Weed For Rails: New York City's Agenda for Cannabis in 2019
By Dalton Rosario
Tomorrow New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) will detail his legislative agenda for 2019, including a proposal for legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults. Medicinal cannabis had already been legalized by Governor Cuomo in 2014 and this past July he passed a bill allowing doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients to treat acute pain and opioid abuse. States notice as much as a 25% decrease in opioid related deaths after legalizing medical marijuana programs. New York currently serves 98,000 patients, with foreseeable increases as more qualifying conditions become treatable.
An ongoing topic of contention brings into question the deeper discussion of when legalized, how should New York’s projected cannabis tax revenues of $1.3B be invested into the city? A pool of lawmakers are advocating for tax revenues to fund the city’s subway system, but legislators have questioned the priority of public transit maintenance to rebuilding the very communities which have been most directly affected by cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs. As written by Melissa Moore, NY State Deputy Director of The Drug Policy Alliance in a recent editorial to the New York Daily News, “Marijuana revenues do need to be directed to marginalized communities, and the people first in line need to be the people who have been ravaged by over-policing and impacted by other insidious criminalization.” Whether for renovating the metro or granting restitutions, one thing is known for certain. City infrastructure and social programs can receive immediate funding when progressive industries that match market demands are not barred by legislation thats implementation denies lawful revenues to the state.