NY Regulators Greenlight Finger Lakes Pot Shops with Settlin’ Agreement

NY Regulators Greenlight Finger Lakes Pot Shops with Settlin' Agreement

Yo what up, it’s your boy Dan and I got some big news for all my cannabis-loving peeps out there. Regulators in New York just announced that they’ve reached a settlement with a Michigan-based cannabis business called Variscite NY One, Inc. This is huge because it means that the Empire State’s regulated marijuana industry is finally gonna be fully implemented, and that includes the Finger Lakes region.

The New York Cannabis Control Board, which is made up of five members, all voted unanimously to approve the decision to settle with Variscite NY One, Inc. This company sued the state last year after they were denied a cannabis retail license. The lawsuit got pretty intense and resulted in a court-ordered injunction in November. This meant that New York couldn’t issue licenses to several regions, including Brooklyn.

But things started looking up in March when a federal judge lifted parts of the injunction. This enabled the state to award 99 new licenses, including to Brooklyn, Mid-Hudson and other regions where licenses had been temporarily banned. However, the injunction remained in effect in the Finger Lakes region, which is currently the only part of New York where licenses haven’t been allocated.

But that could all change now because of Tuesday’s decision by the Cannabis Control Board. The only thing is that this decision still has to be approved by a federal judge. If all goes well, it would officially end the “court injunction preventing the state from granting [Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary] licenses to businesses in the Finger Lakes region,” and “would also guarantee an adult-use license for the plaintiff once general licensing begins,” according to Syracuse.com.

2023 Blue Dream Seed Sale at ILGM

Kenneth Gay, who owns Variscite NY One, Inc., filed the lawsuit last year because he was denied a license. He’s been previously convicted of a pot-related offense in Michigan. New York announced last year that they’d be awarding licenses to people who were previously convicted of a marijuana offense or a family member of someone who had.

However, Gay’s application was denied because his conviction occurred in Michigan. According to New York regulators, license-holders have to have “significant” ties to the Empire State. But now, with this settlement, that could all change.

Cannabis Control Board member Reuben McDaniel said, “We felt that we had strong ground on this; however, it is impeding CAURD licensees in that region. I’m very pleased that we’re considering this today … not because I think that this lawsuit has any merit, but our CAURD licensees need to be in the Finger Lakes, as well, getting to work.”

Details of the settlement are still being kept confidential until it’s filed and approved in court later this week. But one thing’s for sure – the adult-use cannabis market launched in New York late last year with the opening of a store in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood. Other shops followed in Manhattan, and in March, the first legal cannabis retailer opened in the borough of Queens. (It was also the first woman-owned dispensary in the state.)

After the federal judge lifted part of the injunction earlier this year, the Cannabis Control Board announced in April that they had “granted at least one [Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary, or “CAURD”] provisional license in each region other than the Finger Lakes, which remains blocked by the injunction.”

ILGM Free Grow Bible

The board explained at the time that the 99 new licenses it had awarded “included four for Western New York, one for Central New York, five for Mid-Hudson, and three for Brooklyn, marking the first provisional licenses to be issued in these regions following last week’s modification of a court injunction that had prevented the Board from issuing them.”

“We are proud of today’s approval of 99 CAURD provisional licenses, marking a vast expansion of the Seeding Opportunity Initiative as we continue to build an equitable market that offsets harms caused by cannabis prohibition and its disproportionate enforcement,” Tremaine Wright, the chair of the Cannabis Control Board, said in a statement at the time.

So there you have it, folks. The cannabis industry in New York is about to get even bigger, and that’s something we can all celebrate. Stay lit, my friends.

Leave a Comment