New York’s legalized pot program is on a train to nowhere – apparently derailed because Governor Andrew Cuomo is angry about his stalled plans to overhaul the governance of the MTA.
Cuomo and state lawmakers approved the legalized sale of weed in New York in March, but the governor has since become a real buzzkill on the subject, critics say.
He has yet to nominate an executive director for his new Office of Cannabis Management or appoint officers to the Cannabis Control Board, despite the fact that the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act was passed months ago, it says.
His representative, who was asked by The Post on Sunday about the lack of exercise, put the burden on the state Senate – while also noting that the Pols are not passing Cuomo’s proposed MTA legislation.
“We agree that there are still a lot of unfinished business with the Senate and we are ready to submit our nominations and we hope they will meet again and implement these and our MTA laws and nominations,” said Cuomo- Speaker Richard Azzopardi.
Mike Murphy, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D-Yonkers), fired back: “I don’t know what connection the government is making between two different issues, but it’s worrying.”
The MTA is currently headed by a chairman / CEO, but the Democratic governor wants to split the leadership into two separate positions, a chairman and a chairman of the board.
The Democrat-controlled Senate blocked Cuomo’s proposal at the eleventh hour calling for split before it was adjourned last month.
State Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, said both sides could wait a long time.
“We are between a rock and a hard place. It’s kind of a stalemate, ”she said.
“We’re pissed off and frustrated” over Cuomo’s inaction on the pot, added Savino. “For my life I don’t want to understand it.
“You should be able to walk and roll a joint at the same time.”
State Senator Diane Savino has called waiting for marijuana in New York a “steerate”.Gregory P. Mango
Nothing can happen in relation to the sale of cannabis in the state – including licensing to launch a marijuana market for the sale of seeds – without regulators to set the ground rules and make the decisions.
Cuomo would have to nominate three people to begin forming the five-member Cannabis Control Board, and the Senate would then have to approve it. The other two members are elected by the legislature – one each by the assembly and the senate.
It will now likely be a year or more before cannabis products are sold over the counter in New York, say lawmakers and proponents of the cannabis industry.
Cuomo was a reluctant fighter in the campaign to legalize weed. He once referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug,” but approved the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes – and later for recreational use – after seeing surrounding states move in that direction.
Many New Yorkers are currently crossing the border to buy weed in Massachusetts retail stores.
Both neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut recently approved marijuana for adult use, but none of the states are yet selling it.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission is up and running and is already holding several meetings. Licensing of weed breeders and sellers has not yet taken place, however, and sales are not expected until next year.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont passed a law just last month allowing the sale of marijuana. However, he has already named his person responsible for overseeing the program and appointing a council to review related social stocks.
Jeremy Unrush, CEO of Pharma-Cann, which has a New York license to grow and sell medical marijuana, complained: “Cannabis is legal”. [in the Empire State]but there is no place to buy it.
“The illegal market continues to do its thing,” he told the Post. “I expected New York to move faster.”
New York will impose a 13 percent excise tax on marijuana sales, of which 9 percent will go to the state and 4 percent to local governments.
Depending on the potency, a wholesale tax is levied – one cent per milligram on edibles, eight tenths of a cent on concentrated cannabis and half a cent per milligram on flowers or buds.
New York officials estimate that marijuana sales could generate $ 350 million in tax revenue annually for the state treasury.