What’s Going on with New York Cannabis in 2024?

new york cannabis | marijuana legalization

New York cannabis regulators at the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and its Cannabis Control Board are facing each other in a line of lawsuits designed to restrict the further issuing of recreational licenses.

Variscite New York Four and Variscite New York Five are arguing that the state’s retail licensing program violates the U.S. Constitution’s dormant commerce clause. This clause generally prohibits states from passing legislation that discriminates against or exceptionally burdens out-of-state citizens in comparison to in-state citizens.

Per Green Market Report, the suit claims state residency requirements are unconstitutional and the two plaintiffs’ applications should have received “extra priority” because they had secured properties for their businesses. “Because Plaintiffs satisfy every requirement for the ‘extra priority’ pool except the unconstitutional New York residency preferences, Defendants should process Plaintiffs’ applications in the extra priority pool,” according to the lawsuit.

New reports following New York legalization

Despite this latest round of legal battles, the OCM recently released an encouraging annual report along with a pair of separate documents focusing on equity in the industry and enforcement against unlicensed operators. This report follows information about New York’s first year of legal sales, including purchases of more than 3.5 million cannabis products and total sales expected to exceed $150 million.

After New York’s legalization in 2022, the market was slow to kick off due to lawsuits and a court injunction that halted the processing of hundreds of new retailer licenses. “New York is building a licensed cannabis market unlike anything we have ever seen before,” OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander wrote in a statement at the report’s beginning. “Although we have encountered adversity, we have known all along that the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act created a legal cannabis industry that disrupts the status quo for the better. While not all licenses we have issued are operationalized yet, we have issued over 700 licenses to largely social and economic equity entrepreneurs,” he added. “At the start of the year, there were approximately 20 Black-owned dispensaries across the entire country. New York just opened 12 more.”

Indigenous participation in New York marijuana legalization

The Oneida Indian Nation also has representation in the New York marijuana legalization realm. The Verona Collective is offering its own brands of cannabis flower and pre-rolls now for the soft opening, while vape cartridges and edibles will be introduced later.

“We are very excited about the high-quality cannabis our team is producing, and this soft opening provides an opportunity for guests to experience our products as we continue to develop additional offerings,” Ryan Riggs, vice president for retail of Oneida-owned Turning Stone Enterprises, said in a statement. The nation also has a cultivation and processing facility.

Drug test New York and other legal changes

In an effort to reduce costs and improve the competitiveness of the overall legal New York cannabis market, Governor Kathy Hochul is pushing for the elimination of a THC potency tax as part of the 2025 executive budget. The proposal would repeal the potency tax, replacing it with a wholesale excise tax of nine percent, which “simplifies, streamlines and reduces the tax collection obligations and burden for cultivators, processors, and distributors.” Although cannabis would also still be subject to the existing nine percent state retail excise tax and four percent local retail excise tax, these changes would lower the total tax rate from the 38 percent average to 22 percent. The briefing book for the budget says the tax changes would “promote and support the expansion of the legal adult-use cannabis market” and also result in a “net positive impact” for localities.

Companies that drug test New York side should note the new-in-November state addiction services and treatment programs advising against routine screening for cannabis use. “With the legalization of adult-use cannabis in NYS, testing for the metabolite of THC routinely is not recommended unless the patient has identified a reduction in or cessation of cannabis as part of their treatment goals,” says a guidance document from the New York State (NYS) Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). “Alcohol and THC metabolites should not be included in routine toxicology panels,” it adds, “unless a clinician determines that alcohol or cannabis is a concern and toxicology testing would be appropriate clinically.”

Peter Grinspoon, a cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Harvard Medical School instructor who’s written about the messy interaction between politics and cannabis science in the book “Seeing Through the Smoke,” framed the OASAS guidance as a matter of reducing harm. He welcomed the OASAS guidance as a sign officials are more informed of the nuances of drug test New York. “As a clinician, there are some circumstances where it’s helpful,” he said. “We just have to be very, very cognizant of the consequences of any screening, especially when it’s something as politicized as cannabis, or we’re going to end up harming more people than we help.”

Get the Latest in New York Cannabis at CannaCon

Are you looking to connect with cannabis enthusiasts and entrepreneurs in the Northeast? Then don’t miss CannaCon Northeast on June 20-21, 2024. CannaCon is the nation’s largest B2B cannabis expo, so no matter what goals you have, we’re sure you’ll be able to achieve them at CannaCon. Don’t miss it — get your tickets now.

This article was originally published on May 11, 2023, and was updated on Feb. 2, 2024.


  1. Ida Davis on July 6, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Where can adults purchase
    legal Marijuana gummies in Brooklyn?

  2. Ida Davis on July 6, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    I saw an Olympian who used
    Pot to mobolize her
    depression. I am in
    therapy, but after losing
    my only daughter, I am
    too depressed to get up.

    • Marty on March 7, 2022 at 7:23 am

      I am so sorry for you loss, condolences to you and your family.

  3. robert sager on July 9, 2021 at 9:16 am

    There should be one law. Everyone can grow it. That takes the corporations out of it and the money out of it it should be a commodity regulated like honey.

  4. Dave Richards on July 19, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    It’s a shame that it has taken the better part of a century to begin to legalize the use of a plant that gives us so many health benefits and potential products that can improve our lives.

    We’ll stand by and watch our political leaders use the sales of Cannabis to enrich themselves, their states and their cronies, by taxing us at exorbitant rates for something we all have a free right to do.

    We are no more than a bunch of sheep that line up and allow those assholes to take more wool off our backs.

  5. Franz on July 21, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Legalized marijuana use for people other than medical reasons should be against the law !!!!!!!! Now we will start to see Marijuana related accidents of all types . Especially Driving under the influence which should be punishable to 1 year in jail mandatory !!! no questions asked !!!! . As if alcohol hasn’t nearly ruined our country now they will add more drugs to the list !!! Disgusting New York !!!!

    • Jacob on April 27, 2022 at 10:47 am

      Yes! Let’s also ban alcohol and cell phones who contribute to even more car crashes, genius idea. I’m sure prohibition will work this time around.

  6. Tammie on July 31, 2021 at 9:34 am

    It’s about time!!!!!

  7. […] March of 2021, the use of weed was legalized in New York by Governor Andrew Cuomo. But this did not only bring […]

  8. John on December 20, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Ironically, considering NYS’s history, I expect a healthy black market to still exist, as there is no way the legislature and governor won’t pile a ton of taxes on marijuana sales, just like they have everything else in the state.

    As someone who suffered from severe and chronic spine pain, it’s been disgusting to see how NYS has traditionally treated not only mj, but many other pain treatments.

    For example, I was originally on fairly high doses oxycodone and methadone, and although it would make my mind wander, really it allowed me to be comfortable. Then my pain doctor moved and I got stuck with who I have now, and he eliminated those and put me on medical marijuana. It helped, partially, but didn’t help the bone pain that the oxycodone did. But he isn’t allowed to give me a low dose of oxy with medical Mj as the gov, decided it wasn’t medically sound.

    Keep in mind that same governor forced nursing homes to accept contagious patients with covid, which resulted in well over 15,000 deaths in nursing homes in just the first 6-12 months of the pandemic. So yeah, he’s in a better position to make medical decisions that me and my doctor.

    Sorry for the rant. This touches on one of my pet peeves. I firmly support going after dangerous drugs, but mj isn’t one of them, yet countless billions are wasted policing basic mj possession & use. It’s moronic (and I’m a proud conservative/libertarian.)

  9. […] will have an impact on the national scale or in state legislatures. Some state work can be found in New York, New Jersey, and Missouri where bills aimed at circumventing Section 280E of the U.S. tax code by […]

Leave a Comment