The Albany Business Journal reports…
Cannabis companies and entrepreneurs have been making plans for over two months about how to enter the New York recreational market, expected to be worth billions in just a few years. Before they can go much further, they’re waiting on just one thing: the go-ahead from the state.
But directions on how to proceed will come from the Office of Cannabis Management’s Cannabis Control Board, which hasn’t been formed yet.
Industry leaders have been expecting that the board members would be named during the legislative session that ends this Friday, but the clock is ticking. So what could happen if the board isn’t named this week, as many have been expected?
“It’s definitely worrisome. If it doesn’t get done this week, we could be looking at a multi-multi-month delay again for the rollout of this program because they need to start developing the regulations,” said Kaelan Castetter, director of policy analysis for Castetter Cannabis Group, who helped shape the state’s cannabis legislation and is now advising companies looking to get involved in the market.
“They could come back to confirm nominees at any other time. I would think they’d want to get that done before the end of the summer, but it definitely throws the timeline into question if it doesn’t get done by Friday.”
The Office of Cannabis Management will oversee the medical, recreational and hemp industries within the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will appoint the control board chair — who needs state Senate approval — along with two other members, and the Senate and Assembly will each appoint one member, according to the legislation.
Cuomo will appoint the office’s executive director, who also needs to be confirmed by the Senate.
Cuomo and the Legislature also need to appoint a state cannabis advisory board, which will make legislation recommendations and lead the program’s equity plans. The advisory board will consist of thirteen members — seven appointed by Cuomo and three each by the Senate and Assembly — along with eight non-voting state government representatives. The advisory board will include representatives from underserved communities and those most impacted by cannabis prohibition.
Once the regulations are developed, there will need to be time for public comment, followed by preparation of the applications, Castetter said. And then there needs to be time for people to fill out the applications before they can finally be awarded licenses.
“[Board appointments] should have happened in May,” Castetter said. “It probably should have happened in April, to be honest.”
In the meantime, the state’s 10 existing cannabis companies are making moves to get ahead of the curve, even if it might mean they have to make adjustments once further legislation is released.