ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — For months New York cannabis applicants have been looking forward to starting up adult use dispensaries, but that’s all been put on hold. A federal judge has blocked five regions in New York from issuing cannabis licenses after a Michigan company claimed the states application process was discriminatory against those who live outside New York.
“The way that I like to think about it is protectionist, we’re not allowed to do things that protect the interest in our state to the detriment of others when it comes to potential interstate commerce,” said cannabis attorney, Jeffrey Hoffman.
That is the grounds for what a Michigan company, by the name of Variscite filed their complaint. Under the Conditional Adult Use Recreational Dispensary application, the applicants had to meet two criteria: that they or a close family member had a marijuana-related offense before March of 2021 and that they have some experience owning and operating a business in New York.
The court document reads: “Variscite applied for a CAURD license; however, because it “is [fiftyone percent] owned by an individual who has a cannabis conviction under Michigan law” and “has no significant connection to New York,” 3 Variscite is ineligible to be selected.”
As part of the application process, Variscite selected five regions to apply, where the judge has now blocked from distributing those licenses: the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Western New York, Mid-Hudson, and Brooklyn. Cannabis attorney Jeffrey Hoffman says the timing is awful, “Literally there’s gonna be a meeting on the 21st, and all indications were that some licenses were gonna start getting issued and you know here we are a little before a week before that and `not a good time for a federal court to enjoin you from doing that.”
Lucas Dobbins is a CAURD applicant, he says this took him by surprise. “I feel worse for the cultivators cause I personally know a local cultivator, Honest farms and they have a lot of flower ready to go and there’s a shelf life on that,” said Dobbins.
Right now it’s unknown if the licensing can continue in other regions of New York. The Office of Cannabis Management cannot comment on matters involving litigation.