A court decision to halt the opening of dispensaries all around the city has left the future of New York’s legal marijuana sector in uncertainty. It comes in the midst of a lawsuit filed by veterans who contend they were excluded from the licensing process.
A Supreme Court Justice ruled in favor of a group of service-disabled members who were vying for licenses to open dispensaries. Their lawsuit claimed, among other things, that cannabis authorities had disregarded the state constitution by only approving licenses for justice-involved business owners at the start of the marijuana industry.
Impacts Of Halting Cannabis Dispensary Licenses In NY
This move is the latest setback for New York’s struggling legal marijuana market, which was introduced in January 2023 and had 20 dispensaries open as of June.
In the first six months of the business, sales of legal marijuana increased to $33 million as New York recently cracked down on unauthorized cannabis shops.
However, the legal cannabis industry is still a long way from fulfilling the lofty political promises made by state legislators who supported the legalization of adult-use marijuana in 2021.
Additionally, any suspension of the licensing program will financially hurt those who have already started investing in setting up businesses with provisional licenses.
What Does The NY Cannabis Lawsuit Claim
The conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) license category was allegedly created by state Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board employees in violation of state law, according to a part of the veterans’ lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the state law established in 2021 required giving priority to a number of social equity applicants, such as minority or women-owned businesses, farmers in distress, or veterans with disabilities. All these criteria are being disregarded because these CAURD licenses are only going to businesses that are justice-involved.
What Is The Interim Court Ruling
Four veterans have filed a complaint in the state supreme court alleging that the Office of Cannabis Management unconstitutionally set up a process that required a prior marijuana-related conviction.
In response to a lawsuit initiated by veterans regarding the state’s cannabis licenses, a preliminary injunction has been imposed against the New York State Office of Cannabis Management.
As a result, the office is not permitted to issue or process any new cannabis licenses, with the exception of those licensees that passed all requirements for licensing prior to August 7.
The service-disabled veterans said in a statement that they look forward to cooperating with the government and the court to make the program available to all qualified candidates.
The licenses for dispensaries that are open or about to open their doors are still valid, it is important to remember this.
On October 30, a public hearing will be held to go over this case and other challenges with the legal cannabis industry. Cannabis growers, processors, and retailers as well as representatives from regulatory organizations are invited to speak.
Cure8 is keeping a close watch over the developments. Watch out this space for more information.