Cannabis Control Board: Steps for New York’s New Governor

What does the change in state leadership in New York mean for the adult-use market?

September 17 update: “Jumpstart” by Governor Hochul

Governor Hochul is moving things forward by quickly appointing the chair of the Cannabis Control Board earlier in September. With additional board appointments this week, there are only two remaining seats to be filled which will lead to the long-awaited regulatory system for the adult-use program.

Resignation Leads to a New Governor

With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation coming today, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be in charge of making the appointments to the Cannabis Control Board that have been delaying progress in the Empire State. 


No Immediate Action, But a Clear Path to Succession

Governor Cuomo has said that his last day will be in fourteen days, meaning on or about August 24, 2021. Ms. Hochul will then become Governor Hochul. In order for the Cannabis Control Board to take their seats, Governor Hochul will need to have the NY Legislature confirm them. 


A Special Session Likely

For Albany to confirm the necessary Board members, Governor Hochul will need them to be in session, which she can call for by convincing a ‘special session.’ If she does not call a special session, then the legislature will convene on January 6, 2021, though it is likely that Governor Hochul will not wait until then. In addition to the needed cannabis appointments, issues regarding the MTA and alcohol-to-go have led people from across the state and political spectrum to ask for a special session this year.


Important for Governor Hochul to Move Quickly

After this spring’s quick progress for New York cannabis legalization, progress has been held up by these vacant Cannabis Control Board seats. Once they are sat, then the Office of Cannabis Management can take action on regulations to move towards licensing cannabis businesses.

There is no policy reason to not make these appointments as fast as possible. New Jersey is scheduled to release their regulations the day before Cuomo’s last day in office, on August 23. Connecticut is also reportedly working on its regulations. New York is already going to be playing catch up, just how much further they fall behind now rests in Governor Hochul’s office.


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