Local business reacts to cannabis CAURD license lawsuit

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Hundreds of people waiting for approval to legally sell cannabis in New York are being denied that opportunity. 

The one thing stopping them from distributing cannabis is a recent court ruling that has left the whole process in limbo. 

Mike Golden is eager for his chance to sell cannabis out of his Syracuse store legally.

“I think it’s going to create a lot of great opportunities for people to turn things around again not with just licensing its gonna be a lot of great job opportunity,” Golden said.

Right now, Mike and dozens of others hoping to sell cannabis products are stuck waiting.

A federal judge denied motions that would allow New York state to begin distributing “Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary” licenses, or CAURD licenses, in five regions including Central New York.

The CAURD license aims to help New York business owners who have been convicted of cannabis-related offenses in the past. The license allows them a chance to sell cannabis legally and gives them access to some state funding to get started. 

Mike Golden was in line for CAURD license until a federal judge put the licenses on hold.  

“I don’t think it’s really fair to anyone,” Golden said.

The block stems from a cannabis store in the capital region, Variscite NY One. The owner met all the state’s requirements but one – he was never convicted of a cannabis offense in New York state.

The owner was, however, convicted in Michigan on marijuana charges. Still, New York state dropped Variscite NY One from the CAURD applicant pool. The company filed a lawsuit claiming that New York state was discriminating against out of state businesses. The court sided with Variscite NY One, leaving owners like Mike Golden in limbo.

Although Golden can’t sell cannabis just yet, he is still finding ways to keep it a part of his livelihood with merchandise, and Golden says it’s for a good cause.

“We’re a lifestyle brand that’s all about stopping the stigma behind cannabis,” Golden said. “Right now I sell weed shirts.”

Despite the uncertainty, Golden says he is still focused on one thin — promoting a positive and welcoming environment for everyone regardless of the outcome of his application. 

 “[We] had some great conversations. We plan to continue doing things like that and doing a lot of outreaching,” Golden said.

Outreaching is the only thing applicants can do while they wait for for the opportunity to sell legally, if that day ever comes.