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August 8, 23

NEWS / NY halts issuing marijuana business licenses under preferential ex-con treatment rule following lawsuit

New York Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant has issued a ruling that bars the State’s Office of Cannabis Management from granting conditional adult-use dispensary licenses pending the outcome of a lawsuit initiated by a group of veterans.

The lawsuit claims that state’s cannabis licensing program, which gives preferential treatment to entrepreneurs with past cannabis-related convictions or their immediate family members, violates the New York State Constitution. They say the regulators usurped the Legislature’s authority and violated New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act of 2021 by failing to issue licenses to veterans and other minority groups

The implementation of the state-wide licensing system has already been delayed by a lawsuit alleging the state was giving preferential treatment to New York residents. At the same time, in May 2023, a ruling by the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals allowed New York to start issuing licenses to qualifying businesses in most areas of the state.

“It is no secret that New York’s adult-use cannabis rollout has been slower than expected, and now is not the time to stand in the way of progress made,” State Senator Jeremy Cooner, the chair of the State Senate’s Subcommittee on Cannabis was quoted by The Center Square are stating, “We must focus on awarding non-conditional licenses, which will prioritize social equity candidates and allow more businesses to open.”

New York legalized recreational cannabis in 2021 under the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed the legislation into law. The law set up a system for taxing and regulating marijuana businesses at the state level. However, to date, only about 10 pot shops have opened, according to state regulators

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