What does Cuomo’s resignation mean for New York cannabis?

3 mins read

Will New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s departure slow down the launch of legal adult-use cannabis sales in New York? That depends on who you ask, going by two very different takes by MJ Biz Daily and Insider.

Cuomo ‘slow-walked’ so Kochul could run

According to Insider, some believe Cuomo was dragging his heels on the cannabis file, like when he “slow-walked” appointments to the Office of Cannabis Management, which many took to mean that sales wouldn’t start until 2023.

Kochul could speed things up. “We believe the new Governor may view cannabis as a popular initial (or near term) issue to champion at the start of her term thus gaining an initial win under her belt,” said Viridian analyst Jonathan DeCourcey.

Slow ‘n’ steady could hurt small operators

On the other hand, there’s a chance a change in administration will slow down other important appointments, like the newly established Cannabis Control Board, writes MJ Biz Daily. And that could have devastating effects to businesses, particularly for smaller entrepreneurs and equity licensees aiming to be up-and-running in time for sales.

“If you want to look at some choice real estate now for a grow or processing facility you could find yourself in the position of having to buy that lease now and wait two years before you can get your business up and running, and that could be ruinous,” said Steve Hawkins, CEO of the U.S. Cannabis Council and executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.

(Note: Steve Hawkins will be speaking at Business of Cannabis: New York on September 29. See the announced line-up to date.)

The good news

What do we know for sure? Kochul is pro-legalization, and recognizes the economic opportunity.

“She’s even referred to other states that have legalized as enlightened,” said Rob DiPisa, co-chair of Cole Schotz cannabis practice. “It’s reassuring to me to know that her viewpoints are in line with the direction we’re headed.”

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