Friend Urges Replacing the Office of Cannabis Management

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C-Big Flats) is calling for the elimination of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and believes the responsibility should go to the State Liquor Authority or even local control. This comes after the New York State Cannabis Control Board's Chief Compliance Officer Damian Fagon was placed on leave pending an investigation due to the way OCM has been ineffective with the rollout of legal cannabis, while not cracking down on illegal cannabis shops.

 NY Cannabis Insider reported on the state's recall of products from Jenny's Baked at Home Company, a Columbia County-based cannabis gummy processor. Recently, the Office of Cannabis Management issued a stop-work order against the company's owner, Jenny Argie, and placed all her products under quarantine.

According to a complaint filed by Argie last week in the state Supreme Court, the agency's actions came after months of Argie publicly criticizing the troubled launch of legal marijuana in New York. This included her testimony in October during a state Senate hearing. In November, Argie also spoke with a reporter for NY Cannabis Insider and shared a recorded call between herself and Fagon. The investigation is looking into Fagon to see if this was a targeted attack against Ms. Argie and her business, and purely retaliatory in nature for daring to speak out publicly against Mr. Fagon directly and the OCM generally.

“Continuing to let OCM be in charge of overseeing the adult-use, medical and cannabinoid hemp industries will lead to even more shortcomings regarding a safe and responsible rollout of legal cannabis. The organization is more focused on retaliating against legal business owners than shutting down illegal marijuana stores that are potentially putting fentanyl into our communities,” said Friend.