The New York legislature has confirmed two Black leaders to run the state’s newly-created cannabis control board: Chris Alexander, a former staffer at The Drug Policy Alliance, will be executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, while former Brooklyn Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright will serve as chair.

The confirmations arrived Wednesday evening and come months after the state legalized recreational marijuana, during which former Gov. Andrew Cuomo reportedly butted heads with legislative leaders over who should run the board. Gov. Kathy Hochul referenced those delays Tuesday night, when she announced the legislature would be returning for a rare special session.

“There is no reason why simple announcements in terms of who the executive director is and who the chair person is were not done in time, but I'm going to make up for that lost time and I want those decisions made,” Hochul said, who appointed Wright and Alexander.

During a hearing before the state legislature on Wednesday, Wright said that she had only heard from Hochul about the position the day before. She wouldn’t commit to any specifics for when the public would be able to start purchasing legal cannabis, but it won't be for at least three months.

“I don’t want to make an assumption that that is the timeline that we are going to commit to because this is truly collaborative. We are all gonna end up working together,” Wright said.

Meanwhile, Alexander and Wright’s appointments were applauded by marijuana reform advocates. In a statement, Drug Policy Alliance executive director Kassandra Frederique said the move signals that Hochul will take the racial and economic justice aspects of the law seriously.

“[Alexander and Wright] both understand the deep harm that criminalization has caused to individuals and communities – especially communities of color – across the state,” Frederique said. “Their past work has reflected a commitment to working with people who have been directly impacted by prohibition and demonstrated a belief in evidence-based policies that center equity and justice.”

In addition to making sure that the state’s cannabis policy benefits communities that were disproportionately harmed by pot prohibition, primarily through reinvesting 40 percent of sales tax on weed, the board will also be in charge of handing out licenses to commercial growers. David Falkowski is chair of the Long Island Regional Committee of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association. He said Wright and Alexander will help him compete with big companies eyeing the burgeoning market.

“We really look forward most to these new appointed folks to help develop and build a fair and equitable program,” Falkowski said. “Making sure that cannabis in New York is transparent, that it's in favor of small businesses, and open to all people who want to participate.”

JD Allen of WSHU contributed to reporting.