Welcome to Honeysuckle’s New York Retail Dispensary Round-Up! As the Empire State’s cannabis industry evolves, we’re bringing you weekly updates with information on new store openings, events, and other developments that the public needs to know.
This week brought further disappointment for CAURD licensees and stakeholders in New York’s cannabis dispensaries, as the same judge who issued the August 7th injunction followed up with an order on Friday that continues to block expansion of the program. Despite these setbacks, the resolve of those in the cannabis community to overcome remains strong.
Judge’s Ruling Upholds CAURD Injunction Through August 25th
New York Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant issued a new ruling on Friday, August 18th, that upheld his previous injunction halting the progress of the Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program. On August 7th, the judge had implemented the injunction as a response to the lawsuit that four disabled veterans brought against the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM); the order bars the agency from granting any further CAURD licenses or approving any operational procedures for CAURD dispensaries that haven’t already opened. Friday’s decision keeps the mandate in place at least until August 25th, when another hearing will take place in Ulster County Supreme Court in Kingston.
The veterans suing the OCM claim that the agency’s prioritization of justice-involved entrepreneurs in the CAURD program is unconstitutional and has excluded them from being early participants in the state’s legal market. Their suit seems to ignore the facts that there are already service-disabled veterans who applied and were awarded CAURD licenses, and that none of the plaintiffs attempted to apply for the program themselves before bringing this legal action. However, analysts have pointed out that on the basis of statute alone, the veterans have a solid case.
CAURD license holders and supporters flooded into Kingston on August 11th for the first hearing between plaintiffs and the OCM. That proceeding, with a strong showing by the veterans’ attorneys and an embarrassing performance by the counsel representing the OCM, resulted in nothing but tears and frustration for many attendees. Judge Bryant made his final declaration of the day with remarkable patience, explaining that he saw a possibility for both sides to negotiate a peaceful resolution and advising the parties to come together quickly. However, word on the street has it that attempts for settlement between the OCM and the veterans broke down in short order, necessitating the decision on the 18th that has led to overwhelming disappointment and outrage throughout the community.
Judge Bryant wrote that the OCM was at fault for centering all its efforts on the CAURD program and jeopardizing the finances of the licensees: “It was Defendants that decided to move forward and accelerate the CAURD program in the face of unresolved litigation and they were undeniably on notice of the alleged constitutional defects at issue. Despite this notice, Defendants encouraged potential licensees to incur significant expenses in reliance on a program that Defendants knew was at issue in pending litigation.”
Even before Judge Bryant’s injunction, the OCM had mentioned October 4th as the date on which license categories would be opened to the general public. Following the judge’s extension of the injunction, the agency issued a statement, saying, “The Office of Cannabis Management’s mission is to establish a first-of-its-kind, adult-use cannabis market that works to right the wrongs of the past, and we are proud of the work we’ve done to achieve that goal. We are reviewing the recent Court decision and will be in touch with all licensees to discuss the path forward but we will absolutely apply to the Court for exemptions from the injunction on behalf of provisional licensees who are ready to open as we work to provide access to safer, tested cannabis products."
Within Judge Bryant’s ruling, though, is some space for potential relief: He wrote that CAURD applicants who had met all requirements and approvals for moving forward with their businesses by August 7th could proceed with their store openings. He further ordered that the OCM submit a full list of cannabis businesses which met these requirements by August 22nd (today). It remains to be seen which of the current CAURD licensees made that cut, though we know there are several businesses such as TerpBros in Astoria and Hush in the Bronx that were meant to open this month.
Those interested in learning more about the injunction’s extension means for CAURD licensees and other stakeholders in New York’s cannabis industry, and what happens next, can tune into a virtual discussion tonight at 6PM EST hosted by Our Dream (Our Academy). Attorneys Jorge Vasquez of Vasquez Segara LLP (who represents several CAURD license holders in the ongoing lawsuit) and Cristina Buccola of CB Counsel will join Jessica Strange, Mentor and Board Member of Our Academy, to help licensees and applicants understand what they can work on while the injunction continues. Register for the virtual discussion here.
Stay tuned for more on this story following the hearing on Friday, August 25th!
Dosha Farms Opens In Oneonta
Even while the CAURD program is up in arms, some progress has continued to be made. On Saturday August 12th, just after the first hearing in Kingston, the Mohawk Valley city of Oneonta received its premiere adult-use dispensary with the opening of Dosha Farms. The retailer was already scheduled to open before the injunction, and was allowed to proceed despite the OCM’s legal hurdles. Co-owner Korey Rowe confirmed to media outlets that the business had all compliance with licensing requirements and a letter to commence operations in place, and was thus fully approved to open the doors.
As a veteran himself who is one of several participating in the CAURD program, Rowe told the Oneonta Daily Star that nothing would stop his store. “I have my license in hand and I have a lot of product that’s ready to go,” he said. “I’ve invested incredible amount of time and money, so has my staff.”
Rowe is an Oneonta native who was arrested at age 16 for having $10 worth of cannabis in his possession. At age 18, he joined the Army and, after basic training, was deployed as an infantry soldier to Afghanistan and Iraq. Upon returning to Oneonta following his deployment, Rowe experienced PTSD and drug issues, eventually turning to cannabis as a healing tool. He also put himself through college on the GI Bill at SUNY Oneonta, and then moved to Los Angeles in 2012 to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Among his works is the documentary Mile Marker, which explores the rise of veterans using cannabis to treat PTS
Dosha Farms is located in the same building as Rowe’s media production company, Otsego Media. The dispensary employs a staff of 11; according to the co-owner, all employees must have a thorough understanding of the history of prohibition, the current state cannabis law, and the science of the products they’re selling in order to be effective in their positions.
On The Revel Brings Cannabis Industry Insights With The Revelry Block Party
Looking to learn more about New York’s cannabis industry? You can join CAURD licensees, cultivators, processors, brands and service providers from all aspects of the market, and plenty of industry thought leaders and acclaimed artists at the 2nd Annual Revelry Block Party! Join events and education powerhouse On The Revel on Saturday, August 26th for a FREE all-day celebration of community and connection at Restoration Plaza, located in the heart of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.
Honeysuckle is proud to be a media partner for this storied event. Revelry will create educational avenues for workforce development, job creation, and hiring. Featuring signature Revelry Talks, a job/career fair, a main stage with local artists and community leaders, vendors, food trucks, designated consumption areas, and premier sponsor activations, the soiree is slated to draw 1500-plus attendees, 50-plus industry partners, and a number of high-profile non-cannabis partners. Spotlighted performers include Smoke DZA, Kenya Vaun, Girll Codee (ShaaBiggaa and Hiii Siddity), and more!
Register now on Eventbrite to get your free tickets to Revelry. The event happens Saturday, August 26th, 2-9PM at Restoration Plaza (1368 Fulton Street) in Brooklyn.
What Else Should I Know About New York’s Cannabis Retail Dispensaries?
New York State currently has 23 CAURD licensed cannabis dispensaries open and operating. Click here to visit the OCM’s website for specific information about licenses and regulations. Read below for a list of all CAURD retailers now operating. Remember - if a store's not on this list, it's not legal!
If you have CAURD-related news or other dispensary updates you'd like to share, DM us at @honeysucklemagazine on Instagram or email email@example.com.
Housing Works Cannabis, LLC
750 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
144 Bleecker Street, New York, NY10012
75 Court Street, Binghamton, NY 13901
Union Square Travel Agency
62 E 13th Street, New York, NY10003
William Jane Corporation
119-121 E State Street, Ithaca, NY 14850
Good Grades, LLC
162-03 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432
Upstate Canna Co
1613 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12309
33 Union Sq. W, New York, NY 10003
Gotham CAURD LLC
3 E 3rd Street, New York, NY 10003
Social Equity CAURD JV LLC***
Richmond Hill, NY
Stage One Cannabis LLC
810C Broadway, Rensselaer, NY 12144
219 Walton Street, Syracuse, NY 13202
Half Island Flavors LLC***
Greenery Spot LLC
246 Main Street, Johnson City, NY 13790
Royal Leaf NY LLC (Statis)
817 E Tremont Avenue, Bronx, NY10460
Strain Stars LLC
1815 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735
Exscape INC (Sacred Bloom)
1308 Vestal Pkwy E, 1st Floor, Set D, Vestal, NY 13850
Dank 716 LLC
501 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
6055 Transit Road, Depew, NY 14043
EK Green LLC (dba Canterra)***
Tonawanda, NY 14150
76 Main Street, Oneonta, NY 13820
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Featured image: Osbert Orduna of The Cannabis Place (center left), Coss Marte of CONBUD (center right), and CAURD licensees along with members of the New York CAURD Coalition gather in front of the Ulster County Supreme Court pre-hearing (C) Jaime Lubin / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @jaimelubin