New York Archives - Green Market Report

StaffApril 18, 2022
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This year is the first April 20 that New Yorkers can truly celebrate and the parties look to be epic. Between a post-covid-ish landscape and a mostly legal backdrop, New Yawkers are ready to throw down for 420 this year. Who cares that it’s on Wednesday! Here are the big events planned in New York City for 420.

Black Market Group

Black Market Group (BMG – @blackmarketcertified), together with Infamous Farms (@infmsfarms) are heading to New York City to celebrate the official launch of the respective brands, highlighting the intrinsic bond between hip-hop and cannabis culture with a Big Apple-based bash on every cannasseur’s favorite holiday, 4/20. The female-founded Black Market Group will officially launch at the 4/20 event, furthering the cannabis veterans’ footprint in the industry. BMG has cultivated  strong relationships with “legacy” cannabis farms and cannabis aficionados from the world of hip-hop to cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships within a vertically-integrated ecosystem.

“We’re so excited to blend the best parts of the Legacy Cali cannabis culture with the legends of the NY hip hop scene. Our 4/20 event is going to mark the beginning of Black Market Certified and our mission in preserving The Culture.” says founder Annick Goldsmith

 Black Market Group’s 4/20 Launch party on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022 at 6 pm at SOB’s (Sounds of Brazil) in the Hudson Square district of Lower Manhattan. Hosted by the legendary Rapper Producer Rakim and performances by Havoc, Styles P, Big Twins, and more.

VIP admission 6pm, General admission 7:30

Honeysuckle Magazine

420 (National Cannabis Day) and the Honeysuckle Magazine team are having a party with our pals at Fyllo! Join us this Wednesday 4/20 4-8 PM at Club Cumming – Alan Cumming’s iconic nightlife joint. Mix and mingle, get your copy of our latest issue featuring Lil Wayne and Young Money, and light up your life. 😉

Free entry, live music and open bar… a perfect combo for the “high holiday.” No registration is needed, just come as you wish! Club Cumming is located at 505 East 6th Street, between 1st Avenue and Avenue A in NYC.

21+ to attend. Consumption friendly. Outside availability.

Cannaclusive

NEW YORK! Join us as we celebrate another FOUR TWENTY holiday with several leaders who are working hard to create and support inclusive brands in the cannabis space. From flowers to culinary treats, plant medicine expands beyond just flower and bongs.

MONDAY April 18th 2022 6PM to 8PM Soho Works Dumbo in Brooklyn. Must RSVP via link because spots are limited.

SPEAKERS

️Brittany Carbone – TONIC/Tricolla Farms (@tonic_cbd)

️Cecilia Oyediran – Foley Hoag Law Firm (@thcee_esq)

️Alex Norman – Budega NYC (@budeganyc)

Wine/Beverages starts at 6PM and conversation kicks off at 6:30PM sharp!

This discussion will talk about sourcing, manufacturing, understanding the value of a contract, and the complexities around marketing.

High Garden

HighGarden 452 Washington St, New York, NY

Join us for the biggest celebration of the year! DJ set by Cat Ouellette, live reggae music, giveaways, sponsors, and more. You don’t want to miss out on 420 at HighGarden NYC

Cannademix: Unity Day

Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck, Sensi All-Stars, Big Nate All Star, PBS Skinz, Puffington, Jdotlittles, & More! Wu-Tang Members Inspectah Deck & Cappadonna

With Special Guest Big Nate Allstar

Backed by Live Band : The Sensi All-Stars

 With Reggaeton and DJ performers to be announced!

Webster Hall, New York, NY Ages: 21 & Over 

WED APR 20, 2022 – 6:00 PM

Ages: 21 & Over

Doors Open: 6:00 PM

Door Price: $42.00

Rebelle Dispensary

We’ll be debuting a new product we’re launching in May (called Halo), and announcing new ways we’ll be supporting social equity in our industry (we call it The Halo Effect). I’m delighted that Tremaine Wright, Chair of NY’s Cannabis Control Board, will be joining us for the first hour. Space is limited so please RSVP soon. 

Banana Certz

Looking for a music themed event? the release party for Banana Certz, the collab between Jokes Up Certz and Golden State Banana. The event, thrown by Premium Sesh, runs from 7 p.m. until late. Tickets are $40, and available here

Baked in Bushwick – Sold Out

Baked In Bushwick Presents: Our Annual 420 Celebration!

Help Baked In Bushwick celebrate the beautiful flower that is! This April we celebrate our second annual 420 event!

It will be a cannabis-themed evening full of complimentary gifts, totes, and smokes!

Limited edition Baked In Bushwick tote bags with gifts valuing over $100 for the FIRST 50 GUESTS! (Drink must be purcased for goodie bag to be gifted)

SPLIFF – 420 Festival – Sold Out

Welcome back New York, Spliff Nation is having our forth annual festival. We will be giving away free prerolls and edibles for everyone to enjoy. The location will be in Lower Manhattan & disclosed day prior to event. Music provided by DJ Que. Come get blazed with us! Check us out at www.onespliffnation.com

 

If you want an event mentioned in this column email us at info@greenmarketreport.com.


Julie AitchesonApril 14, 2022
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 New York Cannabis Project is a social equity incubator program launched by e-commerce marketplace and home delivery platform, Lantern. New York Cannabis Project is currently accepting the first round of applications for its incubator program, which gives aspiring entrepreneurs access to educational programming, technical services, mentorship and operational consulting as well as access to a resource database for real estate and investor/vendor connections. Applicants will be New Yorkers hardest hit by the war on drugs. 

As Akele Parnell (Head of Equity Partnerships at Lantern) explains, “whether it’s winning business or cultivation licenses, building brands and setting them up, our goal is to give social equity applicants the resources they need to build successful businesses in the industry.” Lantern has also launched New Jersey Cannabis Project, which shares its New York counterpart’s goals and objectives, as well as social equity incubators in Massachusetts (where Lantern “incubated” the first delivery couriers to be licensed by the state), Colorado, and Michigan (where it launched women-owned, Detroit-based company Calyxeum). Success stories include Massachusetts-based companies like delivery services Treevit and Your Green Package.

Ultimately, the New York Cannabis Project is hoping to help build a “community-based hub” of which the New York Cannabis Project would be a key partner and which would provide instructors, programming, education and other resources to get people into the licensed industry. As opposed to an incubator, which is targeted toward those looking to become business owners, the community hub would be an ongoing and permanent resource for those looking to enter the cannabis industry in any capacity but who experience barriers related to social equity issues. Resources would range from help with getting criminal records expunged to networking with others in the industry to identify, train for, and pursue job opportunities in cannabis. 

Lantern is not the only entity attempting to address inequity within the cannabis industry. Sacramento, California initiated the Sacramento Grow Green Program as part of the City of Sacramento’s Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity effort. The program provides training, business plan development, mentorship and support to individuals and communities facing barriers to entry into the cannabis industry due to historical inequities in how cannabis laws have historically been enforced. Program applicants must fit into one of five classifications to be eligible, including income level, zip code, or possessing an arrest record for cannabis-related crimes either personally or through an immediate family member. 

Los Angeles-based LASER (Los Angeles Social Equity Reform), a program of cannabis technology company Growing Talent, consists of applicants who become “equity partners” upon acceptance to the program. These partners are taken through a 10-week curriculum with industry experts that includes training in best practices and business expansion as well as access to Growing Talent’s range of business resources. The San Francisco Office of Cannabis sponsors a program wherein businesses can apply to become equity incubators for qualified Equity Applicants wherein they provide rent-free space or technical assistance upon meeting incubation criteria. Equity Incubators are then listed on the website as resources for Equity Applicants. With so many new (and not so new) projects seeking to address the glaring inequities in access to capital, resources, mentorship and investor opportunities, the future looks brighter for those previously shut out of the licensed cannabis industry– an industry that stands to gain immeasurably from the skills, experience, and innovation of the very communities it has long excluded.


StaffApril 8, 2022
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New York State Governor Kathy Hochul released the 2023 budget that predicts adult-use sales of legal cannabis will generate $40 million in license fees and $16 million in partial receipts from the state’s retail taxes. The governor’s budget said this would offset the decrease in cigarette consumption taxes. These figures are projected to increase when the fiscal year 2024 is expected to be the first full year for sales.

School Funds

No cannabis revenue is expected to help schools in 2023, but it is expected to generate some money for the school fund in 2024. $9 million is projected to help schools in the fiscal year 2024, with that number rising to $21 million in 2025 and $81 million in 2027. Revenue funds from adult-use cannabis are projected at $56 million in 2023 and rising to $339 million by 2027.

Tax Break

The budget also included a tax break for cannabis companies. Along with numerous other industries that receive tax credits like theatrical and music productions, the language states,

Provides a tax deduction for the amount of any federal deduction disallowed pursuant to section 280E of the internal revenue code related to the production and distribution of adult-use cannabis products

That’s a big bonus for cannabis companies that currently can’t take the normal 280E business deduction. These deductions allow companies to increase their profits by writing off normal business expenses. So, while the product may face high taxation at the retail level, businesses could begin to even those costs out. This is a substantial benefit to some of the large companies that plan to sell adult-use cannabis in the state like Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) and Green Thumb Industries (OTC: GTBIF). However, the OCM recently stated that it was giving first priority for licenses to persons who had experienced justice inequality when it came to cannabis possession.

The New York Cannabis Control Board has a meeting scheduled for April 14. It will be a virtual meeting and the agenda has not been posted as of yet.


Debra BorchardtFebruary 25, 2022
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This week New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed S8084A into law. The law is meant to speed up the rate of cultivation, processing, and distribution of cannabis in New York. This new law will allow hemp farmers and processors in the state to become licensed to grow and manufacture cannabis in time for the 2022 growing season.

“I am proud to sign this bill, which positions New York’s farmers to be the first to grow cannabis and jumpstart the safe, equitable and inclusive new industry we are building,” Governor Hochul said. “New York State will continue to lead the way in delivering on our commitment to bring economic opportunity and growth to every New Yorker in every corner of our great state.”

Eligible applicants must possess a valid industrial hemp grower authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Markets as of December 31, 2021, be in good standing, and have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the last four years. The law also requires that both cultivator and processor licensees participate in a social equity mentorship program as well as an environmental sustainability program. The licenses expire on June 30, 2024.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “Last year, after many years of fighting, we finally enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, and are beginning to undo the devastating impacts over ninety years of unequal enforcement of marijuana prohibition had on too many lives and communities. MRTA ensures that the legal adult-use market will be centered on equity and economic justice for communities of color and individuals that have been harmed most by the War on Drugs in the State of New York. With the passage of this bill, we have the opportunity to create a responsible start to the adult-use cannabis industry by authorizing temporary conditional cultivator and processor licenses to current New York hemp farmers. This authority will help secure enough safe, regulated, and environmentally conscious cannabis products to meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open. Importantly, this legislation calls for a Social Equity Mentorship Program, which will create a viable and inclusive path for social and economic equity partners interested in cannabis cultivation and processing to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in this emerging industry. The temporary conditional licenses authorized by this bill will ultimately help realize the vision and goals of the MRTA.”

License Types

Hemp farmers and licensed hemp processors have the opportunity to apply for and obtain the following license types:
  • Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator License
  • Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Processor License
According to a statement from the Governor’s office, “With a conditional adult-use cannabis cultivation license, farmers can grow outdoors or in a greenhouse for up to two years from the issuance of the license. It also allows them to manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license, until June 1, 2023. Cultivators are limited to one acre (43,560 square feet) of flowering canopy outdoors or 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse and can use up to 20 artificial lights. They can also split between outdoor and greenhouse grows with a maximum total canopy of 30,000 square feet as long as greenhouse flowering canopy remains under 20,000 square feet.

Application Process TimingThe OCM will be developing a license application process and opening the program as soon as possible. To qualify for an Adult-use CannabisConditional Cultivator License an applicant must have been an authorized industrial hemp research partner for the Department of Agriculture and Markets, cultivating hemp for its non-intoxicating cannabinoid content for at least two of the past four years and in good standing as of December 31, 2021, when the research program ended.

Holders of the license must also participate in a social equity mentorship program where they provide training in cannabis cultivation and processing for social and economic equity partners, preparing them for potential roles in the industry. Growers will also have to meet sustainability requirements to ensure the cannabis is grown in an environmentally conscientious way.

Joe Caltabiano  CEO of Choice Consolidation Corp and co-founder of Cresco Labs said, “The New York State Senate has made clear its strong desire to ensure that affordable cannabis is available to its constituents. These legislators recognize that the product must be fairly priced in order for the legal market to flourish. This is a bold move by one of the most important markets in the US to snuff out the illicit market and proves the state does not want to end up as another California.”


Debra BorchardtFebruary 11, 2022
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Law360 reported that on Wednesday a New York state judge Wednesday authorized subpoenas requiring the state’s cannabis regulators and Gov. Kathy Hochul to produce documents related to the contentious acquisition between MedMen (OTC: MMNFF) and Ascend Wellness Holdings (OTC: AAWH). The conflict stems for Ascend’s plan to acquire MedMen’s New York assets, which stumbled as New York State experienced a change in the governors seat and a lack of leadership in the legal cannabis program.

The acquisition was dependent upon New York State’s approval for the acquisition which came in the waning days of 2021. MedMen believed that the approval from the state was conditional and not a “final” decision. The company also believes that without a definitive final approval, it doesn’t have to complete the transaction. For its part, MedMen also had a change of leadership during this same time and the new CEO Michael Serruyo is believed to feel the price was too low and wasn’t willing to let go of the New York Assets for a the previously agreed upon price.

Ascend has argued that MedMen isn’t completing the deal as was agreed and they point to an email from New York regulators saying the decision to approve the acquisition was final.

Political Peddling

The bombshell accusation from MedMen was that Ascend Wellness executives attended a fundraiser for the incoming Governor Kathy Hochul. MedMen implied that Ascend got the approvals only after these events and suggested that there was political peddling. That Ascend got the approvals by greasing the wheels in Albany. Public records show that Ascend did donate $15,000 to Hochul’s campaign in October 2021.

Now it seems MedMen is serving subpoenas to Hochul’s office, the New York Office of Cannabis Management and its governing body, the Cannabis Control Board. Law360 also reported that the subpoenaed parties, also includes the New York Department of Health, the body formerly responsible for overseeing the state’s medical marijuana program and that the parties will have 20 days to comply.

Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokesperson for the governor, said in an email Thursday to Law360, “We objected to the overly broad scope of the previous subpoena, and filed a letter with the court asking for an opportunity to be heard. The court instead denied the motion on that subpoena outright. We are aware of this new subpoena, and fully expect to comply and provide responsive documents.”

Green Market Report has asked a MedMen spokesperson repeatedly for information regarding the subpoena’s and was given no information.

MedMen’s Political Donations

MedMen is no stranger to the world of political donations. In 2019, The New York Post wrote that MedMen’s former CEO and co-founder Andrew Modlin donated $25,000 to Cuomo the day before the company opened a dispensary on Fifth Avenue. The story also reported that The MedMen Opportunity Fund gave $65,000, a so-called “LLC loophole” donation.

The company’s former CFO James Patterson also accused the company of forcing him to make a $10,000 political donation. However, Patterson lost his recent case against the company in which he made several inflammatory accusations.

 


Debra BorchardtJanuary 26, 2022
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The New York medical marijuana program is currently offline due to a software upgrade that failed. Apparently, there was a planned upgrade to the system on Monday evening. When dispensaries opened on Tuesday, they found that something invalidated the patient cards. Patients also said that when went into the portal they couldn’t see their cards. Without that information, many dispensaries felt uncomfortable making transactions. As of 6 pm on Tuesday, there was no fix, and Green Market Report is also hearing that the system remains offline today. 

Freeman Klopott, Director of Communications at the New York State Office of Cannabis Management said, “To be clear: dispensaries are remaining open, patients access to their medication has been preserved, and any disruptions with the system are being resolved.”

Tracy McCourt, Chief Revenue Officer at MedMen (OTC: MMNFF) said, “We were not able to process any transactions yesterday as the entire system was updated. We stayed open to explain the situation to our patients.”

Some dispensaries are making manual transactions, while others are closed. OCM informed them last night that they might revert back to the previous software. However, one source says that they don’t see how that is possible since they’ve already updated the new software. 

The Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) website has this message posted on its website:

UNFORTUNATELY, ALL OF OUR LOCATIONS ARE TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR BUSINESS AS THE STATE SYSTEM IS COMPLETELY DOWN – WE WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP YOU UPDATED AS WE WORK TOWARD A SOLUTION

PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO USE ANY CURACREDITS OR SPECIAL DISCOUNTS IN THE “SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS” FIELD WHEN YOU CHECK OUT

A call placed to a Columbia-Care dispensary said it was operating but wouldn’t confirm what system it was using. A call placed to the Etain dispensaries went unanswered.

The OCM had a meeting Tuesday but nothing was apparently said regarding the outage and whether it would be fixed anytime soon.

 


Debra BorchardtJanuary 21, 2022
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The New York State adult-use cannabis program has been pushed back to a later date and as a result, the state’s projections for early tax revenues have been adjusted as well. When adult-use sales or recreational marijuana was first legalized in the state, sales were originally planned to begin in April 2022. However, former Governor Andrew Cuomo stalled on making appointments to create the cannabis program and it wasn’t until the current Governor Kathy Hochul took over that the program got a jump start. Still, those delays have now affected the state budget. The program is slotted to receive $46 million as it ramps up.

Originally, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli had estimated that in the fiscal year of 2021-2022 the state would bring in $20 million in marijuana tax revenue. that was then projected to grow to $115 million in the fiscal year of 2022-2023, $158 million in 2023-2024, and $245 million in 2024-2025.

The new state budget now calls for the state to collect $56 million in revenue in the fiscal year of 2023. The majority of that revenue will come in the form of licensing fees. After that, sales are expected to kick in, and in the fiscal year of 2024, New York projects $95 million in tax revenue. That will grow to $158 million in 2025, $245 million in 2026, $339 million in 2027, and $363 million in 2028.

According to the program’s current design, there will be a 9% state excise tax on cannabis. It will be divided with 40% going to education, 40% to community reinvestment and 20% to drug treatment. Another 4% tax will go to the counties, which will receive 25 %, while municipalities get 75% if they allow marijuana businesses. There’s also a separate potency-based tax on cannabis products.

The Governor has also set aside $200 million to assist social equity applicants. Last month, Sen. Jeremy Cooney (D) introduced that would include transgender and non-binary people in the cannabis social equity program. Cooney also proposed other cannabis legislation related to business tax benefits and licensing.

Opt-Outs

Many cities and towns in the state have opted out of the adult-use program. The Rockefeller Institute of Government has tracked the towns that have decided against the program for now. Currently, 765 out of 1,521 have decided against dispensaries and 869 have decided against consumption lounges. Many have stated that the lack of specific rules and regulations from the state has caused them to remain on the sidelines for now. They can opt-in at a later date.


Debra BorchardtOctober 5, 2021
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New York’s Cannabis Control Board is moving quickly to make up for the lost time under the previous administration. In the group’s first meeting since incoming Gov. Hochul stepped in and nominated people for the board, they approved raw cannabis flower as a medical product effective immediately.

Boris Jordan, the founder and chairman of Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) said on Twitter:

Thank you, NY Gov. Hochul & the Office of Cannabis Management for allowing the sale of whole flower. This decision impacts 151k+ medical patients in NY who will now have access to quality & safe whole flower. Action (not talk) from our new Gov!

In addition to approving flower, the Board also loosened other restrictions.

  • Doctors can approve medical patients
  • 30 day supply increases to 60 day supply
  • $50 registration fee for patients is waived
  • Streamlining dispensation

Currently, New York cannabis law states that adults 21 and older can possess up to three ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrates in New York. The irony is that regular citizens could legally smoke cannabis flower in public, while medical patients weren’t allowed such a form factor.

The meeting was a quick one and lasted roughly 30 minutes. The board members are Tremaine Wright (Cannabis Control Board Chair) , Jessica Garcia, Rueben McDaniel III, Jen Metzger, Adam Perry and Chris Alexander (Executive Director). The meeting also named Jason Starr as the Chief Equity Officer. He served as assistant counsel to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and also worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Patrik Jonsson, Regional President of the Northeast at Curaleaf said, “The expansion of New York’s medical program allowing the sale of whole flower is a very big deal for the thousands of patients affected who now have access to the most cost effective and natural form of the plant. On behalf of Curaleaf and our patient community, I want to thank legislators and the Office of Cannabis Management for their leadership on this issue. This continued evolution of the medical program, which includes expanded qualifying conditions and the removal of application fees, will empower more patients to make choices that work best for their needs. These changes will give New Yorkers access to whole flower that has undergone standardized procedures and testing protocols, ensuring quality and safety. Curaleaf looks forward to expanding our product offerings to best serve our valued patients.” Curaleaf said it could have products on the shelf in November after state testing.

Stocks See Lift

Several of the cannabis companies with large exposure to New York saw stock prices immediately jump on the news. Curaleaf Stock rose as did Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF).


Debra BorchardtSeptember 2, 2021
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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.”

Matt Gregarek, CEO and Chairman Pure Harvest Corporate Group,  (OTCQB: PHCG)said, “The Northeast has been waiting for such a massive adult use market like New York to take off and Governor Hochul’s nominees are critical to making that happen. We are heartened to see Governor Hochul is taking the industry seriously and moving forward unlike her predecessor. We have seen it time and time before that successful markets start with a governor that supports it and it looks like New York finally has that key component.” –

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.

“The appointment of former Brooklyn Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright adds a strong voice supporting the adult use market in New York as well as a leader in pursuing the social equity goals of the new MRTA law. Chris is an experienced player in the industry as well as a respected advocate and we look forward to working with them both as they staff up and work to release regulations to move the Empire State’s entry into adult use forward as expeditiously as possible,” said David Feldman, CEO & Co-founder of Skip Intro Advisors, a cannabis & psychedelics consulting group headquartered in NYC.

Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, CEO & Co-founder of the Blinc Group added, “These nominees are going to need to really pay attention to the structure of the state to not make the same mistakes so many other have like, ensuring that minorities are not being used as straw men for MSOs, building more processing facilities to help the industry thrive and creating programs with 0% loans so small businesses can work more closely with trusted partners like the Blinc Group.”

StaffSeptember 1, 2021
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It was confirmed that Governor Kathy Hochul named Chris Alexander to be the Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management. 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.

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.”

Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance said, “By moving swiftly to establish the adult use cannabis program after delays under her predecessor and nominating leaders who have long been involved in the fight for marijuana justice in New York, Governor Hochul is sending a strong signal that the landmark racial and economic justice provisions we fought so hard for in the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will be taken seriously and implemented accordingly.

“We applaud the nominations of Chris Alexander, who she has nominated for Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management, and former Assembly member Tremaine Wright, who she picked for Chair of the Cannabis Control Board. They both understand the deep harm that criminalization has caused to individuals and communities – especially communities of color – across the state. Their past work has reflected a commitment to working with people who have been directly impacted by prohibition and demonstrated a belief in evidence-based policies that center equity and justice.”

 

In addition to Alexander, Tremaine Wright will be named Chair of the Board. 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.

The process to get the New York legal adult-use market established was stalled by a lack of enthusiasm by former Governor Cuomo. When the Governor resigned following a sexual harassment scandal, many had hoped that the process would gain steam and that looks to be the case. “Nominating and confirming individuals with diverse experiences and subject matter expertise, who are representative of communities from across the state, to the Cannabis Control Board is a priority for Gov. Hochul,” spokesperson Jordan Bennett told The New York Post a week ago. “We look forward to working with the legislature to keep this process moving forward.”

The Senate would still need to confirm the appointments, but insiders say they don’t expect any opposition to these two individuals.


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