Many people turn to dealing drugs out of simple economic necessity. They have to support their children or pay the rent or stave off some monster medical bills, so they turn to slinging a little dope on the side. Hey, we’re only human.
And it turns out the elected officials of New York State are no different. The state government has resisted legalization in the past, with Governor Andrew Cuomo in particular calling cannabis a “gateway drug.”
But now the state needs some money and fast. The New York City subway is, in a word, fucked. With chronic delays, closings, and congestion, news outlets are now reporting that the city’s transit system has entered a “death spiral.”
“The subway service and the bus service has become unreliable enough for people to stop using it,” Benjamin Kabak, who runs the transit website Second Avenue Sagas, told The Guardian. “If people aren’t using it, there’s less money, and they have to keep raising fares without delivering better service.”
Luckily, Andy Byford, Transit Authority CEO, says he’s got a plan to fix the crippled system. It will only cost roughly $40 billion over ten years, according to the New York Times.
Considering that the subway is facing a budget crisis and its fares are down half a billion dollars compared to five years ago, that’s not so good.
Amid this panic-inducing death spiral, the Times reports that state and city leaders have started talks regarding “Operation New Spliff City,” an informal proposal whose name we made up, but other than that is real. The idea is to legalize cannabis and use the tax revenue to help fix the subway.
With Democrats in control of the State Senate after this year’s election, that’s more possible. Even Governor Cuomo lightened up on the anti-cannabis talk during his recent reelection bid.
New Yorkers like weed and they like not hating their subway system, so it could be a win-win.
“The biggest issue we hear about as elected officials is the state of the subway system,” Corey Johnson, New York City Council speaker, said in an interview. “To be able to tie these things together is something that could be highly impactful and potentially transformative.”
There’s still one problem. A report released in June said legalized recreational marijuana would only generate about $670 million in tax revenue each year, which is a bit short of $40 billion. So, legalize crack?
Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot