After being denied access to the Empire State’s law authorizing marijuana sales, medical marijuana vendors have pushed Gov. Kathy Hochul to permit them to sell their product to all adults.
The four medical cannabis businesses pleaded with Hochul to change his mind and grant them licenses so they can speed up the state’s sluggish and rocky rollout and increase sales and tax receipts.
The four businesses were the first in New York to be permitted to sell marijuana, but only for medical purposes. In accordance with the state legislature-approved statute, authorities granted the first retail cannabis licenses to convicted pot dealers. Nevertheless, the licensing procedure is currently enmeshed in litigation since injured veterans filed a lawsuit claiming they were unfairly excluded out.
Only 23 state-licensed dispensaries have opened, according to the letter to Hochul, allowing a large number of illegal marijuana businesses to cannibalize the market without paying taxes and some of them to sell damaged marijuana.
The medical marijuana company owners argued that awarding them licenses right once would more than double the number of adult-use dispensaries in the state while assisting other cannabis vendors, including convicted marijuana dealers, to maintain their own operations.
The owners emphasized that they have the necessary infrastructure in place to offer new retailers a steady supply chain of cannabis goods that have been examined, tested, and subjected to taxes.
Struggle for Fair Cannabis Licensing
To offer victims of the drug war a chance to compete in the market rather than have the large medical weed companies dominate, state lawmakers and authorities reserved the initial round of cannabis retail licenses for applicants who had been found guilty of marijuana-related charges.
Nevertheless, some supporters furiously objected, charging Hochul’s administration with discriminating against handicapped veterans of the military and other applicants — including medical marijuana businesses — by giving licenses to marijuana sales to felons with prior drug convictions.
Last month, Justice Kevin Bryant of the Albany State Supreme Court issued an injunction prohibiting the issuance of any additional licenses after concluding that the state had probably broken the law by giving convicted marijuana felons preference over other social equity applicants, such as disabled veterans.
However, Bryant stated last week that he would not permit 23 suppliers to be excluded from his licensing freeze for recreational marijuana because OCM had not demonstrated that they complied with all opening-day standards.
Ten medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell cannabis to the general public, instead of just sick people, under rules authorized by the state Cannabis Control Board in May, but only starting on December 30.
In addition, the Hochul administration has increased enforcement efforts in collaboration with state and municipal enforcement agencies, which have led to the recovery of sizable amounts of marijuana that was being sold illegally in unlicensed smoke shops.