The New York City Cannabis Industry Association and the Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association released a statement applauding the appointments.
Green Market Report broke the news yesterday that New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul had named her two candidates for leading the adult-use cannabis legalization movement. Chris Alexander for the Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management and Tremaine Wright will be named Chair of the Board.
Late Wednesday, the state Senate confirmed both nominees to lead the agencies that will regulate cannabis sales in New York. The process had stalled under Governor Cuomo who publicly supported legalization, but often stalled the process behind the scenes.
Hochul said at the special session she called for legislators, “There is no reason why simple announcements in terms of who the executive director is and who the chairperson is were not done in time, but I’m going to make up for that lost time.”
Alexander is the government relations and policy director at the cannabis company Vill LLC, a Multi-State Cannabis Company based in Canada. He was also an Associate Counsel in the New York State Senate and Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. Alexander is said to have resigned from his position at Vill. Many in the industry were happy with the appointment and often describe Alexander as a cannabis policy nerd.
At a webinar in May, Alexander was quoted as saying, “What we have in terms of our social economic equity program is really an MWBE program on steroids, essentially, where we’re really trying to target the folks who want to access the market. That includes people who have been impacted by prohibition, that includes people who live in communities that have been over policed. For marijuana possession offenses, that includes you know, social and economically disadvantaged farmers who are struggling to keep, you know, products flowing and keep their industry alive.”
The New York City Cannabis Industry Association (NYCCIA) and the Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association (HVCIA) released a statement applauding these appointments and saying it would now accelerate the process “so that we won’t have to wait until January’s regular session to start the work of creating the new legal market.
“With staff coming online in the near term, the state can start work on regulations to implement New York’s groundbreaking new law and thereby get us that much closer to realizing the law’s critical goals of promoting social and economic equity and creating as much opportunity as possible for those who want to take part in a new diverse and inclusive industry that can be a model for the rest of the world to emulate.”
Wright is a former representative for the 56th District of the New York State Assembly, which includes parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Wright ran for State Senate in 2020, but lost to Jabari Brisport. Wright has been active in the New York cannabis scene for years fighting for legalization. She is currently the Director of the Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment in the NYS Department of Financial Services. Many saw the move to appoint Wright as a possible strategic move for Hochul who would need support from that area when she runs for Governor versus the assignment due to the resignation.