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New York’s Embattled Cannabis Regulator Faces ‘Top-Down’ Review As Lawsuits And Frustrations Mount

New York’s embattled Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) is set to be put under a ‘top-down review’ as lawsuits and scandals continue to hit the regulatory landscape.

According to a report from the New York Times, Governor Kathy Hochul has ordered the commissioner for the New York State Office of General Services, Jeanette Moy, to conduct an internal review of the entire organization.

This 30-day multi-agency assessment will examine the OCM’s structure, processes, and systems, identify and implement key policy changes, and establish action plans to overhaul the faltering adult-use cannabis framework in New York.

The review is likely to come as positive news for the majority of New York’s legal cannabis industry, much of which has been battling to stay afloat amid a painfully slow licensing procedure and a failure to tackle the booming illicit market.

Last month, Business of Cannabis reported that regulators had collected just $22,500 in fines from unlicensed cannabis shops, despite issuing more than $25m and being granted greater powers to tackle the issue.

It came just weeks after Hochul doubled down on her criticism of the organization, stating: “I’m not satisfied. I want more enforcement, I want to make sure that we are looking at leadership. I’m looking at opportunities to make major changes.”

The frustration with the OCM has reached fever pitch after 15 months of lawsuits, a lack of funding for social equity licensees, and a shortage of properties, which has meant just 83 retailers have so far been licensed.

It also comes as yet another scandal and subsequent lawsuit emerged over the weekend, with the OCM now standing accused of specifically targeting cannabis businesses which have publicly criticized the organization.

A report from the New York Cannabis Insider details the case of one of the state’s first licensed processors, Jenny Argie, who appeared on a podcast to voice her frustration with the OCM.

She is now suing the organization for recalling her products, which she claims was a direct retaliation to her comments.

According to the report, Argie’s situation isn’t unique, with other industry members reporting similar retaliatory behaviors from the OCM.

The OCM refused to comment on the piece.

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