Hudson Valley dispensary owners frustrated with state's continual delaying of potential opening
Owners of a Hudson Valley cannabis shop ready to open say they are frustrated with the state's continual delay of giving them a final walkthrough.
Howard Libron and his daughter/business partner Shantel told News 12 Friday they have completed everything the state's Office of Cannabis Management required in order for them to open their family business, Orange County Cannabis Co. in Wawayanda.
The Libron's had planned on opening this past August until a lawsuit stopped everything for them and other social justice applicants who were on the cusp of opening. Howard Libron received a dispensary license under the OCM's social justice oriented Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program. The CAURD program awarded the first 400-plus licenses to applicants who have been convicted of cannabis-related offenses.
"We're hoping to get information to let our staff know, 'Hey listen, here's what's to come: Either A: Please ride it out with us, or B: When we call you, you definitely have a position here," Shantel Libron said during a tour of the shop.
Four disabled veterans filed the lawsuit in State Supreme Court in early August against the OCM and members of the agency's Cannabis Control Board, asserting the policy to give licenses to a group of social justice applicants before other applicants is an "unconstitutional overreach." State Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant granted an injunction requested by the veterans that all licensees be blocked from opening their shops while the lawsuit proceeds. Judge Bryant has since been granting exemptions to licensees who met all state requirements by August 7 on a case-by-case basis.
"We're just waiting for our final walk-through," Howard Libron said, confident that the final visit would propel the OCM to put them on a list of exemption requests to submit to Judge Bryant.
The OCM has stopped communicating with the Librons though, a common concern from several CAURD licensees over the last month.
"Everywhere I go, I have people asking me, 'When are you going to open? ,' he said, "and me not having a definitive answer is kind of -- maybe if I knew anything -- Maybe if I would have gotten a response [from the OCM]."
The OCM has not responded to News 12's questions about how the agency plans to prioritize the social justice licensees even as general applications have opened to all applicants, including large corporations.
The next opportunity for the OCM to present another list of dispensaries for exemptions will be Oct. 27 at a hearing in Kingston.