Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams on Wednesday welcomed Gov. Kathy Hochul’s efforts to fast-track the growth and sale of recreational marijuana across New York — saying, “Bring the joints!”
During a news conference in Brooklyn, Adams said he was “happy to hear” that Hochul had picked nominees to head the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board under terms of the legal weed law enacted earlier this year.
But Adams, an ex-NYPD captain and avowed non-smoker, also sounded a bummer note of caution about all New Yorkers being able to get baked without fear of arrest.
“You know, it’s time. Let’s get this done,” he said.
“But let’s be smart in the process. We should not send a signal out to students, people who operate heavy devices or people who are doing and making decisions that are life-threatening or life-saving — we should not state it’s OK to smoke cannabis.”
Adams, the outgoing Brooklyn borough president, said during a primary debate last year that he doesn’t smoke pot and his office called Adams’ “Bring the joints!” remark a “colloquial way” of saying he wanted to see the regulatory system for recreational marijuana finalized.
Legal weed is expected to generate as much as $350 million a year in new state revenue.
Also during Wednesday’s news conference, Adams said he supported Hochul’s plan for lawmakers to extend the state’s pandemic-related moratorium on evictions until Jan. 15.
“It’s important. A real win. I’m happy the state lawmakers are returning to Albany,” he said.
But in a head-scratcher of a postscript, he added: “This is not only helpful for the tenants, but helpful for landlords” and appeared to confuse the planned extension with the state’s federally funded, $2.6 billion rent-relief program.
The Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord industry group, has threatened to sue the state if the move runs afoul of last week’s ruling by the US Supreme Court, which struck down a 60-day extension ordered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A spokesman said Adams was referring to $150 million in additional money for the Emergency Relief Rental Assistance program that was expected to pass the legislature Wednesday alongside the moratorium extension. Those funds will be used to pay back rent owed to landlords from tenants who faced economic hardship during the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to a question about flexibility in requiring people to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for admission to public places, Adams repeatedly said he would do “whatever the science says.”
“If my health officials are stating that we should be more flexible, I’m all in,” he said.
“COVID is a pandemic and a pandemic should be controlled by the science and not politics.”
Adams also reiterated his support for rolling back elements of the state’s bail-reform law, saying, “We need to make sure that the policy isn’t getting in the way of public safety.”
“If we don’t do that, we can create the crime wave that we’re witnessing,” he said.