Sunday, June 16, 2024

New York Gets Cannabis Leadership Change

After a chaotic and, some would say, failed rollout of legal marijuana, the lead official is stepping down

The failed legal marijuana rollout in New York cost taxpaying jobs, state revenues and crushed dreams. It was another painful blow to the weed industry and it made the Governor look foolish as she flailed to find a solution. Finally, New York get cannabis leadership change, but will it be able to fix the issue is anyone’s guess.

RELATED: NY Begs Tech Companies To Solve Their Weed Problem

Chris Alexander, the executive director of New York State Office of Cannabis (OCM) Management, is stepping down in June.  Earlier this month, the governor. announced the OCM will be restructured.  The decision came after an investigation found inefficiencies and mismanagement bungled the transition, costing the state millions.

On the of 1,500+ illicit dispensaries in New York

The state has a strong plan for the transition from medical to recreational market and had worked closed with existing medical dispensaries. Weeks before the change, the OCM scrapped the entire plan and bumbled through a system where the state now has less than 100 legal retailers and over 1,500 illicit dispensaries in NYC alone. BDSA, a leading analyst firm which covers marijuana, estimated last year’s legal and illicit market would have been close to $2 Billion. As it was, the licensed market brought in $175 million.

The change comes at time where thing are moving forward federally with rescheduling, yet the state is struggling. Adding to the pain, the state is grappling with a variety of lawsuits over the chaos. Another issue the office has seen it self as more of advocacy organization, focused on messaging rather than being a state department in charge of licenses of a billion plus dollar segment. Players who wanted to follow the rules so they can build a long term business future feel stymied. Some were shocked to find illicit players sometimes got to jump the line to open licensed stores at the same time they are running ones with no license.

RELATED: California or New York, Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess

The change is positive news for the the legal industry and players since New York’s OCM has operated in a persistently opaque and inefficient manner, contributing to the slow growth. For years the office has released conflicting information about its own rules and licensing processes, and hasn’t responded to applicants and licensees in a timely manner.

Time will tell if New York is able to solve the current mess or if this will be another opportunity to cost taxpayers more money.


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