If you were looking forward to legal marijuana dispensaries opening soon in Buffalo, there has been a major setback. A lawsuit is preventing certain regions from receiving licenses. On Thursday, November 10, 2022, a judge blocked 63 licenses from being awarded in five regions around the New York State.

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Due to the lawsuit, almost half of the initial 150 dispensary licenses can't be distributed. In addition to Western New York, the lawsuit in question affects 4 other regions - Brooklyn, Finger Lakes, Central NY, and Mid-Hudson. The suit was filed by a Michigan man named Kenneth Gay who claims that he should be able to receive a license to open a dispensary in New York State.

Michigan Resident Files Lawsuit To Stop New York State From Giving Cannabis Licenses To New Yorkers

Michigan-based Variscite NY One, Inc. filed the lawsuit to stop the Office of Cannabis Management from issuing Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses in the regions. Variscite claims that the Office of Cannabis Management’s dispensary license application program violates the United States Constitution because it doesn't allow out-of-state operators in the first rounds. The company only recently filed for its New York Domestic Business Corporation on August 31, 2022. Prior to August 31, Variscite has no history of doing any business in the state.

36 Cannabis Dispensary Licenses Have Been Approved In New York State

On Monday, November 21, 2022, the New York State Cannabis Control Board approved the first Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary Licenses. The move will finally allow the retail portion of the state's legal adult-use recreational marijuana industry to open. The Office of Cannabis Management received over 900 applications for the licenses. The 36 dispensaries that received their licenses will be selling the first legal adult-use cannabis products grown by New York Farmers. The licenses granted on Monday include 28 qualifying individuals and 8 nonprofit applicants.

Upstate New York Marijuana Farm Readies First Crop For First Legal Adult-Use Sales In State
King Aswad, co-owner of Claudine Field Apothecary farms, prunes a cannabis plant as fellow co-owner Jasmine Burems speaks during a tour of their farm on October 07, 2022 in Columbia County, New York. NYS Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) made its final stop in its Harvest Tour at Claudine Field Apothecary farms, a Columbia County farm, whose farmers received a Conditional Cultivation license and are one of the first Black farmers in the legal adult-use cannabis industry. Following the passing of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in March 2021, OCM was created. The office upholds a framework for the production, licensing, packaging, marketing, and sale of cannabis for both medical and adult use in New York. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

At least one license was granted in each region of the state where there is currently no litigation preventing licenses from being distributed.  Farmers in the state have a stockpile of 300,000 pounds of marijuana, currently sitting at 200 state-licensed farms. The estimated value is $750 million. Hopefully, with these 36 licenses approved, that marijuana crop won't go to waste.

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