New York City mayor suggests public housing rooftop cannabis cultivation

New York Mayor Eric Adams has floated the idea of rooftop cannabis greenhouses atop public housing buildings in the city, although federal marijuana prohibition would present a serious challenge to any such effort.

Adams made the comments during an April 9 panel discussion at the New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislators 51st Annual Legislative Conference, according to a Gothamist report.

“We want to examine the possibilities of having a greenhouse space on (New York City Housing Authority) rooftops to grow cannabis,” Adams reportedly said.

“The jobs can come from NYCHA residents. The proceeds and education can go right into employing people right in the area.”

However, NYCHA housing is subsidized by the U.S. government, and federal marijuana prohibition would present a major obstacle to any cannabis-related development on such sites.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told Gothamist that Adams has not presented his idea to that federal agency and reiterated that “marijuana is illegal in public housing.”

In a statement to the news outlet, a mayoral spokesperson said the mayor “wants to ensure ‘those targeted by the war on drugs are first in line to benefit from the legal cannabis industry.'”

However, the spokesperson acknowledged the federal obstacle to such developments on public housing buildings.

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New York authorities recently issued the first recreational cannabis cultivation licenses in preparation for the state’s adult-use market launch.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a marijuana legalization bill, but the measure must still make its way through the Senate in order to become law.