The Cannabis World Congress (CWC) Expo returned to the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan to showcase the cannabis industry and featured NYC Mayor Eric Adams encouraging adult-use cannabis consumption.
Upon arriving on stage at the CWC Expo, New York City Mayor Eric Adams joked he was disappointed the hall didn’t smell like weed. He made it clear he was eager to welcome the cannabis industry.
“Enjoy yourself, light up, and most importantly, spend some money. We want your money. Thank you,” Adams said.
Then activist Norman Scherer lit up a joint and smoked and was followed out of the room by a hoard of photographers. He later reported the Javitts Center did not throw him out. However, they only allowed smoking outside of the property on the sidewalks and enforced the border.
A lot of the conference featured discussions of the budding New York adult-use cannabis market which New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has been advancing quickly upon assumption of office last August. Hochul has been eager to distance herself and build a record in the wake of her upcoming election to the position she now holds as a result of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal and resignation.
On one panel, New York officials were eager to address the most significant issues with the cannabis market by lowering the barriers to entry to the market, prioritizing felons in licensing, helping entrepreneurs with education, shifting a state agency to help license holders find a location and a $200 million Social Equity fund.
To advance the market New York’s Office of Cannabis Management run by the New York Cannabis Control Board has already issued many adult-use cannabis licenses.
8th annual CWC Features Redman Discussing Cannabis
Newark native Redman (born Reginald Noble) and former High Times Editor and CelebStoner.com publisher Steve Bloom were featured on a panel and discussed their involvement in cannabis.
Redman is an Entertainer and co-founder of a third political party National Cannabis Party (NCP) founded to promote federal cannabis legalization. He is also
eager to be an operator in New Jersey’s budding adult-use cannabis market. He is already familiar with some of the players.
“Shout out to my boy Leo Bridgewater,” Redman said from the stage.
While he wants a license in the Garden State, however, he has not applied yet.
“I want something that’s going to help like a lab,” Redman said about the nature of the New Jersey adult-use cannabis license he wants.
“Before things were legalized they were here,” Bloom said about Redman and rappers highlighting their enjoyment of cannabis. He noted they had known each other since 1993 when Redman was among the first rappers to openly embrace cannabis.
“Back in the early ’90s our weed was brown most of the time. Only kind of green we had was skunk,” Redman said. “But it was good. That’s what we dealt with.”
Redman spoke fondly of seeing High Times in high school.
“That weed was green as fuck and I had to be part of it,” he said about their pictures.
Bloom noted Redman was featured on High Times’ hip hop-themed issue cover.
“You kind of blew it away. The marijuana movement was pretty White until then. Hip hop changed it all,” he said.
“Hip hop is a universal language. Smoking cannabis is a universal language,” Redman said. “Everyone around the world smokes.”
“I’m a fan of Animal House. There hadn’t been a movie college smoking ever. We gotta do the first one ever,” Redman recounted. “I always wanted to be like Cheech and Chong. I was a fan of their movies. I was a fan of how they did it independently.”
While Redman was very happy how the production of How High, he was not about its sequel in which he is not featured.
“We needed the support of a bigger machine. We didn’t own anything of the movie. So we wasn’t able to dictate How High 2 should be.”
Redman now wants to make a better sequel featuring himself and his longtime collaborator Method Man who was featured in The Wire as the Baltimore gangster Cheese.
He noted when they first started working together, they drove across country on a promotional tour. While in the van they would consume cannabis and write music together.
Redman was optimistic about the future of cannabis in the United States noting that Gary Chambers is running to be a U.S. Senator from Louisiana as a Democrat on a strong pro-cannabis platform and smoked a blunt in a campaign ad.
The CWC’s tradeshow floor featured many ancillaries and B2B companies eager to meet cannabis license holders. There was a strong showing of cannabis companies from many entrepreneurs including minorities, especially in the WomenGrow section.
Since June is LGBTQ Pride month, the CWC featured had a safe space lounge sponsored by the cannabis company Proud Mary that was unfortunately not a cannabis consumption lounge.