The legislature was expected to act on several issues during today’s extraordinary session, including confirming Gov. Kathy’s Hochul’s nominees to the state’s cannabis regulatory boards.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which passed earlier this year, created a comprehensive regulatory structure to oversee adult-use marijuana within New York state.
The new law requires that the governor to appoint two people to two separate regulatory structures: the state Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board. While former Gov. Andrew Cuomo had five months to make the nominations, lawmakers were reportedly unhappy with his picks. Cuomo resigned before filling the positions.
Voicing her concerns over the delayed launch of the industry, Gov. Kathy Hochul sent the names of two nominees to the state Senate for confirmation on Wednesday.
She nominated Christopher Alexander to head the Office of Cannabis Management.
Alexander is currently the government relations director for Vill LLC, a cannabis company in Canada. He is also a former policy director for the Drug Policy Alliance.
“He is the perfect person to live out the vision of the MRTA and make sure we have that social and economically equitable industry that we all want in New York,” said Allan Gandelman, founder and president of the New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association, and co-founder of Head and Heal.
“He is working for a Canadian cannabis company right now, so he has some experience,” Gandelman said. “But before that…he worked with the Drug Policy Alliance and he also worked for the state Senate as a counsel. He helped craft the MRTA bill years and years ago.”
Hochul’s second nomination is Tremaine Wright. If confirmed, she will chair the State’s Cannabis Control Board. Wright is a former assembly member and former public defender.
“I am extremely happy about both picks,” Gandelman told Capital Tonight.
Both nominees are expected to be confirmed.