Some more positive news following Governor Kathy Hochul’s ascension to New York’s Governorship: Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management appointments should be coming soon! On August 25, 2021, the New York Post reported:
“‘Nominating and confirming individuals with diverse experiences and subject matter expertise, who are representative of communities from across the state, to the Cannabis Control Board is a priority for Governor Hochul,’ the new governor’s spokesman, Jordan Bennet, told the Post.
‘We look forward to working with the legislature to keep this process moving forward.’ The Hochul rep said.”
There is a lot to unpack from just a few sentences of quotes. First and foremost, it sounds like Governor Hochul is focusing on appointing individuals with experience in the cannabis industry. Considering the fact that the CCB and OCM will be tasked with creating New York’s (legal) adult-use cannabis industry whole cloth, actually understanding the industry and the practical implications of its rules is critical to the successful build-out of the MRTA.
To that end, there are a lot of potential missteps that could be easily avoided with the right experience and forethought. A few simple ones we are hoping for:
issuing cultivation licenses first so that there is sufficient supply once dispensaries begin operating;
allowing on-site consumption licensees the ability to sell retail cannabis; and
issuing a sufficient number of licenses per license type and geographic area to service consumers.
It is also a relief to see that Governor Hochul will be making appointments with an eye on social and economic equity applicants. Planning to award 50% of licenses to equity applicants sounds great, but without financial and mentoring resources (which are equally important in our opinion) available to equity applicants, the social and economic equity program is doomed to fail. Appointing the right people who represent New York’s diverse communities will go a long way towards prioritizing the things necessary to support the success of the equity program.
As we discussed with New York City Council Member Keith Powers, we were optimistic that Governor Hochul would kickstart the rulemaking process by making the appointments we have all been waiting for. It is a relief to see that it’s actually happening. As soon as we get any indication as to who the potential appointees are, we will provide as much information and background as possible to gain some insight into the industry’s direction. Here’s hoping that the good news and actual developments keep coming.
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