💣 A New York cannabis bombshell

Good morning.

In the long line of stories about the New York cannabis industry, the story New York Cannabis Insider lays out is, perhaps, the most troubling. You can read our write up below – but also take the time to dive in yourself. Governor Hochul was right, this roll-out has been a “disaster”.

But if you want something far from New York, join us at 10 am Eastern today for a check in about Minnesota’s legalization efforts, including a new, regulatory crackdown on hemp flower. We stream on LinkedIn and YouTube.

- JR

💡What’s the big deal?

NY Office of Cannabis Management accused of hostility and retaliation

Driving the news: In a bombshell story yesterday, New York Cannabis Insider laid out a case of selective enforcement by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) as a means of retaliation and silencing those critical of the regulatory body and the state’s cannabis roll-out.

Some specifics: New York Cannabis Insider describes how Jenny Argie, the owner of a cannabis processing company that produces gummies, faced retaliation from the OCM following her publicly describing how illicit products were making it into the New York legal market. Further, the story dives deep into how the OCM knew about the illicit products hitting shelves in New York and didn’t enforce their own regulations.

What happened: In what could only be described as selective enforcement, Argie started facing the wrath of the OCM. Initially, by being subject to the first – and very public – product recall in New York, and later facing a full shut down of her processing facility following a “unscheduled inspection” which prompted the OCM to issue a “full stop work order” and the a quarantining of all her products.

The chill: Well-known industry leader Ruben Lindo, who is both the founder of Blak Mar Farms and a former director of the Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association, noted in the story, “I’ve been in the industry a long time and have seen more egregious cases of negligence or even downright malfeasance…Is this targeted or an example of selective enforcement?” 

What’s next? It is no secret that the cannabis industry in New York is in a tough spot. Even by New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s estimation, the roll-out has been a “disaster”. But the disaster she was talking about was about the glacial pace of licensing and opening of stores. This story, and the inevitable fall-out from it, will likely serve to erode trust between the industry and regulators even further.

There’s much more in this story. We encourage you to read it all

🥊 Quick hits

Last month, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro included legalization into his budget message, looking to capture cannabis tax dollars going out of state. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette took a look at the hurdles facing legalization in the Keystone State.

📰 What we’re reading

📊 Earnings round-up

Yesterday, Ascend Wellness reported both their quarterly financial results and the full year-end results for the year ending December 31. Net revenue was up for both Q4 year-over-year and full year 2023 - 25% and 28% respectively. More on New Cannabis Ventures.

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