Gov. Hochul leaves out environment and marijuana from first speech, leaders say she’s committed

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some noticed Gov. Kathy Hochul failed to mention some topics during her first address to New Yorkers Tuesday. These include the environment, sports betting and recreational marijuana.

Leaders who support these causes and know the governor, are saying just because Hochul didn’t cover those topics, doesn’t mean she’s not committed.

Julie Tighe, the President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, believes Gov. Hochul has been long committed to clean energy and a greener environment.

“Getting us off of fossil fuels, and on to renewable solar, and wind, and hydropower,” Tighe said.

Tighe says former Governor Andrew Cuomo also championed the environment, but Hochul is going to take it to the next level. Hochul, she says has been the face of clean energy for years. 

“I know that she’s got a great team, and I think that she’s going to continue to build upon that,” Tighe said.

Also left out of Hochul’s speech was the adult recreational use of marijuana. Senator Jeremy Cooney, an advocate for the cause, both from an economic and social justice standpoint says there is local interest in the market.

“We get phone calls into our office from people right here in Rochester who want to be a part of this new economy,” said.

Cooney says this was all signed into law by Cuomo but the former governor did not put any names in for the office of cannabis management for the Senate to vote on. In short, it’s stuck right now. 

“We can’t tell them when the licenses are going to be available, how much that’s going to cost to apply for one, what the timeline will be…” Cooney said.

According to Cooney, he knows where Hochul stands on this issue. He believes she’ll get things moving. Our economy is at a point where it could certainly use the boost from marijuana sales. “We are very well suited here in Upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region specifically because we have the land,” Cooney said. “And this is estimated to produce billions of dollars of state tax revenue.”

The Governor’s office responded on Thursday with the following:

“1. On the environment: “It remains a priority for Governor Hochul to ensure all New Yorkers, especially historically underserved communities, have greater access to affordable energy choices and can benefit from the good-paying jobs and investments our clean energy transition is bringing. New York will be the example for the rest of the country in its fight on climate change charting a cleaner, more sustainable path with the achievement of our ambitious climate goals.

2. Adult recreational use of marijuana: The Administration is actively working to ensure the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board can begin implementing a safe, equitable and transparent adult-use cannabis industry as soon as possible. The Governor is committed to appointing individuals with diverse experiences and subject matter expertise who are representative of communities from across the state. Once the Cannabis Control Board is in place, the Office will be officially formed and can begin promulgating regulations to implement the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), including provisions outlining cannabis product requirements, ensuring industry access for small businesses and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs and opportunities for legacy operators and people with past cannabis convictions.

3.  On sports betting: ursuant to the legislative directive, the Commission issued a Request For Application on August 9, 2021. Six applications consisting of 12 platform providers and 14 operators were received. Review of the applications is underway. Rules governing the activity will come off SAPA public comment on November 1, 2021.  Accordingly, award of licenses and finalization of rules is likely to occur near that date, with mobile sports wagering launching as soon as practicable thereafter.”

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