Mayor Adams and Department of Small Business Services Appoint Dasheeda Dawson as Founder of Cannabis NYC
October 12, 2022
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim today announced the appointment of Dasheeda Dawson as Founding Director of its new Cannabis NYC initiative to lead the agency’s support for the growing cannabis industry. . Dawson will lead SBS’s strategy to support New York’s emerging cannabis industry through widespread public education, direct services to cannabis entrepreneurs and professionals, legislative advocacy and policy development at all levels of government.
“Our administration is committed to planting the seeds of fairness in a nascent, high-growth industry like the sale of cannabis,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “The fairest cannabis industry in the country will be in New York, and to achieve this goal, we have chosen a proven leader with unparalleled experience and credibility in this space. Dasheeda Dawson will fill the needs of entrepreneurs in this space, and as someone with lived experience who has been harmed by the ‘War on Drugs’, this is personal to her. I look forward to working with her, day in and day out, on ‘Get Stuff Done’ for the New -Yorkers and develop this initiative.
“New York City is committed to building the fairest cannabis industry in the country,” said Deputy Mayor for Labor and Economic Development Maria Torres-Springer. “By appointing an experienced and accomplished industry leader like Dasheeda Dawson as Founding Director of Cannabis NYC, we are ensuring that our goals of economic and social equity will be achieved as this industry grows across the city. “
“Fairness and social justice are guiding principles of the Adams Administration, and that’s why we’re thrilled to welcome Dasheeda Dawson as Founding Director of Cannabis NYC,” said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “Her professional experience as an educator, regulator, entrepreneur and advocate prepares her for this moment. Her personal experience – as someone directly affected by the ‘war on drugs’ – has also uniquely prepared her to lead this groundbreaking initiative. I am confident that with Dasheeda leading Cannabis NYC, we will help countless New Yorkers better understand and take full advantage of this new opportunity.
“Leading Cannabis NYC is an incredible looping moment. Growing up in East New York, I survived the heyday of cannabis prohibition and witnessed targeted enforcement that derailed the lives of my friends and family. I was stopped, searched and treated like a criminal before I even touched the plant, which shaped my initial perceptions,” explains Dasheeda Dawson, Founding Director, Cannabis NYC. “Now, as a cannabis patient, educator and regulator, I can support other consumers, small businesses and local stakeholders in the growing industry so that cannabis – once used to suppress communities like mine – can be harnessed as a transformative tool.I’m excited to be back home, helping to shape an equity-focused approach for the city’s cannabis industry framework that welcomes all New- Yorkers around the table.
Dawson will serve as the primary liaison between SBS, other city agencies, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (NYSOCM), as well as community stakeholders, including elected officials, community councils and industry associations. She will also work to establish and collaborate with the New York City Cannabis Advisory Council, an advisory board of industry and community stakeholders that aims to ensure that innovation and fairness are at the heart of the success of this emerging industry.
“Dasheeda understands what it means to run an urban cannabis program focused on equity and community reinvestment,” says Chris Alexander, Executive Director, NYSOCM. “Her historic work in Portland investing in entrepreneurs and tirelessly advocating in her home state of New York defines her as a national leader in the field of cannabis. She has continued to de-stigmatize cannabis use while promoting its benefits, and I’m confident she will continue to be a powerful ally as we work together to make New York’s cannabis market the most accessible and the most diverse in the country.
About Dasheeda Dawson — Founding Director of Cannabis NYC
Dasheeda Dawson is a global cannabis advocate, Fortune 100 award-winning business strategist, and best-selling author on the cannabis industry. His advocacy and thought leadership have also been featured in multiple media.
Dawson has nearly 20 years of excellence in business development, strategic management and brand marketing while leading transformative organizations in the public and private sectors, including nearly a decade focused on the growing cannabis industry.
As an advocate and policy adviser, Dawson played a central role in the historic passage in 2021 of New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. While fighting for legalization in her home state, Dawson was tapped to lead cannabis regulation in Portland, Oregon. As Cannabis Program Manager for the City of Portland, Dawson oversaw all regulatory initiatives in licensing, compliance, education and equity for the city’s cannabis industry. Supported by the continued allocation of cannabis tax revenues, his office managed the Social Equity and Educational Development (SEED) initiatives, which include the nationally modeled SEED Grant Fund, the first reinvestment fund community in the country tied to local cannabis tax revenues. Under his leadership, Portland approved a multimillion-dollar cannabis emergency relief fund, becoming the first government jurisdiction in the nation to allocate cannabis tax revenues to provide emergency aid and relief to the nation. ‘industry.
Dawson serves as Chairman of the Board of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, a national organization of industry policymakers and regulators often referred to as the primary architects of cannabis fairness and reform in the United States.
Dawson received his MBA from Rutgers Business School and completed his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at Princeton University.
“New York City has long been a national leader in its strong support of the cannabis industry,” said U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler. “Thanks to initiatives like Cannabis NYC, New York has become a welcoming home for cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs, who, in turn, have created jobs and helped New York’s economy. As I continue to fight to decriminalize marijuana federally through the passage of my legislation, the MORE Act, I commend the city for continuing to support the growth of a strong and robust cannabis industry.
“This is a pivotal moment in our history to recognize and embrace the growing cannabis industry in New York City and to correct the discriminatory practices that have impacted our communities for far too long,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I congratulate Mayor Adams on the appointment of Dasheeda Dawson as founding director of the new Cannabis NYC initiative and look forward to supporting the agency’s efforts to secure opportunity and awareness for the emerging cannabis industry. throughout our city.”
“As an advocate and educator, Dasheeda was instrumental in the coalition that supported my efforts to pass the MRTA. She is one of the most capable and accomplished professionals in the industry,” said Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly. “Most importantly, she is passionate about realizing the economic and health benefits of cannabis for the communities most affected by prohibition – a goal we both share. I believe Dasheeda’s oversight will ensure that the legalization of cannabis in New York delivers on the promise of our landmark legislation.”
“Given the recent legalization of marijuana, we must, now more than ever, ensure that there is an equitable distribution of resources given to the communities that have suffered the most from past policies,” said Yudelka Tapia, Member of the New York State Assembly. “The Mayor has chosen the right person by hiring Dasheeda Dawson to lead Cannabis NYC. I look forward to working with her to ensure that all stakeholders, especially those most marginalized under the previous marijuana policy, are now able to function and thrive in a more New York City. progressive.”
“The growing cannabis industry brings enormous socio-economic potential to all five boroughs, and it’s critical that we build an industry rooted in fairness that prioritizes communities that have long felt the sting of unfair enforcement. marijuana,” said Donovan Richards Jr, Borough President of Queens. “With the announcement of Dasheeda Dawson as the new Director of Cannabis NYC, I am confident that our city will take significant steps toward achieving these goals.”
“As we continue to advance our economy, key contributors and veteran cannabis advocates like Ms. Dawson will shape and enable New York City to thrive in its latest economic endeavor,” said Marjorie Velázquez, member of the New York City Council. “Ms. Dawson’s experience gives her the leverage to build a relationship within the city’s multi-agency system and serve as a liaison within the community and NYSOCM. Our city needs people like Ms. Dawson for ensuring that cannabis business opportunities are fair and that there is education about the industry while putting in place provisions that invite innovation and creativity. Congratulations Ms. Dawson, I I look forward to working with you in the months to come.”
“New York City was the former capital of marijuana arrests in this state and in this country the promise of reform will be shaped by what happens in New York,” says Kassandra Frédérique, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance. “For this and many other reasons, Dasheeda Dawson is an inspired choice because as a leading member of the National Coalition to Regulate Cannabis in New York, she understands the intent, the landscape of New York and is an expert She is also a co-founder of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, so New York will not only benefit from her deep expertise, but can continue to learn from others across the country.”