Statement on the Hochul Administration’s Mishandling of Cannabis Funding

Statement June 12, 2024
Media Contact

New York, N.Y. – This week, revelations came out that the Hochul administration ignored agency expertise and moved ahead with a predatory lender that exploited Black and Brown cannabis licencees, kept the Legislature in the dark, and then blamed the former Office of Cannabis Management for the program’s troubled rollout. DPA is calling on the Governor to present a clear plan to deliver the next phase of the historic law and protect social equity and small businesses that are the heart of New York’s cannabis market in line with the MRTA.

The following statement can be attributed to Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) Executive Director Kassandra Frederique:

“Today’s revelations about the Hochul administration’s mishandling of the legal marijuana rollout are deeply concerning, and strikingly echo the Governor’s congestion pricing reversal. In both instances, she bypassed the Legislature’s will and rejected agency expertise to enact sweeping changes without a concrete plan.

“It’s now clear that her administration knew of DASNY’s failures to build retail space and ignored repeated warnings from the Office of Cannabis Management about predatory loans harming mostly Black and Brown licensees. Instead of addressing these issues, the Hochul administration agreed to unfavorable loan terms with a disreputable creditor and then scapegoated the former OCM leader for the rollout’s failures.

“What Governor Hochul calls social equity has only made cannabis licensees more vulnerable to exploitation. Our communities deserve better—real equity, real opportunities, and an administration that follows the law’s intent. The Governor must present a clear plan for delivering the next phase of our justice-centered cannabis framework in accordance with the law.”


About the Drug Policy Alliance 

The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the U.S. working to end the drug war, repair its harms, and build a non-punitive, equitable, and regulated drug market. We envision a world that embraces the full humanity of people, regardless of their relationship to drugs. We advocate that the regulation of drugs be grounded in evidence, health, equity, and human rights. In collaboration with other movements and at every policy level, we change laws, advance justice, and save lives. Learn more at

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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