After key court ruling, New York awards 99 new cannabis retail licenses

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New York regulators issued 99 new adult-use cannabis retail licenses on Monday, including to applicants previously blocked by an ongoing lawsuit that left key markets such as Brooklyn off-limits to legal sales.

The state has now issued 165 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CUARD) licenses, a “vast expansion” made easier by a recent ruling in a court case that’s still blocking retailers in one region of the state, Tremaine Wright, the chair of the New York Cannabis Control Board, said in a statement announcing the new permits.

Fifty-three of the licenses approved Monday are for marijuana retailers in New York City, according to the Cannabis Control Board.

Nearly two years after New York legalized adult-use cannabis, the state’s estimated $1.2 billion market is emerging more slowly than expected.

Last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul and state regulators announced that the first 150 retail licenses in the state would be awarded to operators housed in state-funded locations for social equity applicants.

However, licenses have thus far trickled out and only a handful of retailers are open for business.

One reason for the delay was removed last week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit lifted a temporary injunction imposed in response to a lawsuit challenging New York’s social equity plan.

The ruling allowed regulators to start issuing social equity licenses in Brooklyn, Central New York, Mid-Hudson and Western New York. The injunction against licensing remains in place in the Finger Lakes region.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit seeking to expedite adult-use licenses for a coalition of multistate operators is pending.