NYC Mayor Eric Adams was at the Cannabis World Congress and Business expo on Friday at Jacob Javitz Center
The licensing system that’s supposed to legalize and regulate cannabis sales in New York isn’t expected to kick off until later this year
In the interim, the Adams said that he doesn’t see a need for ‘cracking down on anyone caught dealing marijuana’
Adams is looking at the big picture and encouraging others to do the same as the the city moves closer to launching the legal market
He also said he set aside $5 million for providing support to New Yorkers on applications for recreational pot sales and cultivation licenses
Adams explained there may be some form of enforcement for those who ‘refuse to adhere to the rules’
New York City Mayor Eric Adams vowed to New Yorkers that he will not be ‘heavy handed’ on illegal weed sales before cannabis is officially legalized later this year.
Adams mingled with the cannabis loving crowd at the Cannabis World Congress and Business event held at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center on Friday.
In late March 2021, former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.
The licensing system that’s supposed to regulate cannabis sales isn’t expected to kick off until later this year.
But as the state has worked to get the licensing mechanics off the ground, dozens of unlicensed weed-selling operations have surfaced in the city this year alone. Times Square in Manhattan is one area that has seen an influx of cannabis trucks.
With marijuana possession now legal, police are focusing on other types of crimes in the city, The Daily News reported.
In the interim, Adams said that he doesn’t see a need for ‘cracking down on anyone caught dealing marijuana out of stores or on the street’ in the interim
Instead of handing out fines or issuing arrests for those who sell weed, Adams is looking at the big picture and encouraging others to do the same as the the city moves closer to launching the legal market, the news outlet reported.
‘There needs to be a system of not heavy-handedness, but going in and explaining to that store that, ‘Listen, you can’t do this,’ give them a warning,’ Adams said.
But, he did caution that there may be some form of enforcement for those who ‘refuse to adhere to the rules.’
‘If someone refuses to get in line after receiving a slap on the wrist for illicit weed pushing, though, ‘some form’ of enforcement may be warranted,’ Adams said.
He continued: ‘If they refuse to adhere to the rules, then you have to come back and take some form of enforcement actions, such as a summons, such as, you know, talking about their ability to sell alcohol,’ he said.
The Mayor said $5 million has already been put aside in his executive budget proposal to provide support to New Yorkers on applications for recreational pot sales and cultivation licenses.
The Friday show that featured dozens of new products highlighting what is hot in the world of hemp also had panel talks about the economic potential of the cannabis industry.
Something Adams is passionate about since he announced in April that the cannabis industry in New York City can help the economic recovery and potentially even the playing field.
‘The cannabis industry could be a major boon to our economic recovery industry, creating new jobs, building wealth in historically underserved communities, and increasing state and local tax revenue,’ Adams said in a release.
‘With a new regulated adult-use cannabis market on the immediate horizon, now is the time for our city to make proactive investments to ensure the people disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of these substances can reap the benefits of the new industry.’
Adams, who encouraged people to spend some money and get high, did joke that he was a tad ‘disappointed’ that there wasn’t ‘a nice scent of weed’ in the room.
Marijuana sales can be a big draw for the city.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration said that once the state’s licensing system is officially set in motion, New York can potentially be looking at more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue alone over the next six years, The Daily News reported.
Adams has been criticized for being soft on the city’s crime as many New Yorkers have been growing weary over the latest spike in violence and crimes on the city streets and subways.
While murders and shootings are down 10 and roughly five percent respectively from 2021, overall crime in the Big Apple is up 39.24 percent so far in 2022.
That includes a 19 percent rise in felony assaults, a nearly 15 percent increase in rapes and a 40 percent jump in robberies.
In January, Adams unveiled a comprehensive plan to combat surge in crime. It included increased foot patrols as well as the revival of a plain clothes unit named Neighborhood Safety Teams.
He also launched his subway safety initiative in April, sending about 1,000 officers into the city’s busy transit system to weed out crime and vagrancy.
And on Thursday, Adams appointed Andre Mitchell as his ‘gun violence czar.’ In that position, he will co-chair a new anti-violence task force with Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright aimed at ending the city’s gun epidemic.
The group will be comprised of Adams’ deputy mayors, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Schools Chancellor David Banks.
‘Everyone that impacts or touches the lives of the young people will be part of the solution of dealing with gun violence because we can’t continue to believe that because you made an arrest, you solved the problem,’ Adams said in a news conference.
‘We want to make sure we give the resources to the people that need it that’s on the ground. We’re going to do more.’