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How Will Eric Adams Handle Cannabis?

Now that Brooklyn Bureau President Eric Adams has come out on top in the NYC Mayoral Primary, we can be sure that he is set to become The Big Apple’s next Mayor. So, what does this mean for cannabis?


While Bureau President, Adams has made several comments on cannabis, none disparaging. According to a campaign interview with Vanity Fair, Adams is most concerned about public health (especially keeping it away from children) and workplace safety, positions he has held for a while now.

In the June Mayoral Debate, he made the following remarks: “‘I’m concerned about the marijuana laws altogether,’ ... ‘[cannabis] can impact on how you respond, it can impair your judgment, so when we talk about legalizing here and how it’s going to be rolled out in the city we need to have clear instructions.’” Adams went on to say that that he would aim to restrict or ban smoking in certain areas in public housing. Current state law allows people to smoke pot in public where smoking tobacco is permitted.

In 2018, he called on New York State and the entire country to legalize marijuana in 2018 in response to Governor Cuomo clarifying his position on the issue. He framed this call with a reminder to remain “mindful of longstanding disparities between communities across our state in commercial entrepreneurship, criminal justice, and public health,” while having “mechanisms in place that ensure the public is protected from recreational marijuana’s harmful effects, ... [and to] create truly meaningful pathways for historically disadvantaged and persecuted communities to ... [capitalize on a] economic and social opportunity for themselves.” It is clear from these statements that an Adams Administration will not be a hindrance to the cannabis industry and may even be helpful.

His policy initiatives shed some light on this.


Adams’ policy platform

Adams’ policy platform does not mention cannabis specifically, but it does include policy initiatives that will affect the cannabis space.

Strictly regarding business, one policy goal is to “reward businesses that hire local workers and benefit minority and female owners and workers" by offering “tax breaks and special consideration for City contracts,” which is in line with New York’s social equity aims in the cannabis market.

The policy that will most obviously affect the cannabis space is his call for “Tax Free Tuesdays,” a weekly sales tax holiday on in-person purchases meant to boost the profits of small- and medium-sized businesses. Dispensaries will likely benefit greatly from this. One

caveat – this tax holiday will be offset by raising taxes on online transactions “such as streaming services,” but it is unclear whether this hike would also affect online cannabis delivery services from dispensaries.

Adams also plans to have the city Chambers of Commerce handle accounting and compliance needs so that mom and pop shops do not have to spend as much time on those. He also aims to eliminate registration fees for small businesses, as well as use an online system to make the business permitting system easier and clearer.

Additionally, Adams’ administration aims to improve “urban agriculture,” meaning vertical farming and “vast in-city sites” for growing vegetables. Perhaps cannabis can fall under this umbrella as well.

A Mayor Adams would likely be very hands off with the cannabis market, but time will tell.

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