Could getting clapped off the legal save NYC mass transit? According to an NYT article, the revenue generated from recreational marijuana in the Big Apple might possibly be the answer to all of our MTA issues.
For sure, us New Yorkers, need an upgrade because our transportation systems are absolute trash. ABSOLUTE TRASH, SON! The smelly metal tubes and slow-ass buses that we have to painfully ride on every day not only suck but they also SUCK.
We are tired of the delays, lazy workers, washed technology, and constant threats of fare spikes. Honestly, it’s time to do something about one of the worst public transportation systems on the planet.
How are we to do this when subway officials say that they need more than $40 billion to modernize the system? Sheesh, that’s a lot of coin! Still, other states that are with the times and have legalized recreational marijuana have used the revenue to fund “initiatives, from schools to transportation.”
In Colorado, marijuana shops made $1.5 billion last year and generated $247 million in taxes and fees. Over the summer, Nevada surpassed their expected marijuana tax revenue of $50.3 million by $5 million.
Michigan is making guap too. Their marijuana market is fully fleshed out as $134.5 million in tax revenues will be flowing into the state’s moneybox annually. Even Massachusetts stated that sales of recreational marijuana exceeded $2.2 million in the first five days of operations.
FREAKING MASSACHUSETTS, BRUH!
The blueprint to save our railways is there and Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, knows that the state of the subway systems is New York’s biggest issue. He said, in regards to funding upgrades to our subway systems through recreational marijuana revenue could be “highly impactful and potentially transformative.”
If New York was to embrace the “waviness” of recreational marijuana the Empire State could stand to generate $670 million in annual tax revenue. Still, before we even start to think that this is a possibility we have to impress state lawmakers, Gov. Cuomo, and a 10 member panel called the Metropolitan Transportation Sustainability Advisory Workgroup.
Still, the future looks promising. Although Cuomo has called marijuana a gateway drug in the past it seems as if his opinion has changed. State lawmakers like Michael Gianaris who supports marijuana legalization would definitely consider the revenue stream. He told the NYT,
“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.”
Plus, Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is a member of the panel and is running to be the city’s public advocate announced her support of a new proposal named “Weed for Rails.” The proposal, she hopes, will dish out half of the revenue from marijuana towards public transit.
Furthermore, a study proves that the public wants this. Support for marijuana legalization has grown to 62 percent. That’s double the support the “Schedule I drug” had from back in 2000.
This without a doubt would work. The public supports the marijuana move and lawmakers have few other options and are under a time constraint. Plus, Mitchell L. Moss, a transportation expert at New York University released a new report proving that mass transit could only benefit from the revenue of legalizing and taxing cannabis.
The report argued:
Subways need a dedicated revenue source with the potential for growth in future decades — one that does not divert funds from other public services, and that has yet to be tapped by the state and local government. The legalization of recreational cannabis offers New York State a unique opportunity to generate a new revenue stream dedicated to mass transit.
Moss told the NYT about another benefit of legal pot — “Maybe you don’t get so grumpy when the subway doesn’t come…”