New York medical cannabis businesses sue to limit licensees

A majority of New York’s medical marijuana companies are suing to stop the state Department of Health from awarding new licenses, saying the competition could damage an industry that is operating below capacity because of a relatively small patient base.

Four of New York’s five licensed MMJ businesses also claim that the state’s plans to license other operators – possibly as soon as this month – will impair their ability to serve patients, according to a 28-page lawsuit filed by the Medical Cannabis Industry Association (MCIA), the Times-Union reported.

In February, the state health department tapped five additional MMJ businesses to receive licenses, pending final approval: New York Canna Inc.; Fiorello Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Valley Agriceuticals LLC; Citiva Medical LLC; and PalliaTech NY LLC.

The department said it would take a “phased-in approach to ensure their smooth integration into the industry,” adding that it would perform due diligence on the firms.

“The DOH’s premature doubling of the supply market, before patient demand has grown to a level that can sustain even the existing market, will immediately launch the collapse of the medical cannabis industry in New York,” the lawsuit stated.

The MCIA filed the suit on behalf of Bloomfield Industries, Etain, PharmaCann and Vireo Health of New York. The other state-licensed medical cannabis company, Columbia Care, is not part of the lawsuit, according to the Albany newspaper.

The state health department has taken steps to boost the moribund medical marijuana market and boost the patient count.