Upper West Siders sound off on unregulated cannabis.
On Tuesday night, New York City Council Member Gale Brewer and New York Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal hosted a Cannabis Town Hall at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Brewer’s office recently conducted a survey of the Upper West Side of Manhattan and found 26 unlicensed sellers.
“The NYPD apparently directed precincts not to enforce cannabis laws, the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection does not have authority over cannabis products, and the New York State Office of Cannabis Management only has authority over already-licensed retailers,” Brewer said in a statement this week.
“I urge city and state officials to consider additional measures to limit these stores, such as revocation of Certificates of Registration, a public information campaign to educate consumers on why buying from licensed sellers matters, and the use of public nuisance laws to hold knowing landlords accountable.”
A few takeaways from the Town Hall, which included representatives from OCM, NYPD, Manhattan DA’s Office, DCWP, and the Department of Small Business Services, and Community Boards 4 and 7:
• Rosenthal said that Community Board 10 in Harlem hadn’t heard from the conditional adult use retail dispensary (CAURD) licensee planning to open across from the Apollo. She also mentioned that another shop is opening in the East Village.
• What a game of telephone. The Zoom chat was lit up with confusion from residents who complained that they don’t know who to call to report an unregulated shop or van.
• Melissa Moore, Civil Systems Reform Director for the Drug Policy Alliance, spoke to “ground” New Yorkers as they discussed the unregulated market.
“As we’re moving forward, it’s not just a matter of tapping our fingers and all of a sudden we move into a brand new playbook,” Moore said. “It’s a transitional moment that we’re in right now. And it’s one that requires beginning with an acknowledgment of the deep-seated harms and devastation that has been caused.”
Moore called out former Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the delay in setting up OCM.
“We’re all in this space of playing catch up right now for those months of our former governor really playing politics with what is an extremely important brand new agency.”
+ More: Read Cannabis Wire’s coverage of the CB2 meeting this week to discuss forthcoming stores in downtown Manhattan run by Housing Works and The Doe Fund.
Will New Hampshire join its neighbors with legal adult use?
New Hampshire is surrounded on all sides by jurisdictions with legal adult use cannabis. Its governor, Chris Sununu, has remained opposed to adult use for years, as Cannabis Wire has reported. During his reelection campaign this year, for example, he said in response to a question about his support for legalization that “now is not the time.”
He spoke at length about “the fentanyl crisis” and then said, “No bill has ever come to my desk to fully legalize it,” adding, “never even gets out of the legislature frankly, and so no one can really decide what that would look like and what it might be.”
Nonetheless, a bipartisan adult use bill is coming to the House as lawmakers and advocates in the state prepare for a hefty push in 2023.
The bill’s sponsors are Reps. Jason Osborne and Matt Wilhelm, a Republican and a Democrat, respectively. And the bill includes provisions for both home cultivation and licensed sales, as well as for automatic expungements (referred to in this bill as “annulment”).
Backers of the bill include: Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire, The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Cannabis Association, and the Marijuana Policy Project, among others.
Many of the other bill details are straightforward, according to a summary published by the ACLU-NH: it would create a Cannabis Commission to regulate the new industry, and an Advisory Board to provide recommendations to that Commission; there would be no business licensing cap and fees would be low; it would allow existing medical cannabis shops to convert to adult use for a fee; etc.
USDA awards hemp projects $35 million.
The United States Department of Agriculture has announced the latest round of projects funded as part of its Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. The program was announced in February, and the first batch of projects (a total of 70) were announced in September. The second batch (71) was announced this week, and it includes several hemp projects.
In total, these hemp projects received $35 million.
And, they are ambitious. Two examples of projects awarded this week:
• A project led by Tennessee State University is called “Climate-Smart Fiber Hemp: A Versatile Thread Connecting the Nation’s Underserved Farmers, Climate Change Mitigation and Novel Market Opportunities.” It aims to, for example, “expand the production of industrial hemp as a climate-smart commodity, evaluate its greenhouse gas benefits,” and a major partner is the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
• Another project led by an entity called PlantSwitch, Inc is called “Sustainable Agricultural Solutions to Plastic Pollution.” It aims to look at the “cultivation of hemp as a cover crop” and “to evaluate industrial hemp bioplastics.” Partners include the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University, for example.