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New York Judge Prevents Licensing Process Being Halted Again, But Legal Challenges Continue to Mount

Efforts to put New York’s cannabis licensing process on hold once again have been blocked by a federal judge, but fresh legal cases and criticism of the state’s ‘disastrous’ roll out continue to mount.

On Friday (February 02), Northern District of New York Judge Anne Nardacci rejected calls to put a stop to the licencing process after a fresh lawsuit claimed the state’s scheme was unfairly discriminating against out-of-state residents.

She ruled that the ‘significant harm’ the injunction would cause to New York’s adult-use cannabis industry would outweigh the benefits of halting the process.

The licencing process and wider roll out of New York’s progressive adult-use cannabis market was recently criticised by Democratic New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who called the program a ‘disaster’, adding that she thought it was unlikely the programme could be fixed without significant changes to the law itself.

Her stance is reflected among swathes of the cannabis industry, many of which are continuing to bring lawsuits against the state’s cannabis regulators, with the process already being brought to a halt twice due to legal challenges.

With fewer than 60 licenced dispensaries open, the proliferation of thousands of illicit stores is placing huge financial pressure on those trying to operate legitimately.

As Business of Cannabis reported late last month, another lawsuit was brought against New York’s cannabis regulators, this time by microbusiness applicant Valencia AG.

In a federal lawsuit filed against the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and its board members, executive director and Chief Equity Officer, Valencia has accused the OCM of being ‘brazenly engaged in racial and gender discrimination’.

Now, a further lawsuit has been filed by seven women-owned social equity cannabis companies who claim the regulator broke the rules when they implemented a ‘randomised queue’ to review more than 2000 applications.

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