New York’s legal cannabis rollout has been plagued with lawsuits and other delays, revealing the complexity of creating a new state-regulated industry and frustrating those trying to capitalize on the legalization of a market projected to generate billions of dollars.
The latest lawsuit argues the state prioritizing people harmed by marijuana enforcement goes beyond the intention of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. It is just the latest in several lawsuits questioning the legality of the rollout. And, while the state’s Office of Cannabis Management announced new regulations and opened up licensing on Sept. 12, even that move drew criticism, and the courts have yet to weigh in.
Feenan and Wolfe wrote there are only 23 licensed cannabis stores open for business in New York. The state’s plan to open the application portal to all cultivator, processor, microbusiness, distributor and retail dispensary applicants on Oct. 4 will increase availability to consumers, but many conditional cultivators and processors fear that allowing registered organizations and out-of-state big cannabis companies to enter the legal market at this juncture could jeopardize their ability to compete.
Many who were once excited to have the chance to enter the legal market are losing
interest due to the constant roadblocks and fear that they may never get the opportunity to apply for a license, Feenan and Wolfe wrote.
Licensed operators all along the supply chain are feeling strained as farmers and processors struggle to sell excess product to the limited number of operable dispensaries. Meanwhile, the illicit cannabis market persists, as consumers who want access to recreational marijuana in areas without licensed dispensaries may seek to purchase it from unregulated sources, undermining the state’s efforts to ensure product safety and quality control.
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