A lawsuit by 25 New Jersey medical cannabis business applicants has forced regulators to halt its application review for the expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program, according to an NJ.com report. The expansion bill was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in July after lawmakers failed to pass comprehensive recreational legalization reforms.
Joshua Bauchner, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of five groups, called the decision to grant the stay by a two-judge panel “a big win.” The plaintiffs say that there were unfairly penalized because a glitch in the Department of Health’s website prevented applicants’ file attachments from being opened.
“We’re very pleased that the court is staying issuance of the licenses pending our appeal in the hopes that it will allow for a merit-based review, so the best applicants are awarded licenses to serve the patient population.” – Bauchner, to NJ.com
Medical cannabis regulators in New Jersey disqualified 51 of more than 190 applicants in the recent licensing review round for a variety of issues, including lack of local approval and site control, corrupted files, and non-payment of fees.
Bauchner said the “best way possible” to avoid short-circuiting the application process would be for the Health Department to allow his clients to resubmit their applications.
In total, New Jersey regulators are planning to add about 109 new dispensaries throughout the state; currently just seven dispensaries are operational in the state to serve over 60,000 patients.