NY Regulators Reach Settlement to Clear the Way for Pot Retailing in Finger Lakes
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NY Regulators Reach Settlement to Clear the Way for Pot Retailing in Finger Lakes

The five-member panel on the New York Cannabis Control Board unanimously voted to approve the decision to settle the case with Michigan-based Variscite, NY One, Inc. which sued the state in November after being denied a retail cannabis license. In November, a court-ordered order prevented the state of New York to issue licenses in several regions, including Brooklyn. In March, the same federal judges lifted portions of the order, allowing the state to grant 99 new licenses in Brooklyn, Mid-Hudson, and other regions that had temporarily been banned. The injunction was still in place in the Finger Lakes region, which is the only area in New York that has not yet been allocated licenses. But the vote by the Cannabis Control Board on Tuesday could change this. The lawsuit was filed by Kenneth Gay last year, the owner and operator of Variscite. Gay had previously been convicted in Michigan of a marijuana-related offense. New York announced in 2013 that the first round cannabis retail licenses were to be awarded to those who had been convicted of marijuana offenses or their family members. Gay’s application, however, was denied as his conviction took place in Michigan and New York regulators demand that license-holders have “significant” connections to the Empire State. The Cannabis Control Board’s decision from Tuesday must now be approved or disapproved by a federal court. Syracuse.com reported that the Cannabis Control Board member Reuben McDaniel said that they felt they had a strong case, but that it was impeding CAURD licencees in the region. “I am very happy that we are considering this today. Not because I believe that this lawsuit is valid, but because our CAURD licencees need to get to work in the Finger Lakes.” In Manhattan, other shops opened, and in Queens, the first legal cannabis retailer was established in March. It was also the state’s first woman-owned dispensary.) The Cannabis Control Board announced that in April, after the federal judge lifted a part of the injunction, it had “granted a minimum of one [Conditional adult-use retail dispensary, or CAURD] provisional licence in each region, except for the Finger Lakes which remains blocked by an injunction.” At the time, the board explained that the 99 licenses it had granted “included 4 for Western New York and one for Central New York; five for Mid-Hudson and three for Brooklyn.”


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