ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act into law this spring to legalize recreational adult use cannabis. But, much of the framework to legally grow, sell and buy the product has yet to be set up.
The Office of Cannabis Management, which will oversee the marijuana industry in New York State, is not yet fully operational or staffed. Senator Jeremy Cooney says, right now, it appears to just be a website with some information.
“I don’t know who is currently behind the magic curtain, if you will, but clearly, we do not have an Executive Director, because that individual has to be confirmed by the New York State Senate and that has not come up for a vote, yet. And we do not have have a full operational Office of Cannabis Management Board, because again, the Board Chair has to be confirmed by the New York State Senate,” he said.
While the Office is in the works, Cooney has a bill to give “adult-use cultivator provisional licenses” to growers.
“Our legislation will allow farmers across New York to plant seeds in the ground so that we don’t fall further behind and miss another growing season,” he said.
Under the bill, if the Office of Cannabis Management hasn’t created a process for issuing licenses by January 1, the Department of Agriculture and Markets would grant the provisional ones until OCM is able to do so.
“We know that before there’s a vibrant new market place, there actually has to be a product to sell, and so we want to make sure that we don’t miss a growing season in that process,” he said.
The Office of Cannabis Management falls under the umbrella of the New York State Liquor Authority and will regulate the medical marijuana industry as well.
In a statement, the New York Farm Bureau said, “New York Farm Bureau is taking a look at Senator Cooney’s provisional bill as it seeks to provide adult-use cultivator provisional licenses. The legislation aims to address an important issue, moving forward with needed licenses and a regulatory framework that will allow farmers to take advantage of growing cannabis if they are interested in diversifying their businesses.”