Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Says Cannabis Legalization Will Proliferate Jobs

Governor Katherine Hochul's YouTube

The recently appointed governor of New York says marijuana legalization will create “thousands and thousands of jobs” in the state, and she’s praising her recent actions, such as making regulatory appointments for the industry, for getting things underway. At the Business Council of New York State’s annual meeting on Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul talked about the state’s business ethics and the importance of supporting markets of all sizes, including marijuana companies. She said, “We do want to go big or go home, and I want to help get you there.” The governor went on to say, “I need you to survive because you’re the identity of New York that people create jobs and opportunities. You are who we are as New Yorkers. Your success means the success of this entire state.” 

Hochul concluded, “So count me in as an ally – someone who’s going to be for you, who will fight for you to make sure that we do not lose out to any competition, whether it’s in the space of cannabis, where I believe there’s thousands and thousands of jobs and new industries, to be created that were not even focused on.” The governor had made sure to emphasize her support for recreational-use legalization since replacing former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned due to allegations of sexual misconduct last month. At a meeting on Friday, September 24, Hochul said, “I had to unleash this opportunity that had been stifled for the first five months [after legalization was signed into law] because a few appointments hadn’t been made. Got that done.” She also named two additional Cannabis Control Board members last week, which followed the Senate confirmation of previous appointees earlier this month. 

The newly named regulators do not require confirmation by lawmakers. As stated by The New York Post, the governor reportedly recently dismissed Norman Birenbaum, director of marijuana programs under Cuomo, whom advocates had opposed becoming the head of the new Office of Cannabis Management. Per New York’s legalization law, the independent Office of Cannabis Management under the New York State Liquor Authority was established and will take on the role of regulating the recreational marijuana market as well as the existing medical cannabis and hemp programs. It will be overseen by a five-member Cannabis Control Board.

Currently, adults 21 and older can possess up to three ounces of marijuana or 24 grams of concentrates in New York – and they can also smoke cannabis in public anywhere tobacco can be smoked – but there aren’t any recreational shops open for business yet. It’s great to see states progress forward with marijuana reform to provide further employment for many individuals.

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