NY cannabis agencies sued by medical marijuana providers

Mar 16, 2023, 1:48 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A coalition that includes some of New York’s medical marijuana companies sued state cannabis regulators Thursday in an effort to open up licensing to all retail dispensary applicants immediately.

The lawsuit, filed in state court in Albany, claims that state cannabis regulators exceeded their legal authority when they opened the initial application pool in August only to people with past pot convictions or their relatives, instead to everyone. The lawsuit names as defendants the state’s Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management, as well as top officials.

Offering first dibs to individuals with past pot convictions or their relatives was an attempt to create opportunities for those who have been most adversely affected by pot policing, which resulted in Black and Latino people being arrested at disproportionately high rates.

According to a memo filed with the lawsuit, the regulatory cannabis boards “overstepped their rule-making authority,” and as a result it “indefinitely postponed the licensing of the hundreds of additional dispensaries necessary to satisfy consumer demand and to displace the illicit markets.”

The lawsuit comes as New York tries to get its potentially huge legal market into high gear almost two years after it legalized recreational marijuana for adult use. So far, 66 dispensary licenses have been awarded. The state’s fifth store, a dispensary in Ithaca, was set to open on Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed by Coalition for Access to Regulated & Safe Cannabis, a trade association that represents licensed registered medical cannabis providers, including Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, Acreage Holdings, and Pharmacann. The companies haven’t been able to enter the adult use market in the state because of the limited licensing program, a spokesperson for the coalition said.

This isn’t the first time that the state’s cannabis licensing process has been legally challenged. In November, a judge temporarily blocked New York from issuing pot dispensary licenses in Brooklyn and parts of upstate New York after Variscite NY One claimed the state’s selection process improperly favors in-state residents over out-of-state residents. That case is ongoing.

Meanwhile, unauthorized pot shops and trucks have popped up throughout the state.

The lawsuit contends that if licensing had been opened to all applicants, it would have curtailed illicit storefronts and generated enough tax revenue to reinvest in local communities, which are key provisions of the law that legalized recreational marijuana.

A spokesperson for the Office of Cannabis Management said he had no comment on the lawsuit.


Maysoon Khan is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on Twitter.

United States News

Associated Press

Palestinian flag lodged in public Hanukkah menorah in Connecticut sparks outcry

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A person briefly hung a Palestinian flag from a Hanukkah menorah in a public area, prompting widespread condemnation and a police investigation. The unidentified person scaled the menorah at a public green near the Yale University campus during a nearby pro-Palestinian rally Saturday and lodged a Palestinian flag between the […]

2 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge closes Flint water case against former Michigan governor

DETROIT (AP) — A judge on Monday formally dismissed misdemeanor charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in the Flint water scandal and ordered that police records and his booking photo be destroyed. The dismissal was expected, weeks after the Michigan Supreme Court turned down a last-gasp appeal from state prosecutors and ended criminal cases […]

5 minutes ago

Associated Press

Suspect in Montana vehicle assault said religious group she targeted was being racist, witness says

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A woman who police said repeatedly drove through a group of religious demonstrators, wounding one person in Montana’s largest city, allegedly told a clerk at a nearby convenience store that she was upset members of the group were expressing racist views against white people, the clerk said. The demonstrators targeted in […]

9 minutes ago

Associated Press

3 Chilean nationals accused of burglarizing high-end Michigan homes

Three Chilean nationals have been arrested in connection with a series of burglaries of mansions and other high-end homes in suburban Detroit and across Michigan. The charges were announced Monday by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel who said the three are suspected in eight break-ins after they arrived in the Detroit area on a Feb. […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Firefighters search for anyone trapped after corner of six-story Bronx apartment building collapses

NEW YORK (AP) — A six-story corner of a Bronx apartment building collapsed Monday afternoon, leaving apartments exposed like a stack of shelves, according to authorities and bystander and news video. There were no reports of injuries by early evening, but firefighters were continuing to search. A worker at a nearby deli, Julian Rodriguez, said […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

After losing Houston mayor’s race, US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to seek reelection to Congress

HOUSTON (AP) — Two days after losing her bid to be Houston’s next mayor, longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced on Monday she will seek a 16th term in Congress in 2024. Jackson Lee first took office in 1995. Her district includes downtown Houston and some of the city’s historically Black neighborhoods, including 3rd […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @iamdamonallred...

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

NY cannabis agencies sued by medical marijuana providers