Cannabis industry faces new challenges with licenses in NY
ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--More than two years after the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) legalized adult-use cannabis, New York State continues to face obstacles dispensing retail licenses.
A recent lawsuit challenging the Conditional Adult Use Cannabis Retail Dispensary application program claims the Office of Cannabis Management violated the MRTA's requirement to implement an equity plan prioritizing certain applications.
Some New York State lawmakers said the license application process overall has not been going well since recreational adult use cannabis was made legal in 2021.
“The cannabis program in New York State is a complete failure. We’re two and a half years into this program and they’ve only issued 20 licenses to those deemed in the priority program,” said Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats).
A spokesperson from the Office of Cannabis Management stated in an email to Erie News Now they are aware of the court's order and is adhering to it's requirements.
“We are actively communicating with CAURD applicants and provisionally approved licensees to inform them of the impact of the Court’s order on OCM operations," they stated.
This lawsuit comes about a week after seven unlicensed cannabis dispensaries were shut down by the Governor, the Attorney General and the Office of Cannabis Management.
Sen. O'Mara said he is concerned about the enforcement around unlicensed dispensaries and other cannabis operations known as sticker stores--where retailers sell items like stickers and then gift marijuana with the purchase.
“We’ve seen shops get shut down and then reopen in another community next door,” he said.
Some lawmakers said the state legislature is committed to supporting the enforcement process.
“We want to do it in a way that continues to support this growing economic driver in our state, most certainly in our country, and of course make sure we can do it in safe ways for our communities as well,” said Sen. Lea Webb (D-52nd Senate District).
Gov. Kathy Hochul and other state leaders said they are committed to ensuring the adult-use cannabis law is followed and helping to expand the cannabis market.