Sep 2, 2021
First Cannabis Regulators Confirmed in New York

The New York State Senate confirmed Tremaine Wright as chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) and Christopher Alexander as executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). These are the two first confirmed nominees of Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration. The Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management will create and implement a comprehensive regulatory framework for New York’s cannabis industry, including the production, licensing, packaging, marketing and sale of cannabis products.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), passed on March 31, 2021, sets out one of the nation’s most comprehensive and progressive legal frameworks for the regulation of the adult-use, medical and hemp industries, with a focus on ensuring the greatest possible participation by communities historically impacted by prohibition. The law calls for a five-member board to oversee the creation and implementation of the OCM and contemplates the appointment of a Chief Equity Officer charged with developing a social equity plan designed to facilitate and support participation by social equity applicants. The MRTA also limits the number of licenses that can be owned by one company and prohibits the vertical integration of production and retail services, further ensuring that small businesses have an opportunity to compete in the new market.

Tremaine S. Wright to serve as chair of Cannabis Control Board

Tremaine S. Wright is a former member of the New York State Assembly and currently serves as the first Director of the DFS Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment. Ms. Wright is an attorney, entrepreneur, small business owner and activist who is a second-generation Bedford Stuyvesant resident invested in preserving the rich legacy of her community and building a strong foundation for the future. She has dedicated her career to empowering and creating opportunities for her neighbors and her community.

Christopher Alexander to serve as executive director of Office of Cannabis Management

Chris Alexander is a criminal justice reformer, advocate, and policy expert. He is a native of Hollis, Queens and the son of immigrant parents who came to the United States from the Caribbean island of Grenada.

He is the architect of the Start SMART NY campaign to end marijuana prohibition and the lead drafter of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, New York’s marijuana legalization bill.

Chris currently works as the Government Relations and Policy Manager for Village, a multi-state cannabis company. He is charged with engaging with legislative leaders and supporting policy makers as they look to expand access to cannabis in their state.

Ms. Wright was elected to the New York State Assembly on November 8, 2016. She served the 56th Assembly District of Brooklyn, NY which represents the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Northern Crown Heights neighborhoods. She served as Chair of New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Foster Care.

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