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US (NY): Judge blocks licenses for some cannabis dispensaries in New York

A federal judge has temporarily barred the state of New York from issuing the first batch of retail licenses for recreational cannabis in five regions pending the resolution of a lawsuit filed by a Michigan-based company challenging the program’s selection requirements.

The decision on Thursday from the Federal District Court in Syracuse spells trouble for the state’s plan to begin recreational cannabis sales as soon as this year.

The judge, Gary L. Sharpe, said the state could not issue conditional licenses to operate dispensaries in Brooklyn, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mid-Hudson area, and Western New York while the case is pending. His decision affected 63 of the 150 licenses that the state planned to issue to businesses and individuals who met narrow criteria.

The case, brought by Variscite NY One, argues that requirements that applicants have a cannabis-related conviction under New York state law and significant ties to the state violate constitutional protections of interstate commerce.


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