Resolution of NY Cannabis Case May Kickstart Delayed Legal Weed Dispensary LaunchNovember 14, 2023
A dispute with New York cannabis regulators that had stopped the opening of new legal weed shops has been settled, allowing the resumption of the long-delayed rollout. A group of service-disabled veterans who sued the state over licensing for legal pot shops has reached an “agreement in principle” to settle the lawsuit, a lawyer for the plaintiffs wrote to a state appeals court. The lawsuit was filed by four service-disabled veterans who claimed that the state program to prioritize social justice goals by giving out licenses to people impacted by the War on Drugs and their families was illegal. The settlement has yet to be finalized, but the news of a tentative agreement has sparked hope among prospective dispensary owners. The lawsuit alleges that the state’s Cannabis Control Board overstepped its authority by giving priority to those with marijuana-related offenses and their families. An injunction was imposed in August, preventing the issuance of new retail licenses and the opening of new dispensaries. The Office of Cannabis Management declined to comment, and a spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul also declined. There are 26 licensed dispensaries operating in New York State. The rest are unlicensed shops that sell unregulated weed. Roger Thomas, co-founder of Mello Tymes, is hopeful that the injunction will be lifted soon, allowing him to open a cannabis dispensary in the Bronx. However, he anticipates more lawsuits in the near future. New York State Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant allowed some exceptions to the injunction, but most of the hundreds of licenses had to sit and wait, losing money on rent and contracts. The settlement agreement comes after the state’s application opened up to the general public, moving toward the next stage in its rollout. The licensing window was launched on October 4 and will remain open until December. The settlement must first be drafted and approved by both sides.