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New York delays settlement discussions for 2 marijuana licensing lawsuits


New York regulators delayed discussions to settle two marijuana licensing lawsuits, adding more uncertainty for social equity applicants in the state.

The New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) was set to discuss potential resolutions at it meeting Friday but instead scratched the items from the agenda as regulators seek solutions, according to Buffalo TV station WGRZ.

“We continue to work diligently to resolve the pending litigation and ensure continued development of the most equitable cannabis market in the country,” according to a statement sent to WGRZ by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), the state’s other chief marijuana regulator.

“We are hopeful that we will have more to share soon.”

MJBizDaily reported last week that regulators and a group of disabled military veterans that challenged the state’s adult-use marijuana licensing process reached “an agreement” to settle one of the lawsuits.

The deal between the OCM and plaintiffs is expected to lead to the end of a temporary injunction that’s been in place since August.

The injunction issued by the New York State Supreme Court has prevented more than 400 conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) licensees across the state from opening for months.

That lawsuit – Carmine Fiore v. New York State Cannabis Control Board – alleged that the OCM overstepped its authority under New York’s 2021 legalization law and opened the licensing application window first to those with marijuana-related offenses and their immediate families rather than allowing all applicants to apply at the same time.

Regulators on Friday also nixed settlement talks on a separate, but related, lawsuit challenging residency priority.

That lawsuit, filed by Michigan-based Variscite NY One, contends the requirement that cannabis retail applicants have both a “significant presence” in New York and a criminal record for a marijuana-related conviction under state law creates irreparable damage to the company.

The precise terms and timing of both settlements will have significant ramifications for applicants and licensees, attorneys have told MJBizDaily.

That’s because several provisional CAURD licensees have already applied or are applying in the general licensing round, which closes Dec. 18.

A settlement by regulators could lead many CAURD holders to halt or modify their pending application plans, according to Fatima Afia, a marijuana attorney at New York City-based Rudick Law Group.

“Anyone applying by the Dec. 18 deadline may re-calculate their application strategy if settlement terms are released before then,” Afia told MJBizDaily via email.

Meanwhile, according to the Geneva-based Finger Lakes Daily News, the CCB on Friday approved several items, including:

  • Regulations for hemp-derived products.
  • Fees for cannabis testing labs.
  • Medical marijuana retail licensing renewals of nine of the 10 multistate operators that serve the market. One application is still under review.



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