Adams should focus on law and order, not ideas like marijuana everywhere

Unlike our previous mayor, New York is not a tale of two cities. Rich or poor, black or white, Asian or Hispanic – all are united against exploding violent crime. The city is A story of two mayors develops.

The future depends on which Eric Adams emerges victorious: the one who knows it was him chosen to curb crime and prop up the city’s major existing industries, from Wall Street to tourism, or whoever talks about cannabis and video games.

Both mayors were seen last week.

Thursday at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the South East Bronx, Adams revealed his “Blueprint for of New York City’s economic recovery.”

There’s good stuff there.

Adams wants to cut red tape for small businesses and create a “one-stop shop” for permits. Great – but mayor after mayor has promised that in the past. Let’s see if he can deliver.

And he knows the streets are a mess. “As we move through our city and see [homeless] Camps on the sidewalks, on highways, if our streets aren’t clean, it sends the wrong message,” the mayor said.

But Adams spends time distracting nonsense at best — and actually doing harm at worst.

First, marijuana. “We will have cannabis growth here in town,‘ the mayor swore. “You all know what that is.” The city projects annual marijuana sales of $1.3 billion and promises to help convicted drug dealers get into this legal drug business, complete with free marketing and legal counsel.

It was one thing that a few years ago the city and state said that nobody should go to jail for carrying a couple of joints. And it’s good to say that if Marijuana should be legal, what’s sold should be regulated and free of fentanyl and other more dangerous substances.

Adams' economic recovery "design" for the city includes plans for the growing marijuana industry.
Adams’ “blueprint” for the city’s economic recovery includes plans for the growing marijuana industry.
AP Photo/Seth Little, file

But basing an economic recovery on the sale of a mind-altering substance is a different matter entirely.

At best, selling marijuana should be like selling any other low-margin, processed, regulated, and grown product. We all have to buy tomato paste. We don’t build our economy around it. In the worst case, we abseil New People, including teenagers, to use marijuana regularly due to subsidized heavy marketing.

Second, and less damagingly, Adams wants to “make New York City a premier center for digital game development.”

It makes sense to lure video game makers to New York. Producing a game is like producing a combination of film, commercial and interactive tech app – all things New York City’s creative industries excel at.

But this is not a huge industry. nationwide, it needed about 300,000 people. If New York got 10% of those jobs, it wouldn’t even add 1% to the city’s employment.

Adams is also pushing to bring digital game development to New York City.
Adams is also pushing to bring digital game development to New York City.
Matthew McDermott

Plus, these are the same types of jobs — easily mobile and therefore dependent on where talented, creative people want to be — that the city is already threatening to lose in other industries like Wall Street, advertising, and technology.

Since nobody has to commute to a desk nine hours a day, five days a week, those jobs will go where people want to be, whatever Adams says.

There’s nothing wrong with cheerleading; Perhaps video gamers will appreciate the shoutout. But what does the city need to make gamers and everyone else want to be here?

First, better commutes. Adams doesn’t have a major project for better road or rail infrastructure.

No, he’s not in charge of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. But could he have an idea how it could spend some of the city taxpayers’ money? The city could use faster bus services to connect neighborhoods that are not too far apart.

Second, public safety – which will also lure tourists back. Adams knows that. “If New Yorkers don’t feel safe on our subways, on our sidewalks, and in our parks, we can’t thrive,” he said Thursday.

Yes – but people want to see results soon. So far in 2022 is the homicide rate about the same as last year, more than 50% higher than before the pandemic. The mayor will use his new anti-crime police units this week – and the public will expect quick results or a sharp turn by Adams against the governor and the state legislature for holding up corrections to the “free without bail” laws.

If things get better soon, the public will tolerate Adams’ cannabis and video game initiatives. But marijuana and games can’t save us from the fundamentals problems that got the mayor elected.

Nicole Gelinas is Associate Editor of the City Journal of the Manhattan Institute. Adams should focus on law and order, not ideas like marijuana everywhere


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