Worried about an economic missile being fired by the Trump administration, Governor Cuomo is thinking about reaching for a bong.

The governor, who almost had to be pressured to allow some forms of medical marijuana in the state in 2014, is now directing the state Health Department to explore what would happen if marijuana was legalized in neighboring states.

There would be some irony if President Trump was the man indirectly responsible for legalizing marijuana in New York but federal cuts have the governor worried, causing him to trim the rate of growth for education spending and actually increasing taxes on opioids and insurance companies that would benefit from the new federal tax bill.

Members of the governor’s team may also want some marijuana on hand as they try to figure out a workaround on the tax bill that would eliminate a deduction on people who pay more than $10,000 in local and state taxes. Cuomo is trying to replace the state income tax with a payroll tax – a complicated plan that may not get off the ground because of issues including people who work for non-profit organizations.

Another bong-buster is congestion pricing. The governor seems determined to push forward some sort of plan to unravel New York City’s traffic tangle but the devil is in the still-undisclosed details. And it’s difficult seeing him get behind anything truly controversial – or substantial -- in an election year.

So with President Trump on his right and Mayor de Blasio on his left, the governor is trying to plot a steady course through the middle during an election year. Maybe a little cannabis can’t hurt.


Bob Hardt