A New York political action committee is collecting money to back candidates who support cannabis equity as state regulators prepare to launch what will be one of the world’s biggest markets later this year. Now we know more about who is supporting this PAC, and which candidates the PAC has supported, so far.
In February, New York Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes formally launched the Equity PAC. Peoples-Stokes, who co-authored the state’s adult use law alongside Sen. Liz Krueger, said at the time that one core aim of the PAC is to create “generational wealth” through the cannabis industry.
While Peoples-Stokes launched the PAC this year, at an event at the Harlem Repertory Theatre with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Assembly member Eddie Gibbs, it was formed in late 2021. And, as Cannabis Wire reported earlier this year, it raised $57,500 between August 2021 and January 2022.
Now, with a July disclosure report showing an additional $46,220 in contributions since February, it has raised more than $100,000 since its formation.
Earlier this year, Peoples-Stokes told Cannabis Wire she had at least one candidate “in mind” for the PAC to support. Now, we know who some of those candidates are.
So far, the PAC has supported three Assembly members’ campaigns, with $1,000 contributions each: Nikki Lucas, who represents parts of Brooklyn including East New York, Inez Dickens, who represents a swath of Manhattan including West and Central Harlem, and Michael Benedetto, who represents a district that includes part of the Bronx, including Pelham Bay.
The $46,220 in contributions included some noteworthy names beyond the cannabis industry, ranging from investment firms to professional sports.
Here’s the list (with additional information provided about contributors where possible):
• $5,000 from Cedric Haynes, the associate VP of public affairs at Weedmaps
• $5,000 from Lynda Carter of Manhattan
• $5,000 from Jon Williams of Buffalo
• $5,000 from Higgins for Congress (Congress member Brian Higgins represents the area of New York that includes Buffalo)
• $2,500 from Patrick Jenkins, an Albany lobbyist who has also served as a political adviser to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
• $2,500 from Paula Gural, of the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre in Manhattan
• $2,500 from Jordan Levy, managing partner of SBNY, a VC firm based in NYC and Buffalo
• $2,500 from Kim and Terry Pegula, owners of the Buffalo Bills
• $2,500 from Coattails Productions LLC, based in Brooklyn
• $2,500 from 99 Solutions LLC, based in Brooklyn
• $1,000 from State Street Associates PAC, which is linked to Hinman Straub, an Albany law firm
• $1,000 from Gia Morón, president of Women Grow
• $1,000 from Andrew Roffe, of New York City
• $1,000 from John P. Gerken Jr, of Buffalo
• $1,000 from Tracy Tress, a lobbyist in Albany
• $1,000 from Frank P. Nemeth, a lobbyist in Albany
• $1,000 from Ron Raccuia, the EVP of Pegula Sports & Entertainment (see Pegulas above)
• $500 from Patricia Lynch, a lobbyist in Albany
• $500 from Katie Neer, the general counsel for Lantern
• $500 from Scheril Murray Powell, a cannabis lawyer in Florida
• $500 from Michael Block, the director of public policy for LeafLink
• $500 from Nicholas Weatherbee, the senior director of US state government affairs for Corning Incorporated
• $500 from Khadijah Tribble, the VP of corporate social responsibility at Curaleaf
• $500 from Dasheeda Dawson, the chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition
• $250 from Joseph Bondy, a cannabis lawyer
From there, $100 contributions (or less) from some recognizable names, like Steve Hawkins, the CEO of the United States Cannabis Council.
And, other than the $3,000 that went to Assembly members’ campaigns, the bulk of expenditures during this period, $55,518 total, went toward four entities: $23,000 to Big Picture Strategic Services (its president, Jennifer Tuttle, is Peoples-Stokes’ director of research and program development); $15,000 went to Nexus Point Strategies, a political consulting firm; ~$6,000 went to TCC Media, a marketing agency founded by Imani Dawson, which oversaw the PAC’s launch; and ~$4,000 went to Sugar Collaborations LLC, a catering company based in Maryland.