Amtrak is planning to accommodate cannabis users on its traditional regular-speed routes across the country, including on trains that run between Buffalo and New York City. The move is at the urging of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who believes that allowing adults to smoke cannabis on trains will improver the passenger experience and increase ticket sales for passengers that are willing to travel at a more leisurely pace.
Under new federal regulations that Schumer’s office has been working on for months, Amtrak would be allowed to sell cannabis products to its passengers aboard trains — even while in states that ban it. The regulations would require Amtrak to designate some passenger cars as ‘smoking’ and others as ‘non-smoking’. The nation’s railways are federally regulated.
It’s unclear if Amtrak will be allowed to sell cannabis products to passengers inside its stations, prior to boarding.
Many supporters of the policy believe that the new regulations will allow Amtrak to generate new revenue streams by enabling it to cultivating a ‘leisure travel’ market, particularly for long distance sight-seeing routes. Improving passenger volumes on long distance rural routes — which are some of the nation’s most scenic — would go a long way to Turing the system’s poorest performing routes into some of its most profitable.
“I love a wide, slow moving train,” Schumer often quips. “There’s nothing better than being able to put your feet up and enjoy the ride.”
It’s unlikely, however, that cannabis users will be accommodated on Amtrak’s most profitable route: the Acela Corridor. That high-speed service is marked to business travelers at premium price points.
“These regs are designed to help make Amtrak profitable and to give it the flexibility to be competitive as it develops various niches in the market for travel,” he adds. “Particularly among leisure travelers who don’t mind traveling at a more comfortable pace.”