Court injunction halts marijuana industry in 5 NY regions – Spectrum News

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MOUNT MORRIS, N.Y. — There is frustration among those who have applied for recreational marijuana dispensary licenses in New York after an injunction put those licenses on hold.
In November, the federal district court for the Northern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction amid a lawsuit by a company that had been denied approval to operate in the state. Variscite is challenging the provisions in the law that require that licenses for retail cannabis dispensaries be awarded to people who have affected by drug laws in New York.
The 29-page injunction temporarily blocks the issuance of retail cannabis licenses in the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Western New York, Mid Hudson Valley and Brooklyn.
One farmer hoping to cash in on marijuana sales is Marvin Morales. He has made farming his life’s work. 
"I always loved working the soil and being outside, basically, your own boss," Morales said.
He started with vegetables and then hemp, and he now grows cannabis, as of last year.
"It’s a much more lucrative plant, but it’s the same plant. It’s the same as the hemp plant, so the transition was easy," Morales said.
As a minority farmer, he’s glad New York is finally getting on board. 
"We need to be able to stay connected with the state, to know they’re there for us. We need to know they want to help us," Morales said. "I think, for the most part, that is true so far."
"It’s okay to go through all this toil and this work and struggle to grow this plant, have a really successful season, and then you’ve got nowhere to move it to," Morales said.
While he was able to find a processor to buy his product to turn into THC edibles, he knows of many who aren’t so lucky. 
"I mean, just like any business, you know, frustration. Because you grow tomatoes, you want to be able to sell them. You want to be able to move them," Morales said. "You can’t just grow it and then, ‘hey, look at this great tomato I have.’"
He says the longer the injunction drags on, the more his region falls behind the rest of the state and the gray markets operating illegally. 
"We’re hoping that as this all starts to go and come together, that will kill the gray market, which is really the big problem. The gray market is doing really well," Morales said.
However, Marvin is confident everything will be back on track soon. 
"This is going to come together and play together, and be just as profitable as all the farmers hoped it would be," Morales said. "I think everything is going to work out fine."


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