New York’s Cannabis Advisory Board – which will decide how the state spends much of the tax revenue from the marijuana industry – held its first meeting Thursday, another necessary step in beginning legal weed sales.
Chris Alexander, the Office of Cannabis Management’s executive director, led the hour-long inaugural meeting, during which he laid out the groups responsibilities and purview.
Alexander told the advisory board members that under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, they are primarily responsible for distributing money in the New York State Community Grants Reinvestment Fund.
Forty percent of the revenue from cannabis taxes and fees from that fund will pay for revitalization projects in communities most harmed by the War on Drugs, per the MRTA. The other 60% will go toward drug treatment and education, according to last year’s legalization law.
The advisory board will also weigh in on policy issues, Alexander said. After the Cannabis Control Board first approves proposed regulations, OCM will solicit advice from panel members during the 60-day public comment period. However, advisory board members don’t have the power to approve or vote down regulations.
Thursday’s meeting came after some lag time. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo declined to make appointments to the advisory board in addition to other key regulatory bodies before he resigned in disgrace last year.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration got the OCM and CCB off the ground by October, but was slower in making appointments to the advisory board. A Hochul spokesperson told NY Cannabis Insider in April that the office expected the advisory board to hold its first meeting in May.
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