Medical Cannabis Operator Slam New York Gov. Hochul For Major Rollout Failure

Four major medical cannabis retailers in New York sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her to give them licenses to sell adult-use cannabis as court injunctions continue to block licensing activity in the state. The letter points to the thousands of illicit shops, especially in NYC, while only 23 state-licensed shops have been approved to open.

This past week, state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant reversed his preliminary injunction that could have led to a substantial increase in operational cannabis licensing pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by service-disabled veterans. The decision essentially blocks legal retail licensing in the Empire State, while illicit weed sales run rampant. 

Let Medical Cannabis Companies Start Selling Recreational Weed

The four companies are calling on Gov. Hochul and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) to allow already existing MMJ companies like themselves to sell adult-use marijuana as Maryland successfully did by creating a hybrid license structure that allowed existing MMJ companies to sell to recreational users. 

“The state’s ineptitude is endangering New Yorkers who wish to use cannabis safely and legally, while also hurting taxpayers,” said the  Aug. 31 letter obtained by the New York Post and signed by Matt Darin, CEO of Curaleaf Holdings CURLF, Ben Kovler of Green Thumb Industries GTBIF, Denis Curran, CEO of Acreage Holdings ACRHF and Brett Novey, CEO of PharmaCann

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“OCM has abused its authority under New York’s adult use law, played politics with the licensing process, and allowed thousands of unregulated, commercial scale sellers to flood the market with unregulated and unsafe cannabis products,” the strongly-worded letter continues. “Today, the State’s entire cannabis ecosystem is in dire need of a new direction.” 

The MMJ operators say that immediately issuing them licenses would more than double the number of adult-use marijuana dispensaries, while helping other cannabis sellers, including social equity applicants with past pot convictions. 

Lawsuits And More Lawsuits

The long-drawn-out conflict in New York stems from a provision under the state’s program that allows for the first retail weed licenses to be given to people who were negatively affected by the war on drugs or their immediate families. While initially viewed as an honorable gesture, NY’s cannabis authorities seemed to be taking forever to implement the program, which ultimately has led to a series of lawsuits.

The most recent and probably most impactful case that has tied up the licensing process in the courts was brought by four disabled veterans who argue that the state’s preference for social equity candidates should include individuals like themselves. 

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