(WBNG) -- In addition to COVID-19 and the distribution of rent relief funds, Governor Kathy Hochul (D) will also have responsibility for guiding a budding industry.
The New York State Legislature effectively legalized marijuana this spring through the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, passed with the signature of former Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of the state budget.
However, while possession of the drug is now legal, the sale of marijuana is not, and the industry infrastructure to allow future sales has lagged behind.
CEO of Castetter Cannabis Group and Southern Tier entrepreneur Kaelan Castetter told 12 News Cuomo deliberately slowed down the legalization process while he was governor; he did so by not naming appointees to the Office of Cannabis Management created to oversee the industry.
Castetter said if Hochul takes a proactive approach, New York could reverse course and speed up the process.
"I still think we're about 6-8 months away from any sort of licensing, applications opening up, but that timeline was getting pushed back and back and back with the governor refusing to roll out appointments… we're looking at spring and summer of 2022 where we can actually start to see this industry begin to be rolled out," he said Friday.
Castetter said it's believed Hochul's appointees will be announced 'imminently', allowing for more appointees to be announced and the next steps to be taken; the CEO also stated he's hopeful Hochul will take a more business-friendly approach compared to the regulation-heavy approach under Cuomo.
He added New York needs to get its legalization process rolled out before federal legalization happens in order to capitalize on the new market in the state.