ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new court ruling made on Tuesday, March 28, will allow New York State to begin issuing licenses for recreational cannabis dispensaries everywhere except in the Finger Lakes Region.
An injunction previously prevented Western New York, Central New York, Mid-Hudson, Brooklyn, and the Finger Lakes Region from issuing the Conditional Adult-Use Recreational Dispensary —or CAURD— licenses.
The injunction came from a New York federal judge who sided with a Michigan cannabis company that complained in November 2022 that the state’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries (CAURD) program — which has seen 900 applicants so far — was discriminatory against applicants who live out of the state.
Tuesday’s ruling leaves the Finger Lakes Region alone on that list, meaning that dispensaries in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, or Yates county still have to wait for the green light.
“New York will not reach its goals for an equitable and thriving adult-use cannabis marketplace until all regions are open for business,” State Senator Jeremy Cooney said in a statement issued Tuesday evening.
When the New York State Office of Cannabis Management appealed the injunction in December, the Finger Lakes Region was also left out of the process.
It remains unclear why the Finger lakes Region was not included and how long it might take for the licensing process to allow all regions to licenses available to distribute.
In details from the original lawsuit, the Michigan cannabis company selected the Finger Lakes region as its first choice to set up shop, which may be a reason why they are still excluded from the ruling.
On LinkedIn, Tahlil McGough, the Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs at New York State Office of Cannabis Management, said that “though this is unfortunate for the Finger Lakes, that litigation continues and has not yet been resolved on the merits just yet.”
According to the Office of Cannabis Management, they will make recommendations in April to the Cannabis Control Board on the majority of the remaining CARUD applications in the areas of the state not impacted by the injunction.
Statement from State Sen. Jeremy Cooney
“The Rochester and Greater Finger Lakes Region was negatively impacted by the failed war on drugs. Its residents, especially members of the Black and Brown community, deserve the opportunity to participate in the social equity programs included within the MRTA legalization.
While we celebrate the decision of the Second Circuit to lift the injunction for Western New York, Hudson Valley, and Brooklyn, we remain hopeful the Finger Lakes Region will soon be permitted to participate in this economic empowerment program administered by the NYS Office of Cannabis Management.
Importantly, New York will not reach its goals for an equitable and thriving adult-use cannabis marketplace until all regions are open for business.”
Statement from Gov. Kathy Hochul
“New York’s brand-new cannabis industry is making significant progress to promote social equity and right the wrongs of the past, creating the fairest and safest market in the nation. I am pleased that a federal appellate court has limited an injunction in favor of the State of New York in the matter of Variscite NY One, Inc. v. Office of Cannabis Management, et al. This decision will allow New York’s social equity entrepreneurs to open safe, regulated cannabis dispensaries in Central New York, Western New York, the Mid-Hudson Region and Brooklyn. For the first time, New Yorkers in nearly every region of the state will have access to safer, high-quality, adult-use cannabis products. I am committed to ensuring New York continues to lead the nation in our safe and equitable approach to the cannabis market.”