A common question among cannabis users is, “Where’s the weed?” In this case, the answer is difficult. There is $750 million worth of legal adult recreational cannabis here in upstate New York, but it can’t be sold or bought. According to Bloomberg, there are nearly 300,000 pounds of marijuana at the 200 state-licensed farms. If the crop isn’t sold soon, it could be completely ruined. With no “legal” recreational pharmacies opening, the farmers have no one to sell it to.
Today, Monday, November 21, 2022, the New York State Cannabis Control Board is expected to hold a meeting and potentially distribute 36 dispensary licenses, according to Syracuse.com. Hopefully there’s nothing holding up the licenses. That was that marijuana growers have places in the state to distribute the cannabis to.
The distribution of adult conditional retail distribution (CAURD) licenses has been disrupted by a non-governmental cannabis company that has filed a lawsuit to obtain a license.
Cannabis dispensaries in upstate New York have just been hit with a long delay
If you’ve been looking forward to legal marijuana dispensaries opening soon in New York State, there’s been a major setback. Certain regions have been barred from obtaining licenses following a lawsuit. On Thursday, November 10, 2022, a judge blocked the issuance of 63 licenses statewide.
Almost half of the original 150 pharmacy licenses cannot be distributed. The lawsuit in question affects 5 regions – Brooklyn, Finger Lakes, Central NY, Western NY and Mid-Hudson. A Michigan man named Kenneth Gay has sued New York State, claiming that he should be able to obtain a license to open a pharmacy in New York State.
Michigan residents file lawsuit to stop New York State from licensing cannabis to New Yorkers
Michigan-based Variscite NY One, Inc. filed the lawsuit to prevent the Office of Cannabis Management from issuing licenses for adult conditional retail distribution (CAURD) licenses in the regions. Variscite alleges that the Office of Cannabis Management’s dispensary license application program is unconstitutional because it doesn’t allow out-of-state operators to apply first. The company is relatively new in New York; his New York Domestic Business Corporation was filed on August 31, 2022. Prior to August 31, the Company did not conduct business in New York State.
According to Leafly,
On October 6, an initial request for an injunction was denied by the court. Thursday’s new ruling says New York’s Attorney General has failed to prove the state has a legitimate purpose to favor New Yorkers affected by the War on Drugs over non-residents.
Variscite owner claims to qualify for New York State CURAD license
Gay, Variscite’s majority owner, claims the company qualifies for a CURAD license and has a non-violent cannabis conviction. The problem is that the sentencing took place in Michigan, not New York State. Gay insists the Office of Cannabis Management’s laws violate an interstate trade clause that says states cannot exclude foreign companies in favor of locals. Keep in mind that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and his reasoning is based on the US Constitution. US District Court for the Northern District of New York, Judge Gary Sharpe, ruled in favor of Variscite.
Until the case is resolved, the CURAD licenses will be moved in at least the 5 regions. The state could decide to halt licensing in all regions pending further lawsuits, or keep all initial licenses on the same schedule.
Here’s how many legal marijuana stores there will be in each region of New York state
Is it legal to grow marijuana at home in New York State?