Judge Rules that New York’s Discretionary Licensing Process Violates the Law

On August 18, 2023, a New York Supreme Court judge, ruled that the state’s discretionary licensing process violates the law.

A group of disabled military veterans filed a lawsuit against cannabis regulators claiming the initial round of New York licenses were improperly limited to people with prior marijuana convictions, rather than a wider group of service-disabled veterans and other social equity applicants prioritized by New York’s Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act.

Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant upheld the lawsuit and stated, “There is no dispute” that state law says applications “shall be opened for all applicants at the same time.” As a result, Justice Bryant issued an injunction blocking the the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) from processing or issuing marijuana dispensary licenses until at least Aug. 25. 

This is the latest setback in a series of delays since New York legalized marijuana two and a half years ago. There are only 23 legal dispensaries in the state, with more than 300 farmers and manufacturers in need of a place to sell their goods. 

Further arguments on the ruling will be held Aug. 25. The OCM plans to appeal, a spokesperson said in a statement Monday.

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