Holy Crap, NY Cannabis Is More Of A Disaster Than Previously Realized

From their outrageous flavored vape ban to a block on new weed shops, it’s all “adding to confusion amongst producers and dispensaries”—not to mention consumers

Two weeks ago, we reported with some jealousy that New York state “may have just inched ahead of Massachusetts in the race to social consumption.” 

Beyond licensing 212 new Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary applicants—their “single largest increase in retail licensing to date, bringing the total number of CAURD licenses to 463”—the New York State Office of Cannabis Management had announced that the Cannabis Control Board greenlit a Cannabis Growers Showcase initiative.

Mass is still working on a consumption road map, but New York’s program already “allows cultivators to partner with retailers to present and sell their products at non-storefront locations, including on licensed cannabis farms and at approved events.” Also, per NY regulators, the “initiative will be critical to unlocking the backlog of inventory held by our producers while giving consumers across the state, especially those in areas that do not yet have stores, access to our legal products.”

Hell yeah on that stuff. But all is not well in the Empire State. As Politico reported in much better detail than some outlets which assume that people know the first thing about NY’s history of fuckery in this arena:

No new weed shops will be able to open in New York, after a judge blocked cannabis regulators from moving forward with retail licensing on Monday. The order is the latest blow to New York’s ambitious effort to ensure that people harmed by marijuana enforcement are able the [sic] reap the financial benefits of legalization.

The ruling sides with a group of service-disabled veterans, who filed a lawsuit last week, arguing that a priority licensing program for entrepreneurs impacted by marijuana enforcement was unconstitutional. The court is blocking the state’s cannabis regulatory agencies from issuing new licenses and from granting operational approval to those who are already licensed and working toward opening up dispensaries.

New York Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant ruled that without a court order blocking the cannabis licensing program, it appears “that there is genuine urgency and that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result” if the licensing program moves forward, his order read.

So yeah, serious stuff (we recommend reading “Battle Over Cannabis Licenses in New York Intensifies; MSOs Seek to Join Veterans Lawsuit” via The Bluntness for more detail). And it all happened in the wake of a popular Manhattan cannabis club being raided by police and state agents, an action with significant implications that has already fanned the flames between small and major operators there.

Meanwhile, some disgruntled parties in New York are pushing back on a flavored vape ban that is completely ludicrous but that’s been overlooked due to the various other concurrent disasters. Here’s what a letter signed by various stakeholders put on front street this week:

In the recently revised adult-use regulations, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has moved to ban some of the most popular vape products on the market. Specifically, in § 123.6 (9)(vi) of the processor operations section, “flavors” that are prohibited from any inhaled product include ice cream or gelato, vanilla, cereal, candy, chocolate, dessert, concept flavors, and soda. It is unclear whether this ban only relates to the product’s name or whether inspectors will be quarantining a product with a similar flavor profile – adding to confusion amongst producers and dispensaries tasked with ensuring compliance.

Sometimes, from our perch in the Bay State, the grass is always greener. This time, not so much.