The state's recreational marijuana industry will remain on hold for at least an additional two weeks after a state Supreme Court judge Friday determined an injunction barring the issuing of new licenses or approval of plans to open retail dispensaries earlier this week will stay in place until the next hearing.
The Conditional Adult-Use Retail cannabis program, which prioritizes the state's retail licenses for people and family of New Yorkers with past marijuana convictions, is on hold after a group of service-disabled veterans filed suit alleging the program is unconstitutional. Plaintiffs argue the state's Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, which legalized recreational cannabis in New York in 2021, requires licenses must also be prioritized for disabled veterans and other minority groups.
Ulster County Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant on Friday decided the temporary ban will stay in effect until the next hearing in the case can take place in two weeks.
It's disappointing advocates, cultivators and hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs alike.
Cannabis Association of New York interim Executive Director Hal McCabe says members of the association are severly disappointed by the decision and the deeper consequences it will have on the state's legal marijuana industry.
"This injunction continues to threaten tens of thousands of jobs, thousands of businesses and the entire industry as a whole," McCabe said in a statement. "Not only will there be no new licenses issued, but those unopened businesses already granted a CAURD license must stay closed. The Legislature should return for a special session and codify CAURD into law just as they did with the [Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators] and [Adult-Use Conditional Processors]."
The case marks the industry's second significant legal challenge delaying the opening of additional stores in less than a year, contributing to the rise of hundreds of illicit dispensaries operating statewide.
As a result, New York's industry has struggled to get off the ground with about 20 open storefronts of more than 430 issued retail licenses.
"The [Office of Cannabis Management] and [Cannabis Control Board] need to remove the registered organizations' entrance to the New York legal adult-use cannabis market until further notice," McCabe added. "We also need to seriously consider a full emergency regulations package because the public’s health and the public’s safety is in danger with the thousands of illicit shops."