At an appearance at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) held June 1 – 3 in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams spoke on Friday and told millions of New Yorkers to “light up.” He told attendees to support even unlicensed businesses during the gray area time period until New York’s market matures.
Mayor Adams was announced as the keynote speaker at the New York CWCBExpo in a press release last month. Other headline speakers included Chris Beals of Weedmaps and Nick Kovacevich of Greelane Holdings. In addition, Tremaine Wright, the Chair of the NYS Cannabis Control Board, shared a rule update.
The mayor did not beat around the bush, as conference attendees were anxious to know what the market will look like. “Enjoy yourself, light up, but most importantly—spend some money,” the Mayor said.
According to Governor Kathy Hochul’s fiscal 2023 spending plan, the state is expected to rake in $1.25 billion in cannabis revenue over the next six years.
While New York’s adult-use retail market hasn’t officially kicked off, locals say there are secret and not-so-secret clubs, trucks, and gifting shops open for business all over that have been popping up since the state approved adult-use in March 2021.
The mayor went on further, saying that he doesn’t plan on cracking down during the transition stage which appears to be in the gray area. “‘Listen, you can’t do this,’ give them a warning,” said Adams. In addition, Adams allocated $5 million in funding from his executive budget to provide the needed boost for New Yorkers to apply for adult-use cultivation licenses.
He also hinted that simple cannabis crimes will be dealt with as a slap on the wrist, providing a few hints to the specifics. “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.”
Before becoming the 110th Mayor of New York City, Adams served in the New York Police Department (NYPD) as a cop. In his extended bio, Adams said he chose to join the NYPD because of an earlier incident of police brutality. Adams “was beaten by police in the basement of a precinct house at 15,” but instead of being defeated, he eventually joined the force himself to make changes and decrease the amount of racism in police forces.
Adams even acknowledged the weed trucks that are all over the place in New York City, which are not yet licensed.
“We need to incentivize those who have their illegal trucks or have the trucks going on to show them that this is a better pathway,” he said. “The goal is to not leave people behind.”
The CWCBExpo also featured specialty show floor areas including the Women Grow Pavilion, University Row featuring leading academic cannabis curriculums and programs, and the “LGBTQ+ Proud Mary Lounge.”
A lot of legislative updates were also part of the program. The day before Mayor Adams spoke at the CWCBExpo, the New York Senate, led by Senator Liz Krueger, passed a bill that would have launched a crackdown on illicit cannabis possession and sales. That bill needed approval from the state Assembly before the end of last week to move forward. But Friday came and went, without a vote, stalling the bill until next year.
Earlier this month, New York regulators approved draft regulations that will determine marketing rules under the New York Cannabis Control Board. New York’s market is ready to launch late this year or in early 2023, and New York’s mayor is certainly onboard.