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New York State Names Cannabis Officials

Oct 5, 2021

The State Senate has confirmed Tremaine Wright as chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board (“CCB”) and Christopher Alexander as executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”). In addition, Governor Hochul named Ruben R. McDaniel, III and Jessica Garcia to serve as board members of the OCM. Governor Hochul’s appointees do not require confirmation.

The OCM is an independent state office created by the Marijuana Regulations and Taxation Act (“MRTA”), which passed on March 31, 2021 and was signed into law by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The OCM is part of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The MRTA called for a five-member board to oversee the OCM; three appointed by the governor, one appointed by the New York State Assembly and one appointed by the New York State Senate.

Mr. Alvarez is a criminal justice reformer, advocate and policy expert and he currently acts as the Government Relations and Policy Manager for Village, a multi-state cannabis company.

Ms. Wright is a former member of the New York State Assembly and currently is the first director of the DFS Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion.

Mr. McDaniel is the president and CEO of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

Ms. Garcia is assistant to the president of the Retail, Wholesale Department Store Union, a national labor group that represents some cannabis industry workers.

They join the New York State Senate appointee, former Senator Jen Metzger, of Ulster County, and the New York State Assembly appointee, Buffalo attorney Adam Perry of the law firm Hodgson Russ, as members of the board.

Governor Hochul is anxious to get the CCB moving toward retail sales of recreational cannabis, which could occur in New York State in late 2022.  The have been calls to extend that date to 2023, which would give municipalities more time to determine whether they would opt-out or not.

The opt-out provision was included in the MRTA, and gave municipalities the ability to prohibit retail dispensaries and the issuance of on-site consumption licenses.

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