Lawsuit Alleging Bias In New York’s Cannabis Licensing Reaches Resolution

( – New York regulators say they’re on the verge of a making a deal regarding a discrimination lawsuit brought by disabled veterans over cannabis-selling licenses. The veterans say they’ve been kept from being awarded the licenses by New York’s policy that gives preference to ex-felons who have previous marijuana convictions.

Details of the supposed deal have not yet been made public but people are speculating that a solution is in the near-offing because New York’s Cannabis Control Board has called an emergency meeting this week. If an agreement is in place, it would need board approval to become an officially settled matter.

Back in August a New York State Supreme Court Justice named Kevin Bryant issued an injunction against the state’s cannabis certification process. Bryant said he tended to agree that the felon-preference program being run in Governor Kathy Hochul’s state is discriminatory. With the injunction in place, New York has not been able to issue any new licenses for months and has a backlog of applications amid an already messy cannabis rollout in New York.

Everyone on the list awaiting a license is hoping a settlement can be reached this week and that the licenses can begin to flow once more. Once settled, the board will have to then deal with a second suit from March of this year that likewise accuses the state of discriminatory practices.

As the backlog of licenses builds, a cottage industry of illegal ganja shops have been popping up all over the state and especially in the five boroughs of New York City. This is particularly alarming to politicians because the illegal shops deal mostly in cash, which prevents the state from collecting their cannabis taxes. The city’s mayor Eric Adams has said he believes there are as many as 1,500 illegal shops operating within city limits. To date there are only 26 legally licenses cannabis stores in New York state and of those only 11 are located within New York City.

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