Reinvest and Rebuild
New York State is 45th in the nation for overall infrastructure quality. 2,078 bridges and 399 dams are structurally deficient and considered high hazards across the state. Roads are crumbling, water systems are decaying, and our public schools are in desperate need of repair. Yet we continue to waste countless resources on a failed war on cannabis. New York is a powerful state that commands a wealth of resources. It's time we started investing where it counts.
New York loses between $1.2 and $1.9 billion dollars in criminal justice costs and lost tax revenue annually. Legalization can bring 100,000 new jobs to our state.
We cannot ignore the situation any longer.
New York Is About Growth
Infrastructure is integral to the New York image. There is not a person alive today who is not aware of the immense skyscrapers and other architectural achievements that have come to characterize The Empire State. But over time, we have turned our resources toward other efforts. Some have been fruitful, but others, like our failed prohibition of cannabis, have caused disaster. The cost of police task forces, prisons, drug courts, and the lives ruined by criminal records is hard to calculate. Additionally, prohibition has driven the considerable revenue generated by cannabis sales into the hands of criminals on the black market.
Through careful policy changes, all of these wasted resources could be redirected into the rebuilding of our great state.
A taxed and regulated system can allow cannabis sales to bring tremendous financial relief to New York State. Colorado drew in nearly $70 million in sales revenue over 2015 - almost doubling their income from alcohol taxes. Colorado is a state that has only one quarter the population of New York. In New York State, our projected tax revenue would come to $600 million per year, money that can be used to invest in our roadways, bridges, dams, and public transport.
Spend Less, Save More
The taxes brought in from cannabis sales are only a part of the financial incentives associated with cannabis legalization. Under such a system, the government would save an estimated $1.2 billion by ending frivolous drug arrests, unburdening our court systems, and lowering the prison population. Police would be able to spend more time investigating violent crime and other serious issues that face New York.