- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul was left with a delayed legalized cannabis rollout upon taking office.
- Hochul and the Legislature finally got people appointed to key posts last month.
- However, an administration official was unable to provide even a tentative date for legal purchases.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has picked up the slack left by her predecessor after New York officially legalized marijuana back in March, but still isn’t able to provide a date for when New Yorkers will be able to purchase it legally.
Insider tried to question Hochul about it during a brief press conference she held on Wednesday, and asked the governor’s office after she ended the gaggle at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan’s Battery Park.
When asked when New Yorkers can plan on being able to go to a dispensary and buy pot legally, a Hochul official explained how the governor has worked with state lawmakers to “move swiftly” and “work expeditiously” on full legalization, but did not provide even a tentative timeframe for when that would happen.
“The Governor worked with her partners in the Legislature to move swiftly to make key appointments to the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board, which was fully constituted on September 22,” Jason Gough, Hochul’s deputy communications director for economic development, told Insider in an email.
“Just yesterday, the Board and OCM built on that momentum with the appointment of agency leadership, including a Chief Equity Officer who will ensure the new industry is focused on economic and social justice from the start, and the expansion of the medical cannabis program to make it more accessible to New Yorkers who will benefit,” Gough, a former on-air meteorologist for Albany’s NBC affiliate, continued. “We will continue to work expeditiously to bring this new industry to life safely.”
While consuming cannabis products is now legal in New York, the process to create regulations for dispensaries and “consumption sites” was delayed by months under Hochul’s predecessor, Andrew Cuomo.
By the time he resigned in August, Cuomo and the Legislature hadn’t made basic appointments to the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board, both created by the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.
As Insider’s Jeremy Berke and Yeji Jesse Lee have previously reported, the future of New York’s $7 billion cannabis industry is in flux and left to a small group of power players.
Currently, there are only 10 licenses available across the state’s medical market, with those companies waiting for the full market to open up until they can sell more than a fraction of what they currently produce.
For now, the mid-to-late 2022 timeline of when New Yorkers can partake in the legal cannabis market remains tenuous at best.
In the meantime, those 21-years-old and over can toke up anywhere cigarette smoking is allowed and carry up to 3 ounces of flower on them. Previous criminal records for marijuana-related offenses have also been expunged.
The nearest dispensaries can be found in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.