NYC mayor urges stoners to ‘light up,’ vows not to be ‘heavy-handed’ on illegal pot sales ahead of new law

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has promised stoners in the Big Apple that he won’t be “heavy-handed” on illegal weed sales in the months leading up to the state’s official legalization of marijuana.

The mayor took some time off from solving the city’s soaring crime problem on Friday to mingle with tokers at the Cannabis World Congress and Business event at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center.

Though recreational marijuana sales were legalized in New York by former Governor Andrew Cuomo in March 2021, the regulatory licensing system won’t kick off until later this year.

The red-tape surrounding cannabis regulation hasn’t stopped dozens of unlicensed pot shops from springing up around the city, with Times Square seeing an “influx of cannabis trucks,” according to the Daily Mail.

But while NYPD focuses on a surge of violent crime in the city, Adams said he sees no need for “cracking down on anyone caught dealing marijuana out of stores or on the street” while the logistics of legal sales get worked out.

“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, the mayor warned, those who “refuse to adhere to the rules” may face some sort of consequences.

“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,” he cautioned.

“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,” he continued,” such as, you know, talking about the ability to sell alcohol.”

Adams is a big fan of the cannabis industry’s entry into New York City and believes it will help the city’s economic recovery. He has already set aside $5 million in his executive budget proposals to help New Yorkers with the licensing applications for recreational sales and cultivation.

“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,” he said in a press 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.”

As he checked out the products and services offered at the convention, Adams joked that he was a bit “disappointed” by the lack of “a nice scent of weed” in the Javitz Center, and he encouraged people to pony up some bucks and get high.


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