ALBANY — A new coalition of medical marijuana license holders and recreational market hopefuls filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court this week seeking to force New York’s Office of Cannabis Management to open the retail licensing process “for all applicants immediately.”

The slow rollout of licensing for entrepreneurs beyond those with a documented marijuana conviction in their family has angered small business owners who thought they would have an earlier shot at one of the state’s first retail sales licenses, including those defined under the law as “social equity” applicants. It has also frustrated large companies that entered the market early but are still permitted to sell only to certified medical patients. 

The challengers argue that equal access to the first recreational licensing process should have been available to them under the state’s 2021 cannabis law, which specifies that “the initial adult-use cannabis retail dispensary license application period shall be opened for all applicants at the same time.”

The lawsuit, filed in Albany, claims that by creating limited, “conditional” licensing categories that opened prior to the general process, regulators have “overstepped their rule-making authority” and subverted legislators’ intent.

The agency’s “arbitrary and capricious foray into legislative policymaking has harmed those individuals the (cannabis law) was designed to…

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