A coalition of medical marijuana companies in New York is suing state cannabis regulators over licensing implementation provisions that prioritized social equity applicants. Most states with legal cannabis markets have included social equity and justice provisions that seek to compensate members of communities that were disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition. In cases such as New York, this involved giving people with certain prior cannabis criminal records or their relatives priority access to the license application pool.
The Coalition for Access to Regulated & Safe Cannabis argued in its lawsuit that cannabis regulators overstepped their legal authority by limiting the initial applications to a limited amount of applicants instead of allowing the entire market to apply. The New York Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board as well as several top officials were named in the suit.
New York was a late entrant into the cannabis market and is still working to get its cannabis industry off the ground. The state has currently awarded 66 dispensaries with retail licenses, and the state’s fifth store opened its doors to customers this week.
According to a coalition spokesperson, companies represented by the trade association, including Acreage Holdings, Green Thumb Industries and Curaleaf, have been unable to enter the recreational cannabis market because of the state’s limited licensing program. A memo filed with the suit states that the regulators “overstepped their rule-making authority” and held back the licensing of hundreds of retail cannabis outlets needed to fulfill customer demand for cannabis and compete with the massive black market for cannabis.
The lawsuit claims that state regulators are putting New Yorkers’ health at risk by limiting the application pool. As with California, New York is also home to a large illicit cannabis market that has made it difficult for the legal market to thrive.
New York cannabis regulators took more than a year after recreational cannabis was legalized to begin awarding retail licenses. In the meantime, significant numbers of illicit sellers sprang up across the state to satisfy cannabis demand that simply couldn’t be met by the legal market.
As the regulated market begins to grow, it will certainly struggle to compete with an illicit market that has had more time to become entrenched and that can sell products at significantly lower price points because black market sellers often skimp on testing and safety requirements to lower their costs.
An Office of Cannabis Management spokesperson did not comment on the lawsuit when asked.
In other news, more enterprises such as India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are focusing on developing pharmaceutical-grade medicines from a number of marijuana constituents such as THC in order to combat the rising cases of chronic pain and other clinical indications.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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