NYC Mayor Wants Cannabis Greenhouses on Public Housing Rooftops
Is this something that can really happen?
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) would like for his idea to put cannabis cultivation on the rooftops of public housing buildings in The Big Apple to come to life.
At a conference organized by the New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislators, Adams revealed that his administration wanted to “explore the possibility of having greenhouse space on NYCHA rooftops for” marijuana cultivation as the state prepares to launch its adult-use market.
However, the federal government is not particularly delighted with the mayor’s innovative plan.
New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA), which provides affordable rentals to people with low and moderate incomes. Some 600,000 people, roughly one in fifteen New Yorkers, live in NYCHA buildings.
Since its founding in 1934, NYCHA has received federal funding. Moreover, NYCHA’s 177,000 apartments within 335 housing developments in NYC are currently in need of an estimated $40 billion in repairs.
With the federal government still strictly prohibiting marijuana –viewing it as a Schedule I drug - operating cannabis greenhouses on their rooftops would not likely be an acceptable gardening scheme in the eyes of the federal officials.
Adams seeks a way to avoid conflict
This week at a press briefing on climate-related issues, the mayor addressed the possible funding repercussions of authorizing cannabis gardens at buildings that receive money from the federal government. He said that the administration plans to seek a “waiver” to avoid a conflict, reported Marijuana Moment.
“We have to get over the federal hurdle because, right now, the federal government does not recognize the legalization in the state,” said Adams, who became New York City's mayor in January. “I believe there’s a great opportunity for cannabis to be grown on NYCHA rooftops, with an employment aspect of it and using the medical cannabis aspect of it.”
Adams said there were many layers to be explored to get the project underway.
“We’re going to sit down with the federal government and federal agencies, [and] see if it’s a possibility to get a waiver [and] how we can get it done," he said.
“We have to think differently about employment opportunities and using our rooftops better. And so we’re willing to try everything that’s possible to get those goals in mind and aligned,” he added. “If we can use it—if the federal government cooperates with us and it allows us to use it—we’re straight ahead to make it happen.”
Mayor’s plan put on hold?
Unfortunately, signals coming from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which provides funding to NYCHA, are not too promising.
A spokesperson for HUD said the mayor’s office has not yet “reached out to the federal agency about the mayor’s idea for public-housing rooftops,” reported Gothamist.
“There isn’t much more to say, marijuana is illegal in public housing,” the spokesperson told the news outlet.
In the meantime the Cannabis Control Board has approved 52 adult-use cultivator licenses across the state, New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced.
By granting the first adult-use cannabis licenses in New York, the regulators are essentially allowing hemp growers to supply the state’s adult-use cannabis industry, which is slated to launch later in 2022.