NY cannabis regulators sued for ‘hindering market growth and safety’

March 21, 2023 Robert Abruzzese
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STATEWIDE — The Coalition for Access to Regulated & Safe Cannabis (CARSC) has filed a lawsuit against New York’s cannabis regulators in an attempt to force regulators to create a safe, equitable, and well-regulated adult-use and medical market.

CARSC claims that the Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management have overstepped their authority and have failed to comply with the 2021 Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).

CARSC alleges that the regulators’ policies have hindered licensed operators from entering the market and delayed the availability of safe, regulated cannabis products for medical patients and adult-use consumers. The lawsuit also claims that these policies have led to the flourishing of unlicensed commercial cannabis retailers and that these retailers are jeopardizing consumer safety through the sale of illicit and often counterfeit cannabis products.

David Feuerstein, counsel to the CARSC coalition, stated that regulators have neglected their responsibilities to enforce the MRTA and focused instead on high-minded policymaking. This has put consumers at risk, restricted equity participation, and denied communities essential tax revenue.

“The State’s failure to act puts consumers at risk, restricts equity participation and denies communities of essential tax revenue,” Feurstein said. “It is critical that we stop the CCB and OCM from continuing to unconstitutionally legislate and compel them to start implementing the law that was enacted by the Legislature to ensure that the promises of social equity, safety and economic success are realized.”

Several individuals and groups have expressed disappointment in the state’s failure to create a legal and regulated marketplace. The state’s cannabis law appeared to offer a significant opportunity for West Coast cannabis advocate Nicole Fox and her family-owned cannabis wellness brand Aeon Botanika, but they were arbitrarily shut out of the New York market by state regulators.

The lawsuit also claims that regulators have ignored their legal responsibility to support and expand New York’s struggling medical cannabis program, which has driven patients into the unlicensed and potentially dangerous illicit market.

The CARSC coalition is represented by David Feuerstein and Matt Schweber of Feuerstein Kulick LLP.

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