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Judge Signs Court Order Stopping The Opening of New York Cannabis Dispensaries

AddIf you’re looking to open a cannabis dispensary in New York, think again.

New York Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant recently blocked marijuana regulators from processing retail licensing until further notice, Politico reports. The ruling was a blow to the latest effort from the state to make sure people harmed by marijuana enforcement are able the gain the financial benefits of legalization. The ruling followed a lawsuit by a group of service-disabled veterans who claimed a priority licensing program for entrepreneurs effected by marijuana enforcement was unconstitutional.

Judge Bryant’s ruling will block the state’s cannabis regulatory agencies from issuing new licenses as well as granting operational approval to those already licensed and working toward opening up dispensaries. According to Judge Bryant, without a court order blocking the cannabis licensing program, there would seem to be a “genuine urgency and that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result” if the licensing program moves forward.

New York cannabis regulators created the recreational marijuana licensing program as a chance for entrepreneurs with past cannabis convictions or immediate family members with past convictions to have a second chance. The program pairs business owners with real estate and capital, but the program wasn’t as successful as the state hoped, opening less than 20 storefronts a little over two years after New York first legalized marijuana in 2021.

The state isn’t expected to issue new licenses until at least September after a cannabis regulatory board meeting, according to Fortune. Oral arguments are scheduled for Aug. 11 in Kingston, New York. Several cannabis entrepreneurs such as Osbert Orduña of Queens are upset with the ruling as his business is currently doing construction on a new storefront space, Orduña won’t be able to open up shop under the court order. He called the move a “way to pit one social equity group against the other,” referring to it as “divide and conquer.”

New York also made changes to the sale of marijuana at festivals. Users can now purchase cannabis at festivals and other events after farmers complained there wasn’t enough legal dispensaries in the state to handle their harvests.