News & Politics

NY Senate Warming to Weed to Fill Budget Gap?

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The New York State Senate has rejected a variety of “sin” taxes that Governor Paterson has proposed to raise revenue. The Senate’s budget proposal has neglected to tax sodas, or additionally tax cigarettes, to help fill the $9 billion budget deficit. They’ve also declined to earn additional revenue by selling wine in supermarkets.

But if they don’t want you to buy munchies where you buy wine, the Senate is hoping a common source of the munchies will help fill the state coffers. The Senate has found a new pot of potential wealth to draw from: medical marijuana.

The Daily News quotes Senator Thomas Duane lauding both the ethical and financial benefits of making medical marijuana legal: “It is the right thing to do and there is revenue attached to it.”

According to the News, the Senate Democrats believe $15 million could be raised in licensing fees if medical marijuana were legalized and regulated by the state.

That number is potentially dwarfed, however, by the projected revenues that would come with selling wine in grocery stores. Crain’s New York reports that the “governor has said the legislation could add as much as $300 million in new revenue” for New York State.