Litigation Blocks New York Cannabis Retail Licenses

Litigation Blocks New York Cannabis Retail Licenses
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More than a year-and-a-half after New York cannabis became legal in the state, the first retail licenses have finally been issued, but several more have been blocked by court order. The legal case appears to be a ploy by out-of-state money to break into the Empire State’s lucrative market—even if it means undermining the state’s ambitious “equity” program. Michigan Meddling The Cannabis Control Board of the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) on Nov. 21 awarded 36 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses. It was a first step toward what is projected to be a $5 billion market—potentially the largest in the country. And not one of the licenses went to multi-state operators (MSOs) with 28 awarded to people with past cannabis convictions, or family members with such convictions. Another eight went to non-profit organizations involved in questions of social justice—such as Housing Works, which helps provide housing for HIV-positive individuals. The first 150 license-holders are to be chosen for such criteria, and will be eligible to receive aid from a $200 million Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund.  In a statement to the press, Control Board chair Tremaine Wright said: “With the first adult-use retail dispensary licenses in the hands of businesses and eligible nonprofits, we’ve ensured the first sales will be made at dispensaries operated by those impacted by the unjust enforcement of cannabis prohibition.”    However, the state is temporarily blocked from issuing 63 licenses because of an injunction in a federal lawsuit filed by what appears to be a Michigan-based company. The plaintiff, Variscite NY One, is challenging the eligibility requirements under the equity program on the basis that they violate the so-called “Dormant Commerce Clause” of the US Constitution. An interpretation of the Commerce Clause rather than an actual constitutional text, this refers to the prohibition against states passing laws that discriminate against or excessively burden interstate commerce.…

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Source : Litigation Blocks New York Cannabis Retail Licenses

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