalize marijuana.