Giambra Introduces Marijuana Infrastructure Program

Taxes on marijuana projected to generate $500 million per year

Mike Baggerman
March 14, 2018 - 3:47 pm

Gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra at Hotel Henry on March 14, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Former Erie County Executive and independent gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra announced his marijuana infrastructure program on Wednesday afternoon.

Giambra's proposal includes a 13 percent tax on cannabis for permits and licensing fees plus an additional 7 percent state and local sales tax. He projects that the funds could generate $500 million annually for the state government. The revenue, according to Giambra, will fund state bonding for critical infrastructure improvements in an estimated amount of $12.2 billion over five years.

"I am a very strong proponent of legalizing adult use of marijuana for people ages 21 and over," Giambra said.

Giambra said there's a social justice component of his proposal.

"Many minority folks have been arrested disproportionately for smoking marijuana and having small amounts of marijuana ," Giambra said. "My plan would be very shortly after taking office of governor, to expunge the criminal records of individauls and to let folks out of jail who really, probably didn't need to be there in the first place, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars per year for low-level crimes they should have never gone to jail for."

Giambra announced on March 1 that he would not run for New York State Governor as a republican. With the incumbent governor, Andrew Cuomo, likely to win the democratic primary, Giambra plans to stay in the race as an independent. He said that the MTA in New York City has serious infrastructure problems and his moderate line will be able to unite differing viewpoints between democrats and republicans in New York.

"My odds are very good to win or else I wouldn't be pursuing this course," Giambra said. "When I ran for city council member at the age of 21 people said you couldn't do it. It's too tough. You're too young. When I became city comptroller, people said you would never win a city-wide election. I proved them wrong. When I ran for county executive in 1999 and became a republican in a county that had a 3.5-to-1 more democrats than republican. The pundits said you can't win. Well, we're going to prove them wrong, again."

LISTEN: Joel Giambra on his marijuana infrastructure program

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