New York gov taps state insiders for key roles at cannabis agency

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is continuing her leadership shake-up at the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), the state’s chief marijuana regulator.

According to a news release, Hochul appointed two executives with state-government ties to the OCM and promoted a third:

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  • Felicia Reid, as executive deputy director and acting executive director.
  • Susan Filburn, as chief administrative officer.
  • Jessica Woolford, promoted to director of external affairs.

Reid, who has spent more than a decade in state-government positions, will oversee operational and regulatory functions, including licensing, compliance and enforcement.

Filburn, who’s spent 20 years in state-government leadership roles, will take on a newly created position focused on supporting and improving licensing, compliance and enforcement operations.

Woolford, who’s served as the OCM’s communications director since October, now will focus on community engagement and establish the agency’s customer-service team to help applicants, licensees and consumers.

In announcing the personnel changes on Monday, the governor’s office also said a nationwide search would be conducted for a permanent executive director of OCM, following the public ouster of Chris Alexander.

Rather than finish out his term, which was to expire in September, Alexander resigned a few weeks ago after Hochul said he would not be reappointed.

Hochul appointed Alexander to oversee the OCM in 2021.

Since New York launched adult-use sales in December 2022, the market has underperformed its multibillion-dollar potential and struggled to find momentum amid:

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