Giambra Will March In NYC Cannabis Parade On Saturday

NEW YORK:  It was back in January in frigid Buffalo that former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra called for the “toughest, tightest regulated” legalized marijuana bill in the United States as a way to raise billions of dollars in tax revenue to fix New York State’s crumbling infrastructure.

Giambra called taxing legalized recreational marijuana “a much more appropriate way to solve our problems than raising new taxes,” the first gubernatorial candidate this year to propose legalizing cannabis.  But within days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in his budget plan a study to look at the impact of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The tidal wave had begun.

On Saturday (May 5), Giambra, who is seeking the support of the Reform Party in his bid to replace Cuomo, will lead a group of supporters in New York City’s annual cannabis parade down Broadway to Union Square Park where he will be among the speakers addressing the gathering.

“It is time we join with the other states that have moved to legalize marijuana and take advantage of the enormous opportunity we have to raise money to deal with our very serious infrastructure problems, including the subway system in New York City,” said Giambra.  “We don’t need any more studies. We need to act, and act now, for the benefit of the people of the great state we call home.”

NYC Cannabis Parade is May 5

NYC Cannabis Parade is May 5

The annual event is dedicated to ending cannabis prohibition, stopping racially motivated arrests, and improving the state’s medical marijuana program.  In March, Giambra released results of a detailed financial analysis, saying it showed that marijuana tax revenues could equal $500 million a year.

“That’s about half a billion dollars a year that’s making its way through the underground black market economy which to me makes no sense,” Giambra said at the March press conference, talking about how New York is losing funds that could be put to use helping the state address its very serious problems maintaining roads, bridges, and subways.

“I’ll be marching in the rally with several of my supporters and will address the crowd at Union Square Park as a sign of my commitment to this effort,” said Giambra.  “This state needs to finally join the nine other states that have recognized the great benefits that can be achieved by legalization and begin the road down that path sooner rather than later.  Let’s hope this year’s rally will help stimulate the momentum needed to get our lawmakers to act.”

Giambra, who grew up in a Buffalo housing project, was one of the city’s youngest council members and served for nine years as Buffalo comptroller.  He also won two terms as Erie County executive, running as a Republican in a heavily Democratic stronghold.

“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I have worked very hard to try and help others through my political efforts,” said Giambra.  “I believe we can help a broad section of our population by legalizing recreational marijuana, both medically and financially, and that’s why I’m going to be there Saturday adding my support to the effort.”

Giambra Says Marijuana Tax Revenues Could Deliver $500 Million A Year

New Revenue Stream Could Help Rebuild State, Says Gubernatorial Candidate

NEW YORK:  “Conservative projections of an estimated $500 million a year in initial marijuana tax revenues for New York State could leverage enormous economic impact across the board and help rebuild our state,” says former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, an independent candidate for governor who believes the time has come to legalize the sale of marijuana.

“Nine other states have taken this step and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states,” says Giambra, who is seeking the Reform Party line for governor.  “Other states are poised to take action and according to Arcview Market Research, one of the top market research firms for the cannabis industry, legal marijuana sales were expected to hit $9.7 billion in North America in 2017 (final numbers not available yet).  We need to take marijuana off the black market and cultivate an entrepreneurial economy in New York State instead of crushing our citizens with more onerous taxes to feed the Albany political pipeline.”

Giambra said that based on research he has commissioned that he is releasing today, an excise tax of 13 percent in addition to the existing state and local sales taxes on legal adult marijuana would generate $500 million a year and could finance state bonding of $12.2 billion over five years.

“The money generated from legalizing marijuana would go a long way toward dealing with our state’s crumbling roads and bridges and help with the equally daunting challenge of fixing the broken New York City metropolitan transit system,” said Giambra.  “Legalizing the adult use of marijuana is a cornerstone of my campaign for governor.  I pledge that if I win election, it will be one of my major priorities because of the immediate economic benefits it can produce.”

Giambra said according to his analysis, every $1 billion spent on infrastructure will create 13,000 jobs directly in construction and among suppliers and thousands more indirectly, leading to more than 244,000 new jobs over seven years.

“This is a plan to rebuild New York without continuing to raise taxes,” said Giambra.  “There’s another billion dollars in taxes and fees already projected in the Albany pipeline this year to deal with a deficit estimated of at least $4.4 billion.  I think the citizens have had enough.  Let’s take marijuana off the black market, like other states have, and begin to phase in that new revenue stream and put that money to work for the people of New York.”

Legalization of marijuana also has strong public support as a 2017 Gallup Poll showed that 64 percent of Americans favor legalization, with a majority of Republicans backing it for the first time.

Upon the enactment of the cannabis regulation, Governor Giambra will ensure – if need be, by the power of the pardon – that all non-violent marijuana convictions are expunged and all individuals currently incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes are released as immediately as is practicable. Minorities in New York continue to face marijuana arrests nearly 10 times the rate of whites.