Cannabis Social Equity Ruling Appealed in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts is petitioning to block a previous court ruling that would force officials to license non-equity cannabis businesses.

Full story after the jump.

The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts has filed a petition to prevent a previous court ruling from forcing officials to license non-equity cannabis businesses, Wicked Local reports. The petition is for interlocutory review, which asks a single justice of the appeals court to review aspects of the case before the trial has concluded.

According to the report, plaintiff Revolutionary Clinics II challenged the city’s cannabis business permitting ordinance, which enacted a two-year period in which only economic empowerment applicants – or social equity applicants – are eligible to receive a permit for a cannabis retail store. The state Superior Court approved a preliminary injunction last month sought by the plaintiffs, which prevents the city from enforcing its moratorium and from taking any action to prevent the plaintiff from immediately applying to convert its medical cannabis dispensary into a co-located recreational-use site.

The city also filed a notice of appeal in the Superior Court, allowing the city to further appeal the order to a panel of the appeals court, the report says, along with a motion for a stay that requests the Superior Court stay the previous order pending the appeal; and an emergency motion for a stay of the court’s order.

In court documents, the city says the 2016 adult-use law and Cannabis Control Commission regulations explicitly allow for moratoriums focused on creating licensing opportunities for social equity applicants. CCC guidance outlined in the filing mandates “full participation in the adult-use cannabis industry by those disproportionately harmed communities” and recommends municipalities “prioritize review” for economic empowerment applicants.

“Some municipalities in Massachusetts are considering prioritizing applicants by allowing them to move forward exclusively for a certain period of time,” the guidance states. “For example, a municipality may consider only economic empowerment applicants and applicants who are local residents for the first six months.”

The city alleges that the Superior Court “erred and abused its discretion in applying the standard for a motion for preliminary injunction to the facts in this case” and the standards for enacting such injunctions require that a “private party must show irreparable harm and that the relief promotes the public interest or will not adversely affect the public.”

The lawsuit says the city will abide by the decisions of the courts once its appeals are considered.

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