Lawsuit continues to prevent cannabis dispensaries from opening in Rochester region

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester region is still unable to open recreational cannabis dispensaries because of a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that New York is discriminating against out-of-state businesses by prioritizing dispensary licenses for people who have marijuana convictions within New York. In November, a judge ruled in favor of the Michigan-based company that filed the lawsuit. That ruling prevents the state from issuing licenses in the regions of Western New York, the Fingers Lakes, Central New York, Brooklyn, and Mid-Hudson but not in Manhattan.

On Tuesday, a judge ruled again in the company’s favor and against NYS Attorney General’s Office, which sought to remove the injunction on the licenses.

The state legalized the recreational use of cannabis in March 2021 and issued the first round of licenses to open dispensaries in November. The non-profit Housing Works in Manhattan became the state’s first legal cannabis dispensary when it opened on Dec. 29.

The application process, approved by the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, prioritized people with marijuana convictions before March 2021 to help communities unequally impacted by the criminalization of marijuana.

More about cannabis licenses:

See our series “Cannabis Countdown” about what NYS can expect as dispensaries open: