Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani in a Capital Tonight interview on Tuesday said he would work to enact a measure legalizing marijuana products in New York, calling it a chance to bring money to the state and signaled he was also supportive of medical marijuana.
"That is something that I would work to implement," Giuliani said. "I think that's a revenue source and I think that's something we need to look at."
Giuliani, a former official in the Trump White House, is among the GOP candidates seeking the party's nomination in the gubernatorial race next June. The field includes Rep. Lee Zeldin, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli and Derrick Gibson.
New York lawmakers earlier this year voted to approve the legalization of cannabis products in the state and the industry is projected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue in the coming years. But aspects of the law are yet to be implemented, and lawmakers who have been supportive of the measure are concerned the program could be delayed given the growing season required to bring a marijuana plant to maturity.
The law approved this year also seeks to strengthen the state's existing medical marijuana program. Giuliani in the interview said he is supportive of medical cannabis, pointing to the experience of a fellow White House official who had served in Iraq and was prescribed opioid painkillers.
"The guy decided to end up taking medical marijuana instead and was able to actually get off the high-risk opioids," Giuliani said. "I think there's a real usage for medical marijuana in our society here, and it's probably a place where I break away a little bit from traditional Republican thinking on this."
Giuliani's campaign has broadly focused on the state's economy and addressing violent crime in cities amid a spike in shootings this summer. He didn't rule out deploying the State Police to aid communities in the effort, and reiterated he wants to repeal laws that ended cash bail requirements for many offenses.
He's opposed, too, to mandates for mask wearing in schools, as well as vaccinations.
"I don't believe in mandates. I don't believe the government should be mandating this," he said. "I think we should be doing the best we can to educate our population."