cannabis industry

New York’s Top Cannabis Regulator Resigns Following Governor’s Criticism

Chris Alexander, the inaugural executive director of New York’s Office of Cannabis Management, resigned last week following criticisms by Gov. Kathy Hochul against the agency and its roll-out of the adult-use cannabis industry.

Full story after the jump.

New York’s top cannabis regulator Chris Alexander resigned on Friday following recent criticisms of the state’s cannabis agency leveled by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), The City reports.

The governor had announced earlier this month — during a press conference where he was notably absent — that Alexander would be stepping down at the end of his term in September as executive director role of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

“I have been reluctant to write this email due to the deep connection and commitment I have to this work and to this Team. And while I planned to serve out the remainder of my term, I no longer have confidence in my ability to do my job and lead this team effectively under current circumstances.” – Alexander, in an email, via The City

Alexander said in his emailed resignation that “it has been the honor of a lifetime to lead this group of the most dedicated public servants that I have ever encountered” but that “it would be disingenuous for me to not acknowledge how difficult the last several months have been.”

Hochul appointed Alexander to be the inaugural director of New York‘s cannabis agency in September 2021. However, an audit of the cannabis industry’s botched roll-out ordered by the governor in March found that the agency had been hindered by inexperienced leadership and inefficiencies in the licensing process.

Hochul told The City, “I am grateful for Chris Alexander’s work, first in developing and securing the passage of the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act and then in launching the Office of Cannabis Management,” according to the report.

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