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Judge's ruling another setback for central NY cannabis licenses

Cannabis Urlaub

Plans to open up cannabis dispensaries in parts of New York are still on hold as a lawsuit continues to percolate in the courts.

In the latest ruling, a federal judge refused to drop an injunction that stops New York from issuing conditional dispensary licenses in five regions including Western New York, Central New York and the Finger Lakes. This leaves individuals who want to get into the business, in a holding pattern.

Jim Charon, Chair of the Central New York Chapter of the Cannabis Association of New York said his membership is frustrated by the legal delays.

"These are people who are trying to plan their futures and build a network of businesses and industries, and you don’t what to do if you don’t know where or when it’s going to happen," Charon said.

A Michigan company is suing the state, alleging New York’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary license requirements, discriminate against out-of-state operators. The state lost its latest move to dismiss the case. The State’s Cannabis Control Board says it will not approve applications until the legal issue is resolved. In the meantime, Charon said there is work to be done by anyone who wants to get into the retail cannabis business.

"We’re still gonna have to begin to build the industry, build the network, and just continue to prepare for the future," Charon said. That’s the thing about being pioneers in this industry."

It has been almost two years since the state legalized recreational marijuana. The state is implementing a social justice strategy with retail sales, offering the first licenses to successful New York business operators who have been harmed by a cannabis conviction. The first retail dispensary operated by a nonprofit opened in Manhattan in December.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.