BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As COVID-19 has created major financial issues in New York State, a solution could come in the form of marijuana. According to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, the next budget could see the legalization of recreational marijuana as it has gained support throughout the state legislature.
"It was being considered even prior to the pandemic but now more than ever, as we're finding how cash strapped our state will be as we run out of revenues, I think it will absolutely be on the table for consideration in the next budget," (D) Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said.
The hope is the marijuana industry could bring in an estimated $300 million in potential revenue. A portion of that revenue would come from Zephyr, a California based company looking to build a cannabis campus in South Buffalo.
"It is a for profit cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, growing (facility), mixed with research and development and an educational job program as well," CEO Brad Termini said.
According to Termini, many states have legalized recreational marijuana as a way to successfully bring in more revenue.
"Other states throughout the country have used cannabis as a tool to not only create new tax revenues and to plug budget gaps but bring new jobs to cities that need it."
Termini says they would bring around 1,000 jobs to the area and could start construction next year if legalization happens. It would need to be placed in the budget and discussed by the state legislature when they are back in session sometimes early 2021.