Small Business Services Mayor Adams Names Dasheeda Dawson Founder of Cannabis NYC

October 12, 2022

New York – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim today announced the appointment of Dasheeda Dawson as founding director of their new Cannabis NYC initiative to spearhead the agency’s support for the growing cannabis industry. Dawson will lead SBS’ strategy to support New York’s burgeoning cannabis industry through extensive public education, direct service to cannabis entrepreneurs and professionals, legislative advocacy and policy development at all levels of government.

“Our government is committed to sowing the seeds of equity in high-growth, budding industries such as cannabis sales,” said Mayor Eric Adams“America’s fairest cannabis industry will be in New York City, and to achieve this, we have selected a proven leader with unparalleled experience and credibility in the field. Dasheeda Dawson will meet the needs of entrepreneurs in this space, As someone who has lived experience and was hurt by the “war on drugs,” this is personal to her. I look forward to working with her day in and day out to ‘get the job done’ for New Yorkers and grow this initiative.”

“New York City is committed to building the fairest cannabis industry in the country,” he said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer“By appointing a seasoned and accomplished industry leader like Dasheeda Dawson as a founding director of Cannabis NYC, we are ensuring that our economic and social equity goals will be achieved as the industry grows across the city.”

“Equity and social justice are the guiding principles of the Adams Administration, which is why we are so pleased to welcome Dasheeda Dawson as our founding director of Cannabis NYC,” said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim“Her professional experience as an educator, regulator, entrepreneur, and advocate has prepared her for this moment. Her personal experience—as someone directly affected by the “war on drugs”—has also prepared her Uniquely poised to lead this groundbreaking initiative. I am confident that, with Dasheeda at the helm of Cannabis NYC, we will help countless New Yorkers better understand and make the most of this newfound opportunity.”

“Leading Cannabis NYC has been an incredibly complete moment. I grew up in Eastern New York, survived the peak of marijuana prohibition, and watched targeted enforcement destroy the lives of my friends and family. Before I touched the plant Before, I was stopped, searched and treated like a criminal, which shaped my initial perception,” said Dasheeda Dawson, founding director of the New York Cannabis Company. “Now, as a cannabis patient, educator and regulator, I can support other consumers, small businesses and local stakeholders in a growing industry so that cannabis — once used to suppress communities like mine — — Can be used as a tool for transformation. I am excited to be back home to help shape an equity-focused approach to building the city’s cannabis industry framework and welcome participation from all New Yorkers.”

Dawson will serve as the primary liaison between SBS, other city agencies, the New York State Office of Cannabis Regulation (NYSOCM), and community stakeholders, including elected officials, community councils and trade associations. She will also work to establish and work with the NYC Cannabis Advisory Council, an advisory board of industry and community stakeholders to ensure innovation and equity are at the heart of the success of this nascent industry.

“Dasheeda understands what it means to run an urban cannabis program centered on equity and community reinvestment,” said Chris Alexander, Executive Director, NYSOCM. “Her historic work in Portland, investing in entrepreneurs and tireless advocacy in her home state of New York, has defined her as a national leader in the cannabis space. She continues to disparage the benefits of cannabis while promoting its benefits. Using, I am confident she will continue to be a strong ally as we work together to make New York’s cannabis market the most accessible and diverse in the nation.”

About Dasheeda Dawson – Founding Director of Cannabis NYC

Dasheeda Dawson is a global cannabis advocate, an award-winning Fortune 100 business strategist, and a best-selling author of the cannabis industry. Her advocacy and thought leadership have also appeared in multiple media outlets.

Dawson brings nearly 20 years of experience in business development, strategic management and exceptional 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 advisor, Dawson is critical to the passage of the landmark New York cannabis regulation and tax bill in 2021. Dawson was appointed to lead cannabis regulation in Portland, Oregon, as she fought for legalization in her home state. As Portland’s Cannabis Program Manager, Dawson oversees all regulatory licensing, compliance, education and equity programs for the city’s cannabis industry. Supported by ongoing cannabis tax allocations, her office administers the Social Equity and Educational Development (SEED) program, which includes the state-model SEED grant fund, the country’s first local cannabis tax-related community regeneration investment funds. Under her leadership, Portland approved a multi-million-dollar cannabis emergency relief fund, becoming the first government jurisdiction in the country to allocate cannabis taxes to provide aid and emergency relief to the industry.

Dawson serves as chairman of the board of the Color Coalition Cannabis Regulators, a national group of industry policymakers and regulators often referred to as America’s leading architect of cannabis equity and reform.

Dawson earned an MBA from Rutgers School of Business and completed an undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Princeton University.

“New York City has been a national leader in strongly supporting the cannabis industry,” he said U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler“Through initiatives such as Cannabis NYC, New York has become a welcoming home for cannabis companies and entrepreneurs, who in turn create jobs and help New York’s economy. While I continue to pass my legislation, the MORE Act, at the federal level, Marijuana is legalized, but I applaud 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 New York City’s growing cannabis industry and correct discriminatory practices that have affected our community for too long,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espayat“I commend Mayor Adams for appointing 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 burgeoning cannabis industry throughout the city.”

“As an advocate and educator, Dasheeda was an important part of the coalition that supported my efforts to pass the MRTA. She is one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished professionals in the field,” he said New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes. “More importantly, she is passionate about realizing the economic and health benefits of marijuana for the communities most affected by prohibition — a goal we all share. I am confident that Dasheeda’s oversight will ensure that legalization of marijuana in New York City lives up to the fact that we have The promise of landmark legislation.”

“Given the recent legalization of marijuana, now more than ever, we must ensure that resources are equitably distributed to communities that have been most affected under previous policies,” said New York State Assemblyman Yudelka Tapia“The Mayor has selected the right person by hiring Dasheeda Dawson to head Cannabis NYC. I look forward to working with her to ensure that all stakeholders, especially those most marginalized under previous cannabis policies, are now To be able to function and thrive in a more progressive New York City.”

“The growing cannabis industry brings enormous socioeconomic potential to the five boroughs, and we must build an industry rooted in equity that prioritizes communities that have long felt unfair cannabis enforcement,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.“With Dasheeda Dawson being announced as the new director of Cannabis NYC, I believe our city will take an important step toward achieving these goals.”

“If we continue to advance our economy, key contributors and veteran cannabis advocates like Ms. Dawson will shape and allow New York City to thrive in its latest economic endeavor,” he said New York City Councilman Marjorie Velázquez“Ms. Dawson’s experience enables her to build rapport within the city’s multi-agency system and serve as a liaison within the community and within NYSOCM. Our city needs people like Ms. Zhang. Dawson ensures that cannabis business opportunities are Fair and have education about the industry while creating regulations that encourage innovation and creativity. Congratulations Miss Dawson, I look forward to working with you in the coming months.”

“New York City is the former marijuana arrest capital of the state and the country, and the promise of reform will be affected by what happens in New York,” said Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director, Drug Policy Coalition“For this reason and many others, Dasheeda Dawson was an inspiring choice because, as a key member of the New York State Cannabis Regulatory Alliance, she understands New York’s intentions and landscape, and is a well-known cannabis expert. She is Also co-founder of the Color Coalition Cannabis Regulator, so New York will not only benefit from her deep expertise, but will be able to continue to learn from the rest of the country.”


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