Leaders in the state Office of Cannabis Management on Wednesday celebrated the opening of the state's 100th legal dispensary — putting on a brave face as the governor's office works to finish a review of the troubled department and needed changes to get New York's recreational marijuana industry off the ground.

State and local officials attended the grand opening of Big Gas Dispensary LLC in New Paltz, Ulster County, where emotions ran high.

"It's been a really long road, it's been a hard road, but we're very, very thankful," Big Gas co-owner Zymia Lewis said.

The store marks the 100th brick-and-mortar cannabis shop to open in the state more than three years after the legalization of recreational cannabis. The slow rollout continues to frustrate Gov. Kathy Hochul.

"It just takes too long to get approvals for the legal industry, and I'm frustrated," the governor told Spectrum News 1 on Tuesday. "I've called this out for a long time."

Hochul last month directed state Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy to conduct a top-down review of OCM for at least 30 days as the agency faces colossal criticism over the troubled launch of legal sales and a sloth-like timeline to approve licenses.

Thursday marks 30 days since Moy's assessment started. The review is ongoing.

Even so, OCM leaders are trying to show the department is gaining momentum. OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander said several hundred more stores are in the process of opening.

"We are running," Alexander told Spectrum News 1 on Wednesday. "We've got a lot of folks who are in the process of getting open who have locations identified."

It's unclear how long the Executive Chamber's review will continue, if Moy's recommendations about the department will be released publicly or how quickly structural changes will be implemented.

Multiple people familiar with the review said the Executive Chamber is pressing the department to dramatically increase the number of retail licenses — or issue hundreds more — and fast. Thousands of applications for a retail license have not been reviewed.

But OCM leaders are worried there's not enough cannabis supply to support what the governor wants.

"We do still need to grow the market responsibly and see how many can [a] community handle?" Alexander said. "Before an operation gets going, we have to see how many dispensaries the state can support, which is why it's not an arbitrary cap. ... It needs to be measured for the purpose of ensuring these businesses are successful."

Department leaders spent significant time at last week's Cannabis Control Board meeting warning the public that issuing too many licenses too quickly could collapse New York's market — similar to industry issues seen in California and Massachusetts. The Cannabis Control Board has issued 105 retail licenses so far this year, and does not cap them.

Hochul on Tuesday said the board has sped up its approval process in the last month since Commissioner Moy commenced her review.

"I know in a matter of time it'll all be worked out, but I want to make sure we speed up the process for those who've been waiting," Hochul said. "It affects our farmers; our upstate farmers have been taking it on the chin over this. We're trying to help them, but also those who've been waiting for a long time.

"Things are starting to get better," she added.

Alexander remains cautious about expediting license approval, but was resolute that the department and Gov. Hochul are aligned on how to fix the industry.

"It's not a divergence of opinion, it's just timing, right?" he said. "It's making sure that we are creating enough runway for the businesses to succeed."

Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger is a former state senator and member of the Cannabis Control Board. She said while New York's cannabis law focuses on social equity and applicants impacted by past drug laws, it's slowed down the success of the industry, but she has faith OCM will right the ship.

"When you create something new, it takes time," Metzger said at Wednesday's opening. "There's going to be hiccups and bumps along the way, but in the end, we're going to get a lot closer to the original goal of the law."

Alexander said right-sizing the agency is a challenge, but OCM and the Executive Chamber will work together after the assessment to make necessary changes.

"We need more people and we need to, you know, get more efficient in our processes," Alexander said. "... We're just trying to make good on this mission that we have in front of us."