Exciting news coming out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today in the Variscite matter.
The district court's injunction is modified so that it bars the issuance of conditional adult-use retail cannabis dispensary licenses only in the Finger Lakes region.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, New York’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary CAURD program gets a green light this afternoon after the court granted OCM’s request to narrow the scope of the injunction precluding issuance of CAURD licenses.
What does this mean? It means that New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) may now issue licenses to applicants in four of the five regions initially encompassed within the injunction, and is only precluded from issuing licenses with respect to applicants from the Finger Lakes region.
With the injunction lifted now Brooklyn, mid-Hudson and other regions (except the Fingers Lakes) are fair game for licenses.
“The Cannabis Bar has, for quite some time, been discussing behind the scenes that it only made sense to release four of the five regions. Once it became clear that applicants could only get their first choice region, there was simply no way to maintain an injunction against anything but Varicite's first choice,” explained cannabis attorney Jeffrey Hoffman of Jeffrey Hoffman and Associates PLLC:.
“Look for a lot of licenses to be issued on Monday, April 3,” he added.
This comes at a perfect time as the OCM has already announced a meeting coming up this Monday in Brooklyn where they plan to issue many more licenses from the 66 currently approved CAURD awardees. This decision still holds things up for the Finger Lakes,
Some believe timing of this Court decision is oddly coincidental as it comes just after the OCM announced their plan to expand the CAURD program and within days of Canopy finalizing its deal for Acreage while also scoring a licensing deal for Jetty, paving the way for one of the biggest cannabis company’s entrance into the NY market.
How this plays out in light of the other lawsuit from the MSOs like Acreage which are trying to challenge the entire CAURD program, remains to be seen.
The Office has already completed the back-office work of reviewing and scoring all applications for these newly-freed regions, and Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) has never stopped searching for storefront locations and engaging in limited discussions with potential landlords, so they should not lose any time in getting everything rolling.
We can all agree that this is a big win for New York Cannabis.