Shock Supreme Court Ruling Invalidates New York’s Cannabis Advertising Restrictions


New York’s embattled cannabis regulators have taken another major hit this week after a shock Supreme Court ruling invalidated regulations regarding advertising.

On Thursday, an order issued by the Supreme Court of Albany County ruled that the strict marketing and advertising restrictions placed on cannabis businesses in the state ‘were arbitrary and capricious’.

With the long-criticised restrictions now deemed unconstitutional and vague by the court, dispensaries will now be able to advertise and fulfil orders on third-party platforms freely.

The case was brought against New York’s Office for Cannabis Management (OCM) and Cannabis Control Board (CCB) by online cannabis platform Leafly in September, alongside other petitioners.

It argued that restrictions on the ability to advertise products on third party platforms, use paid marketing, or share accurate pricing information violated its right to free speech.

The state reportedly failed to provide any evidence to support their reasoning behind these restrictions during the case.

Judge Kevin Bryant said: “There is nothing in the record to establish precisely how OCM developed the regulations, which staff members participated in the process, or how they addressed the litany of issues that were raised not only by petitioners but by other individuals who submitted comments.

“Given the absence of any evidence of the process by which these regulations were developed and approved, this Court must find that the conclusions were arbitrary and capricious and that there is no sound and substantial basis in the record to support the respondents actions.”

In response, the OCM told Green Market Report: “We are reviewing the decision and exploring all possible legal options.”

The damning ruling comes amid growing pressure on the state’s cannabis regulators, and is expected to open the door for further legal challenges to regulations in the coming months.

On Wednesday, it was initially thought that the court invalidated a major tranch of regulations sparking chaos among the already troubled nascent industry, but this was clarified and refined a day later to apply only to marketing restrictions.


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