The mayor of New York City says he is looking into the idea of allowing greenhouse marijuana to be grown on public apartment buildings — an ambitious proposal that is unlikely to align well with the federal government, which provides funding to support the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
Mayor Eric Adams (D) discussed his vision for city-sanctioned cannabis gardens on NYCHA properties at a conference event organized by the New York State Assembly of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislators (NYSABPRHAL) on Saturday.
It’s not clear why the remarks were made, but WNYC Reporter and Gothamist John Campbell quoted the mayor as saying his administration wants to “explore the possibility of a NYCHA rooftop greenhouse” to grow marijuana as the state prepares to launch a market for adult use. .
“We want to explore the possibility of having a greenhouse space on NYCHA’s rooftops for ‘cannabis cultivation,'” Mayor Adams says.
– John Campbell (@JohnCampbellNY) April 9, 2022
The deputy press secretary in Adams’ office did not object to the citation when contacted by Marijuana Moment, but referred questions to NYSABPRHAL and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D), who ran face. Representatives of the assembly and the majority leader did not immediately respond.
Peoples-Stokes defended the enactment of state legislation that was signed into law last year and more recently He launched a political action committee focusing on equity She will work to support pro-reform candidates.
Melissa Moore, director of civil systems reform at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), told Marijuana Moment that it’s worth exploring bold ideas when it comes to cannabis.
“This is the moment when we need the City of New York and other municipalities across the state to be as forward-thinking as possible about how to support the implementation of [the marijuana legalization law]especially the social justice provisions that made New York’s legalization a national model.”
It does not appear that the full audio or video of the mayor’s remarks is publicly available at this point, so it is possible that there is additional context regarding the public-supported housing warming proposal. But if Adams is serious about pursuing a planting plan, he may find himself facing the federal government.
While Federals have generally taken a hands-off approach to state and local marijuana policies—and President Joe Biden has pledged not to interfere with those reforms—it might be a different story if New York City began using federally subsidized public housing as a place to produce Schedule I drugs such as marijuana;
According to NYCHA, the city agency “in general Receive About $1 billion in annual operating subsidies from the federal government.” Placing marijuana plants on the rooftops of those buildings while cannabis remains federally prohibited could put those dollars at risk.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is emerging as a private cannabis control agency as well.
For example, the department said last year that it is Required to continue to refuse federally subsidized housing For people who use marijuana, even if they are acting according to state law.
Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a letter to HUD Sec. Marcia Fudge last year appealed to the administration to use executive discretion and not penalize people who use cannabis in legal states. But HUD’s response was clear: He said, “Consistent with federal law, HUD prohibits the admission of marijuana users into HUD-assisted housing, including those who use medical marijuana.”
A former HUD official that Trump hired with the department’s regional official who oversees New York and New Jersey said in 2018 that she was working to Resolving conflicting federal and state marijuana laws It also applies to residence in federally subsidized housing – but none of that appears to be.
Residence policy for subsidized housing as it relates to marijuana remains an ongoing problem, but the mayor’s proposal on rooftop farming raises its own set of unique legal questions. Marijuana Moment also reached out to NYCHA, but a representative directed the request for comment to the mayor’s office.
While HUD may not be willing to exercise discretion when it comes to the federal marijuana ban, it should be noted that the Department of Justice has so far refused to take enforcement action against New York City afterwards. He authorized the launch of the first safe consumption sites in the country Where people can use currently illegal drugs in a medically supervised environment and receive treatment resources.
This is despite the fact that the Trump administration’s Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit preventing the Philadelphia nonprofit from opening such a facility based on an interpretation of federal law prohibiting such services. This issue is still going on.
In any case, Adams’ interest in exploring placing cannabis greenhouses on NYCHA’s rooftops comes as regulators and lawmakers continue to work toward implementing the state’s adult use market.
Recently, the Legislative Council sent a budget proposal to the governor’s office over the weekend that includes provisions for Let marijuana companies take tax breaks from the state Available to other industries despite the ongoing federal ban on cannabis.
Regulators introduced a rule separately last month to make it even people who have previously been convicted of marijuana, or whose family members have been harmed by the decriminalization, will receive First round of licensing for adult retail marijuana Head of a business dedicated to medical cannabis. A recent survey found that Most voters in New York oppose this proposal.
These state actions are important, said DPA’s Moore, “but we need local action as well.”
“It’s not just members of government forces who have been making marijuana arrests for decades — the NYPD has led the marijuana crusade and that means NYC needs to lead the way to repairing damages by leveraging the city’s resources to support social justice at this critical time,” she said. She said.
The state has also taken separate steps to get the industry in a position to supply products by creating temporary marijuana grower and processor licenses for existing cannabis businesses that are taking certain steps to promote equality in the emerging industry. Governor Cathy Hochhol (D) I signed this legislation in February.
As it stands, adults 21 and older can Possession and public consumption of cannabisGift marijuana to other adults as long as it is not reimbursed. But regulators are still finalizing licensing rules, and there are currently no retailers licensed to sell cannabis for adult use in the state.
Hochul has repeatedly confirmed her interest in Effective implementation of the legalization law.
The governor issued a state book in January called for Establishment of a $200 million public-private fund To specifically help advance social justice in the state’s booming marijuana market. This funding, called the New York Social Equality Cannabis Investment Program, is the final component of the Seeding Opportunities Initiative.
Hochhol said that while commercial licenses for cannabis have yet to be approved since the law was legalized last year, the market is expected to generate billions of dollars, and it is important to “create opportunities for all New Yorkers, especially those from historically marginalized communities.”
This was the proposal As stated in the executive budget of the governor, which was released in January. The budget also estimated that New York would generate more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue over the next six years.
Enacting legislation that speeds up licensing can help the state reduce the number of companies effectively using the state’s marijuana law’s legal “gifting” requirement to give up cannabis “for free” if a non-marijuana-related purchase is made.
Organizers in New York recently It issued warnings to more than twenty companies They claim that they are either selling marijuana illegally without a license or exploiting the “gifting” element.
Here are some other ways New York lawmakers and regulators are working to build on legalization law as the state prepares to implement retail sales:
Just this week, a New York senator introduced a bill that would allow regulators to disclose certain information about cannabis licensors to financial institutions — a move aimed at providing banks with additional transparency. Which can encourage marijuana banking.
In February, another state senator introduced a bill that would Encouraging recycling in the marijuana industry Once retail sales are officially launched.
Senator Michael Henchy (D-D) is also sponsoring the legislation, which requires cannabis stores to apply a $1 deposit on any marijuana products sold in single-use plastic containers and also reimburse consumers for these fees if they return the container.
The senator is also behind a separate bill introduced last year that would Prioritizing hemp-based packaging over synthetic plastic for marijuana products.
recycling bill Identical to the provided assembly version Written by Society Member Patricia Fahey (D) last year.
The state Department of Labor has separately announced in recent guidance that New York employers are no longer allowed to do so Drug testing of most workers for marijuana.
Meanwhile, a New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to create an institute for Researching the therapeutic potential of drugs.
Another state legislator introduced legislation in December to Legalization of psilocybin mushrooms for medicinal purposes and establishing facilities where anesthetic drug can be grown and given to patients.
Meanwhile, as New York prepares to launch an adult marijuana market, OCM Significant expansion of the current medical cannabis program.
Doctors will now be able to issue medical marijuana recommendations to people for any condition they feel can be treated with cannabis, rather than relying on a list of specific, qualified illnesses.