Anti-Legalization Groups Sue New York Over Cannabis Laws

The group claims the cannabis industry is repeating tactics employed by the tobacco industry.

A coalition of anti-marijuana activists and nonprofits have filed suit against the state of New York, in an attempt to re-establish cannabis prohibition and roll back the legalization law from 2021.

According to the Times-Union, the group that filed the suit includes the Cannabis Impact Prevention Coalition, Cannabis Industry Victims Seeking Justice, and eight individuals who are also part of those groups.

The suit alleges that the modern marijuana industry is committing the same child-tempting sins of the tobacco industry of yesteryear in a cynical attempt to grow their profits, the Times-Union reported.

“What the tobacco companies have done the marijuana companies are doing now,” the suit alleges. “It is only a matter of time before there are RICO (racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations) lawsuits against marijuana stores and growing operations in New York.”

The suit requests that the New York marijuana legalization law be thrown out, given the plant’s status as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and federal illegality.

The lawsuit also questions the validity of the state’s medical marijuana program, given that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the vast majority of cannabis-based medicines, and suggests that claims about medical benefits are dangerous and misguided.

Attorney David Evans, on behalf of Cannabis Industry Victims Seeking Justice, said he thinks the suit is the first of its type in the country.

“The biggest problem that we deal with is the public perception that marijuana is relatively harmless,” Evans said. “And the American industry is very smart and they began pushing it as a medicine. And that’s how they gained a lot of their money during the Bush administration. Then they plowed that into lobbyists and focus groups and so forth, and then began turning state after state.”

The New York Office of Cannabis Management declined to comment on the lawsuit.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.


  • michael g mclaughlin

    June 26, 2023 at 9:46 pm

    Reefer madness


    • JR

      June 27, 2023 at 9:10 am

      The horse has left the barn…

      Referencing cannabis Schedule 1 classification will prove to be a fruitless legal framework for the lawsuit.


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