New York’s ongoing rocky road to the rollout of its adult-use cannabis market took another turn this week.
On Friday, Judge Kevin Bryant granted a preliminary injunction barring the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) from licensing any new retail cannabis stores.
However, he stipulated that the injunction does not apply to CAURD licensees who had met all the requirements for licensing prior to August 7, 2023.
Prospective cannabis businesses, many of which are now having to delay their opening dates, potentially seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars of product go to waste, now await yet another hearing this coming Friday (August 25).
As Business of Cannabis reported last week, the injunction is part of a lawsuit brought by a group of four service-disabled veterans who argue that they have been unfairly left out of the first round of awarded licences.
The group argued that the OCM diverged from the 2021 Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalised adult-use cannabis in the state, and stipulated that the first licences were to go to people convicted of a cannabis-related offences, veterans who incurred a disability due to their war service, minority- and women-owned businesses, and financially distressed farmers.
As the first round of licences were limited only to people with previous cannabis convictions, the Judge agreed with the veterans, who have a ‘significant likelihood’ of winning their case.
In a statement, OCM’s Taylor Randi Lee said the agency is disappointed with the judge’s decision but is proud to work toward the goal of establishing “a first-of-its-kind, adult-use cannabis market that works to right the wrongs of the past.”
They added that the OCM is applying to the court for exemptions from the injunction ‘on behalf of provisional licensees who are ready to open’, and that the agency won’t let the court case derail efforts.