New York Dispensaries Sue State to Block New MMJ Licenses


With over 16 months of New York’s medical marijuana program in the books, the state’s five vertically integrated dispensaries are failing and remain in the red. But the state still reportedly plans to double the state’s licenses to 10 within the next month.

Last Friday, to combat this expansion effort, four of the state’s five licensed dispensaries sued the state Department of Health. Those companies, Vireo Health, Etain, PharmaCann, and Bloomfield Industries, from the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association, all “submitted affidavits in support of the lawsuit.”

Columbia Care, the state’s fifth licensed operation, did not join the suit.

According to the Albany Times-Union, the other companies feel expansion would “tank the nascent industry and potentially harm thousands of patients who rely on medical marijuana to treat their ailments.” The formal complaint also added,“DOH’s decision to recklessly double the number of license holders will undoubtedly lead to the collapse of the industry.”

Department of Health spokeswoman Jill Montag retorted that the DOH “will continue to fight any attempts to block patients from the relief they deserve.”

At this time, a judge has not yet granted an injunction halting the licensing process.

While the industry currently has a “fragile foundation at best,” according to Crain’s New York, New York finds its industry at a crossroads: the state and the licensed operations clearly can’t agree on this issue.

One of New York’s medical marijuana law’s sponsors, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, made it clear the state doesn’t see eye to eye with this claim, telling Crain’s, “The law does not limit the program permanently to five registered organizations. It authorized the commissioner to initially register five organizations with four dispensing sites each but allows the commissioner to then register additional organizations.”

Earlier this week, the New York State Assembly agreed to add PTSD to New York’s list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions; A 7006 now heads to the Senate.

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Barry has been writing about marijuana for over five years. Prior to joining, Barry wrote about sports and music. His work has appeared on TIME, The Huffington Post, Deadspin, and elsewhere on the Internet. In his spare time, he enjoys disco and Kosher Kush.

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