Social justice efforts in some states – such as California and New York – have been “taken too far,” according to Curaleaf Executive Chairman Boris Jordan. And he’s ready to fight back.
During the conversation last week, Jordan took particular umbrage with the rollout of the New York adult-use market and its effort to delay participation by multistate operators, which hold the current medical cannabis licenses, in favor of social equity applicants.
“Literally, the New York authorities are almost promoting illegal cannabis,” he said. “And lowering testing standards for adult-use over medical – and allowing products that should never be sold in the store to be sold just so they can try and keep the MSOs out of the market.”
To date, only two licensed adult-use stores have opened in the state, both in New York City. One is operated by a nonprofit, while the other is owned by a “justice-involved” individual. But to get those doors open, according to Jordan, New York broke its own rules.
“New York at my last count has violated 8-10 of their own laws with the launch of this program,” he said. “So if people take them to court, they’re going to lose.”
Will Curaleaf lead the charge in court? Jordan hasn’t ruled that option out.
“On the one hand, we’re talking to New York,” he said. “On the other hand, if they don’t play ball and they violate the rules, we’re going to sue.”
The Pendulum Swing
Jordan asserted that it’s not the idea of social justice that irritates him; it’s the execution of the programs in several states.
“We’re all for social justice and recognize that this industry has been built on some pretty horrific stories from the past,” he admitted, but said the programs in more liberal states – he lists California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in this category – have gone off the rails to hide financial problems in the programs.
“They went off on these programs, and we’re going to give these assets to felons and people that have two heads and all this kind of stuff,” he lamented.
But, he warns, sooner or later, these states will need more tax revenue from cannabis operators, and to get that, the programs will have to change.
“It’ll take a little time, but I believe that the states are going to start enforcing some of these rules because they need the money,” he said.