Just over a week after being sworn in as New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul made two nominations for the State’s top cannabis officials. The Governor has made clear during her short time in office that moving the cannabis industry forward will be a focus of her administration. The New York State Senate’s confirmation of these nominees on September 1, 2021, is huge step forward in this process.
The newly confirmed Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management, Christopher Alexander, was formerly a policy staffer at the Drug Policy Alliance and was heavily involved in the creation of the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (“MRTA”) that was signed into law in March of 2021. He later went on to work in the New York State Senate before serving as the policy manager for a Canadian cannabis company.
New York’s first Chair of the Cannabis Control Board (“the Board”) is Tremaine Wright. She is a former New York State Assembly member from Brooklyn. Most recently, she served as the Director of the Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment in the New York State Department of Education.
With these key positions filled, the next step is for the remainder of the Cannabis Control Board to be selected. The MRTA provides the Governor with two additional appointments to the Board, and the heads of the Senate and Assembly have one appointment each. Once the five-person panel is chosen, the Board can begin establishing the regulations that will govern the adult-use cannabis industry in New York.
Now is the time for New Yorkers interested in participating in the cannabis industry to begin preparing for what is expected to be a rigorous and competitive application process. The Wagoner Firm is well-versed in the MRTA and is closely following its developments in the Legislature. The Firm is available to answer questions and counsel entrepreneurs on their cannabis-related business goals.