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New York’s Cannabis Market Expansion Sparks Controversy

Debate heats up as medical operators enter the adult-use market and farmers struggle amid shortage of retailers.




Only 23 legal stores are currently open across the state while illegal stores remain widespread. PHOTO COURTESY NYS OCM

The New York state cannabis agency has approved regulations aimed at expanding the adult-use cannabis market, extending access from distressed farmers and justice-impacted individuals to a broader audience.

These regulations, passed by the state’s Cannabis Control Board, will allow new companies to enter the medical cannabis market for a $200,000 registration fee, with a requirement to reapply for the general adult market. However, the entry of current medical marijuana companies into the broader market has generated controversy, as smaller businesses view them as a threat, reports Spectrum News.

The regulations have faced criticism for allowing medical operators to enter the adult-use market, with concerns raised about their potential market dominance. The state had previously proposed a waiting period of three years for medical operators, which was reduced to one year in May.

Farmers, many in their second season of growing cannabis, are struggling due to a shortage of open shops, and some are calling for a special legislative session to codify the conditional retail license program. Only 23 legal stores are currently open across the state while illegal stores remain widespread. Meanwhile New York has halted the issuance of new licenses for cannabis stores after a judge’s decision prevented regulators from advancing with retail licensing.

The Cannabis Impact Prevention Coalition has also filed a federal lawsuit against New York and the state Office of Cannabis Management, challenging the legality of a $200 million Cannabis Social Equity Fund aimed at facilitating the opening of more marijuana retail shops.




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