Governor Kathy Hochul vowed that launching New York’s burgeoning marijuana sales program would be a high priority.
Scandal-scarred ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers passed law back in March that legalizes the sale of weed in New York.
But Cuomo – embroiled in a dispute with the state Senate – has not nominated a chief executive for the new Office of Cannabis Management or nominated agents for the Cannabis Control Board, despite the fact that the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act was passed months ago.
The Senate must confirm the appointments.
The appointments are necessary to set and approve new rules and licenses for businesses and employees in the burgeoning marijuana industry – from cultivation to sale.
During the negotiations over the appointment of cannabis, Cuomo was embroiled in a separate dispute with lawmakers over leadership changes he was planning to make at the MTA. It was ticked after lawmakers blocked legislation to split top MTA leadership positions into two posts – and a spokesman even suggested that the transit agency appointments and those of cannabis were linked
Hochul promised on Wednesday to clear the traffic jam.
“The nomination and endorsement of individuals with diverse experience and expertise who represent communities across the state to the Cannabis Control Board is a priority for Governor Hochul,” the new governor’s spokesman Jordan Bennett told The Post.
“We look forward to working with lawmakers to drive this process forward,” said the Hochul representative.
It’s more than a symbolic gesture.
Governor Hochul vows to promote legal marijuana in New York. AP photoWeed sales were legalized in New York in March.REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton / File Photo
Hochul discussed with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Congregation Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) their desire to continue the cannabis appointments.
“They talked about the need to make board appointments,” said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for Stewart Cousins.
Heastie also said that during a private meeting he attended Tuesday with the new governor and Stewart cousins, Hochul made it clear that implementing the marijuana program would be a priority.
“She said we should all focus on that – and we agreed,” said Heastie.
By law, New York will impose a 13 percent excise tax on marijuana sales, of which 9 percent goes to the state and 4 percent to local governments.
Selling marijuana could create jobs for residents in disadvantaged communities.REUTERS / Carlo Allegri / File Photo
Depending on the potency, a wholesale tax is levied – one cent per milligram on edibles, eight tenths of a cent on concentrated cannabis and half a cent per milligram on flowers or buds.
New York officials estimate that marijuana sales could generate $ 350 million annually in tax revenue for the state treasury and create jobs for residents of disadvantaged communities.
Massachusetts has been selling cannabis in local pot shops since the fall of 2018 – many customers are crossing the border from New York State.
New Jersey and Connecticut also recently passed laws legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana and are in the process of establishing rules for the new industry.