Settlement reached in lawsuit that blocked 400+ NY dispensaries from opening
Dispensary owners Shantel Libron and her father Howard cheered, hugged and high-fived as they learned during a special meeting of the New York State Cannabis Control Board that a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit that has been blocking more than 400 licensed recreational dispensaries from opening.
"Now we have the means to let our budtenders, let our staff know, 'Hey listen, come in and get trained because we're ready to go,'" Shantel Libron said Monday just after the CCB voted to approve the settlement between the New York Office of Cannabis Management and several individuals and companies who sued over the state's social justice dispensary licensing policy.
State Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant issued an injunction in mid-August blocking new licensees from opening shop, just days before several mid-Hudson dispensaries were about to open.
A group of four disabled veterans sued the OCM over its social justice licensing policy which granted the first 450 licenses to people who have been convicted of cannabis-related offenses.
The injunction was meant to temporarily freeze the licensing system until the lawsuit was resolved.
The lawsuit was combined with a similar one brought earlier this year by a coalition of large and small companies, including Pharmacann and Curaleaf.
The settlement was reached in principle last week, according to numerous sources, but the CCB delayed its vote on whether to formally accept it until Monday's special meeting.
After unanimously approving the settlement, CCB members did not provide details of it, just assuring dispensary owners that "the injunction will be lifted" as long as Judge Bryant signs off on it later this week.
Howard Libron said people often show up at their Dolsontown Road location, asking whether they are open or when they plan to open.
During News 12's visit to the shop Monday, two people knocked on the front door with hopes of finally buying recreational cannabis.
Libron said, in recent weeks, he would turn the lights off when people would knock on the door, because he felt terrible that he could not provide them with an opening date or news about the lawsuit.
Now the Librons have good news for the passersby.
"The door's constantly being tugged on," Howard Libron said. "With more information for the customers, I think this will be something good for me to be able to share with them."
"Yeah. We have a settlement now," Shantel Libron added.
The Librons are reaching out to staff they originally trained in August to check their availability to work.
They need to reassemble and retrain a staff of about 20 budtenders and fulfillment associates.
Provided the settlement is approved by Judge Bryant, the Librons plan to open their dispensary in about two weeks.
They plan to stock about 600 SKUs from about 25 growers.
Attorney Jorge Vasquez of Vasquez Segarra LLP, who is representing several licensees who have been blocked from operating, said he believes stakeholders will be "pleasantly surprised by this resolution."
Vasquez said the settlement was reached over the weekend, and he will share specific details once the stipulation is approved by Judge Bryant.
"It's a very fair agreement," he said during a Zoom interview Monday evening. "It was something that everyone came together to make happen. It was a collaborative effort, and everyone was heard."