New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has made four appointments to New York’s newly-formed Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins appointed former Sen. Jen Metzger. Christopher Alexander was named executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie appointed Adam Perry to the Cannabis Control Board. Former Brooklyn assemblywoman Tremaine Wright, Hochul’s pick, was confirmed by the state senate as the Cannabis Control Board Chair.
Sen. Diane Savino is a long-time proponent of medical and recreational marijuana, said Wright had “no experience in cannabis” she was confident she would learn as she goes and voted in favor of her appointment. Moreover,t Savino is pleased that appointments are happening, and said Hochul is “definitely committed” to moving the state closer to having a put-together program.
“We have to figure out how to do we make people do something they haven’t done it before, which is walking into a store and buy [marijuana],” said Sen. Diane Savino, a long-time proponent of medical and recreational marijuana.
Savino encourages all appointees to visit other states and speak with advocates, industry people, and small business owners and entrepreneurs to learn from their past mistakes and successes.
“One of the reasons why I suggest they go and meet with other states because many of the other states, they ignored that problem and they have wound up in a scenario where the illegal marketplace is thriving,” Savino said. “That’s not helpful. You can’t overtax and over-regulate so much that people won’t walk into a dispensary when they [can] call their guy and they bring it to the front door.”
An important component to launching a successful cannabis industry for Savino is equity and equality.
“I’ve spent so much time working on this issue and I’ve seen so many states put forward these plans to create programs that are supposed to achieve social equity and combat the illegal marketplace and none of [the other states] have met those benchmarks,” Savino said.
The Office of Cannabis Management cannot set guidelines or issue licenses necessary for residents to farm, process, distribute, open dispensaries and consumption locations until the 13-member board has been filled.