Rain ion and running down the streets of New York City.

Jeff Turner

Four out of five of New York’s medical cannabis companies have filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Health to halt the licensing of additional operators, arguing that the expansion could potentially harm patients and decimate the state’s tightly regulated industry, according to a Times-Union report. The suit was filed by the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association on behalf of Vireo Health of New York, Etain, PharmaCann, and Bloomfield Industries; only Columbia Care is not listed in the suit.

According to the report, the suit claims that the Health Department’s plan to open up licensing “will completely overstep its authority delegated by the Legislature” under the state’s medical cannabis regime and exceeds the cap of five registered organizations allowed by the 2014 law. The plaintiffs argue that patient counts don’t warrant the issuance of new licenses.

“The DOH’s premature doubling of the supply market, before patient demand has grown to a level that can sustain even the existing market, will immediately launch the collapse of the medical cannabis industry in New York,” the lawsuit says, according to the Times-Union, adding that if more companies are granted licenses, current operators will have to terminate plans to reduce prices and introduce highly refined medicines to treat epilepsy.

“Today is the first step in protecting the patients we serve on a regular basis across New York state,” the Medical Cannabis Industry Association said in the report.

Department of Health spokeswoman Jill Montag said the expansion will help ensure that “New Yorkers who qualify for [the] therapy have access to it” and the department “will continue to fight any attempts to block patients from the relief they deserve.”

A judge did not immediately grant an injunction in the case.

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