Exactly five months after the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), on Tuesday, August 31st, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she is convening an Extraordinary Session of the Legislature to announce her nominees to head the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board (CCB), which governs the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).
The OCM is the agency that will regulate cannabis and will issue licenses and develop regulations outlining how and when businesses can participate in the new industry. Unlike her predecessor, Hochul has indicated that she wants to move “with some expediency” in standing up the state’s cannabis program, stating that she wanted “to jumpstart the long-overdue decisions pertaining to establishing cannabis in the state of New York.” “There was no reason why simple announcements, in terms of who the executive director is and who the chairperson is, were not done in time. But I’m going to make up for that lost time,” she said. Hochul is reportedly picking a former Drug Policy Alliance staffer to be executive director of the OCM. Both nominees will require approval from the State Senate. Once the appointees are confirmed, the long delayed regulatory process will commence soon after, and the hard work of ironing out the final regulatory details of the cannabis program in New York begins.