New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is in a battle with the cannabis industry, which he has vowed to quash by launching a task force in an effort to “cannabize” the state. The Governor tasked his commissioner of the Office of Cannabis Management to direct the department’s cannabis licensing process along with establishing an “operational readiness” timeline in order to issue licenses within nine months.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally announced that his state will finally be launching a regulated market for cannabis. The industry has been stalled since 2014, when Cuomo made it clear he would not sign a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana. The bill has been sitting on his desk for over a year, and he has refused to bring it up for a vote.

New-York-Governor-Vows-to-Launch-Cannabis-Industry-That-Cuomo

 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who took over for the disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo, pledged to continue up where Cuomo left off in establishing the state’s adult-use cannabis industry. Residents of New York were tired of waiting for the industry to emerge while the previous governor was engulfed in scandals.

For context, former Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature passed the legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis in New York in March of last year. Despite the fact that the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act was approved many months ago, Cuomo got involved in a disagreement with the state Senate and failed to designate an executive director for the new Office of Cannabis Management or nominees to the Cannabis Control Board.

This has put the state’s cannabis sector in limbo, since licenses and new regulations cannot be granted without the Cannabis Control Board in place.

Cuomo’s controversies to a climax earlier this month. Governor Cuomo was gone within a week after a report outlining 11 verified women’s claims of sexual harassment and violence against him. 

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his retirement on August 10th, with effect on August 24th. Hochul was inaugurated in as governor on the same day that Cuomo’s resignation took effect. Governor Hochul became New York’s first female governor in the state’s history. One of the things she intends to do differently is to address cannabis reform, which has gone on in New York for far too long.

Representatives for Governor Hochul stated that she intends to appoint key cannabis jobs as soon as possible. The incoming governor’s spokesperson, Jordan Bennett, told The New York Post that nominating and confirming people with varied backgrounds and subject matter knowledge, who are reflective of communities throughout the state, to the Cannabis Control Board is a priority for him. The Hochul representative said, “We look forward to working with the legislators to keep this process going ahead.”

Hochul also told Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) that she would go through with the Cannabis Control Board selections. Mike Murphy, a spokesperson for Stewart-Cousins, said, “They have talked about the necessity to make nominations to the board.” 

During a private meeting on August 9, Governor Hochul made it plain that cannabis will be a top priority, according to Heastie. Heastie stated, “She did indicate it was something she wanted us all to focus on—and we agreed.”

Governor Hochul did not mention cannabis in specifically during her first-ever speech, according to Rochester First, but she did admit that her staff agreed that it would be a priority.

The First Female Governor of New York

Governor Hochul is not only New York’s first female governor, but her appointment also means that there are now nine female governors in the country, matching the record for the most female governors ever.

It is a moment when state leadership will be much more inclusive. Governors Kristi Noem, Kate Brown, Laura Kelly, Kay Ivey, Kim Reynolds, Gretchen Whitmer, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Janet Mills are among others who have joined Hochul.

For better or worse, many of the aforementioned governors have been involved in cannabis reform. Governor Kristi Noem, for example, has consistently delayed or opposed cannabis legislation, including the contentious adult use and medicinal cannabis bill in South Dakota.

Since 2015, Governor Hochul has served as Cuomo’s deputy governor. However, when Hochul tried to separate herself from Cuomo, it became clear that she would be the next governor.

The new governor, on the other hand, vowed to do things differently from the guy she replaced in her new position. “No one will ever characterize my administration as a hostile work environment,” Hochul stated.

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