New York's Cannabis Control Board had plans Friday to vote on settlements for two lawsuits that for several months have kept roughly 400 dispensary licensees from opening their doors.
But the board removed the item from its agenda at the beginning of its meeting.
"You get a glimpse of hope and then it's taken away and then you get another glimpse of hope and then it's taken away. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say," CAURD licensee Zamaya Lewis said.
Advocate Annette Fernandez said the industry has come too far to turn back.
"We have no other choice but to continue gambling with our lives and our pensions and our family savings and our mental health," she said.
Meanwhile, licensee David Nicponski said New York is not the model for equity it sought out to be.
"We are a laughingstock," he said. "This cannot wait any longer. Now is the time to step up and show us and the world that our trust in you was not misplaced."
The state is bound from discussing the lawsuits. Cannabis Association of New York Executive Director Hal McCabe believes the decision was out of of the Office of Cannabis Managent's hands.
"I think probably there's concern that if it had gone through, there might have been immediately more lawsuits and I think that they're trying to thread the needle," he said.
Cannabis law expert Ryan McCall believes the state will do everything it can to seal the settlement to deter future litigation but says once the current lawsuits are settled there will be a deluge of new dispensaries opening quickly.
"I just ultimately think that they were not ready to present what was going to be the plan to roll these dispensaries out. I think ultimately they just really had to take a step back and say we're not ready," he said.
McCall believes there is a good chance the control board calls an emergency meeting in the next two weeks to resolve the issue. However, McCabe believes the state Legislature needs to step in, either to codify the conditional adult use retail dispensary program or transition all the conditional licenses to full.
"That needs to happen in the first week of session and there's no reason it shouldn't and really, frankly, the governor should call a special session because the Legislature could do this in an hour," he said.
Friday was also the deadline for applications for regular licenses.