Hochul calls for overhaul of state agency overseeing legal pot shops: ‘What took so long?’

Gov. Kathy Hochul has called for an overhaul of the state agency overseeing New York’s cannabis industry, prompting one local official to ask, “What took so long?”

“Today, we take the first step in revamping New York’s legal cannabis industry to ensure its long-term success,” Hochul said, according to the New York Post. “I have full confidence in Commissioner Moy’s ability to identify areas that need improvement, establish standards and processes across agencies, and jumpstart the next phase of New York’s legal cannabis market.”

In January, the governor admitted that the rollout was a “disaster,” ordering a review of the licensing of the businesses.

“Only a few more than 80 licensed stores have opened since the law was signed three years ago, while there are thousands of illegal cannabis shops operating,” CBS News reported at the time.

More from the Post:

The move — fueled by a top-to-bottom review of the state Office of Cannabis Management that began Monday — came as a key New York weed regulator was placed on leave after being accused of retaliation by a pot supplier for her criticism of the program.

Hochul tapped her Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy to conduct the 30-day examination of the program to try to streamline its licensing operation and the opening of new pot stores — a directive seen in and outside the weed industry as a belated attempt to stem a full-blown crisis occurring on the governor’s watch.

 

Queens City Councilman Robert Holden, who is fighting to close unlicensed pot shops in the heart of his district, spoke to the newspaper about the slow process of addressing the problem.

“What took Hochul so long? It’s hard to imagine something worse than we have right now — it’s a major blunder,” Holden said.

Citing CEO Osbert Orduna, the article noted that a new legal pot shop in the district called The Cannabis Place is surrounded by six unlicensed shops within a few blocks’ radius.

Republican state Sen. George Borrello called the state’s legalized-marijuana program an “abject failure,” according to the Post.

“From the beginning, it was a failure of identity politics — of giving people with pot convictions preferences for licenses over law-abiding citizens,” he said. “Nothing is going to change until Democrats in Albany get a spine and pass a law to put illegal pot operators in prison.”

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story, as seen on X:

Tom Tillison

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