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NYC Mayor Launches Cannabis Social Equity Initiative

A.J. Herrington

By A.J. Herrington

August 23, 2022

man hands prepare marijuana cigar at home

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City Mayor Eric Adams and city officials announced on Monday the creation of a new program to support the equitable growth of the city’s upcoming recreational cannabis market. A program of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, the city’s new Cannabis NYC initiative will work with industry stakeholders to create good jobs, successful small businesses and sustainable economic opportunities while addressing the harms caused by nearly a century of cannabis prohibition.

“Today, we light up our economy and launch Cannabis NYC — a first-of-its-kind initiative to support equitable growth of the cannabis industry in New York City,”

in a press conference held at Medger Evers College in Brooklyn. “The regulated adult-use cannabis industry is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our underserved communities that have, for too long, faced disproportionate rates of drug-related incarceration to get in on the industry on the ground floor.” 

“Cannabis NYC will plant the seeds for the economy of tomorrow by helping New Yorkers apply for licenses and understand how to open and successfully run a business, while simultaneously rolling equity into our economy by giving those who have been justice-involved and those with a cannabis conviction a chance to succeed,” the mayor continued. “This is about creating good jobs, successful small businesses, and finally delivering equity to communities harmed by the ‘War on Drugs.’”

Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim said that the immediate goals of Cannabis NYC will be to expand resources for entrepreneurs and workers interested in participating in the city’s market for recreational marijuana, which was legalized by state lawmakers last year. The New York Office of Cannabis Management is scheduled to begin accepting applications for recreational marijuana businesses on August 25, with the first 100 retail licenses reserved for those with past convictions for marijuana offenses. Officials expect sales of recreational marijuana to begin by the end of the year.

“Cannabis NYC is ready to help New Yorkers succeed in this budding industry,” said Kim. “New York City and state will work hand-in-hand to deliver on our shared social equity goals, support the transition of legacy operators to the legal market, and turn the page on the ‘War on Drugs.’”

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Social Equity to Expand Industry Opportunities

Services initially offered by Cannabis NYC will include

for new business owners, assistance with completing license applications and supporting documents, connecting entrepreneurs with other free services and supporting job creation. As legal cannabis businesses open their doors in the near future, the initiative will expand to include a comprehensive collection of business and technical support services tailored to the cannabis industry. The city is also exploring how to best connect cannabis entrepreneurs who may struggle to access traditional business capital with financial support.

“Whether you’re interested in opening up a cannabis dispensary or in the many other business and employment opportunities that will soon be available, Cannabis NYC is ready to help you get to work,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “With a meaningful focus on equity, Cannabis NYC will help push our city toward a robust economic recovery with new and high-paying jobs and hundreds of millions in revenue to be reinvested in those communities most harmed by the ‘War on Drugs’ and the current pandemic.”

Adams’ office estimates that the legal cannabis industry in New York City could be worth up to $1.3 billion in annual revenue by the end of next year. Over the next three years, the industry could create as many as 24,000 jobs. By NYC introducing social equity provisions, the city is helping to set a standard that should be implemented on a

level.

“The state’s legalization of cannabis is a tremendous opportunity for New Yorkers,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez. “As such, we must ensure our business owners are well equipped with the necessary tools to operate their businesses legally and that our community’s concerns are addressed in the process. The Cannabis NYC initiative will also allow more equitable and attainable opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners who have been impacted by the Justice system, closing the gap on the disparities faced. I commend the mayor and his administration on this initiative and look forward to working together.”

A.J. Herrington

About The Author

A.J. Herrington

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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