Legal cannabis injunction to be lifted as NY reaches lawsuit settlement


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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Finger Lakes region is one step closer to permanent legal cannabis stores. The state’s cannabis control board has agreed to settle the lawsuit that caused New York’s second injunction on legal cannabis. 

In a Tuesday meeting, the board unanimously approved the settlement. The terms of that settlement were confidential, with Board president Tremaine Wright acknowledging that all board members had been given the lawsuit settlement paperwork ahead of the vote.

The settlement does not automatically lift the injunction, according to the Office of Cannabis Management’s general counsel Linda Baldwin.

“Nothing can happen until the court approves these agreements,” Baldwin said. “If that happens — The injunction will be lifted, and [the Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary] program that has been installed will be able to move forward.”

Baldwin did not give a timeline as to when the agreements will be approved.

The lawsuit was filed by four veterans who argue that the Office of Cannabis Management overstepped its powers in prioritizing certain communities when doling out licenses. The veterans argue that the way the law was written, they were entitled to the same priority licensing access that other marginalized communities (such as justice-involved people, minorities, and women). 

When they did not receive that access, the lawsuit was filed. With it came the second injunction for the Finger Lakes, which put a pause on all new licenses, and prevented currently licensed applicants from actually opening their doors.

Growers, distributors, and potential store owners who had not yet opened their doors were mostly stuck in limbo since August. This lawsuit hit particularly hard in the Finger Lakes, which had no permanent stores open due to a previous injunction from a separate lawsuit, which lasted six months.