Marijuana MSOs implore New York gov to let them enter state’s adult-use market

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Citing government “ineptitude” and “intransigence” that’s allowed New York’s adult-use marijuana legalization to stagnate, CEOs from four multistate operators asked the governor to allow them to enter the state’s adult-use market “without delay.”

New York legalized adult-use marijuana in March 2021 but has since struggled to roll out a functioning market, with several lawsuits compounding bureaucratic delays.

There are fewer than two-dozen regulated cannabis retailers in the state but as many as 2,000 illicit sellers in New York City alone.

Before legalization, the state licensed 10 “registered organizations” (ROs), or vertically integrated medical marijuana companies.

Unlike other states, New York chose to open its market to social equity applicants before the ROs would be allowed to sell adult-use cannabis as well as MMJ.

In an Aug. 31 letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul obtained by the New York Post, four executives from MSOs that also hold RO licenses in New York state renewed earlier calls to allow MMJ operators access to the adult-use market.

The four chief executives are:

  • Dennis Curran of New York-headquartered Acreage Holdings.
  • Matt Darin of Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings.
  • Ben Kovler of Chicago-headquartered Green Thumb Industries.
  • Brett Novey of Chicago-based PharmaCann.

“Today, the State’s entire cannabis ecosystem is in dire need of a new direction,” the letter read, in part.

The executives asked Hochul to instruct the state Office of Cannabis Management to allow their companies “to begin adult-use cultivation and dispensary operations without delay, so the State’s legal cannabis market can thrive for all participants, creating a reliable revenue and job-generating industry for decades to come.”

The letter reminded Hochul that multistate operators are limited to no more than three retail locations statewide and that tax revenue from sales at MSO-owned stores would fund social equity businesses.

All four companies are members of the Coalition for Access to Safe and Regulated Cannabis, which sued the state in March in a bid to access the adult-use market.

Discovery from the state is due next week, according to court filings.