Times Union op-ed: Churchill: Behold the staggering idiocy of New York’s marijuana rollout

We do love a cynic here at CLR and I have to say considering California went first there has been a fair amout of hubris in the process in NY.

Many in govt seem to enjoy digging a big hole and jumping into it and then ensuring everybody else has to join them there too.


The Times Union

The incompetence and ineptitude obscures questions about the state’s hyping of cannabis

ALBANY — At this point, it’s almost cliche to note the stunning incompetence of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.

The agency is tasked with pushing one of the world’s most desired products and yet somehow it can’t find a way to get that product to market. The office is producing excellent evidence for libertarian arguments about government inefficiency and bureaucratic ineptitude. Is it really this hard to open a network of pot shops?

The consequences were on full display Tuesday, when angry farmers, processors and wannabe retailers flooded a Cannabis Control Board meeting and vented about what the botched marijuana rollout has meant. Actually, vented isn’t a strong enough word for the rage and despair directed at board members.

“This ruined my life,” said Jeanette Miller, a Niagara County resident, who said she has 500 pounds of marijuana sitting and rotting. “I feel like I’m going to hang myself.”

What will New York do to help small farmers like Miller, people who believed all the promises and trusted that the state could make this work?

It’s going to screw them. New York is about to hand retail licenses to deep-pocketed medical marijuana firms who, among other advantages, will be allowed to grow indoors. In other words, the small farmers are like a country general store sitting near a new Walmart. They don’t stand a chance.

“We have lost millions of dollars. We have done everything right and I can’t feed my children,” said Steuben County farmer Tess Interlicchia, who also said she’s sitting on mounds of unmovable product. “I beg of you to stand up for what is right so you may sleep at night.”

Will board members and others in state government have trouble sleeping? Do they care about the mess they’ve made? It would be nice to think so, but I haven’t heard many expressions of remorse.

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