New York Judge Extends Injunction Against Processing and Licensing New Cannabis Retailers

A New York judge extended the statewide injunction against licensing new cannabis dispensaries pending the outcome of a hearing later this week; the licensing process was halted earlier this month after several veterans claimed in a lawsuit that the state failed to follow its own social equity rules.

Full story after the jump.

A New York judge on Friday ruled that the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) cannot process or approve any pending Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses pending the outcome of a hearing this week, Spectrum News reports. The injunction was first imposed on August 7 and applies to all licenses new or pending on that date.

The lawsuit, filed by service-disabled military veterans, argues that OCM created a licensing system that runs afoul of the state’s adult-use cannabis law and improperly limits initial licenses to people with cannabis convictions rather than a wider category of social equity applicants. The lawsuit claims that the cannabis regulators overstepped their authority by creating the licensing category for people with convictions because that decision was not approved by the Legislature and that the decision violates the state constitution.

In a statement, the veterans said the legal fight is about “equal access to this new and growing industry.”

“We believe in a robust, accessible, and thriving adult-use cannabis sector for New York State and today’s decision-by correctly recognizing the irreparable harms we are facing through the Board’s and OCM’s failures to follow the law-will help put the State back on track toward achieving this goal. OCM has resoundingly failed to create the legal cannabis market envisioned by New York’s Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), in large part by keeping licenses out of the hands of service-disabled veterans and other minority groups the law prioritizes. Every day that the adult-use program was limited to only the CAURD program was another day the MRTA-designated priority groups and New York State farmers were left out in the cold. We remain steadfast in our responsibility to fight for all the social equity priority groups being overlooked right now by the OCM through the CAURD program.” — The plaintiffs, in a statement, via Spectrum News

Officials plan on opening a licensing application window for service-disabled veterans in October, reports. The action would likely end the lawsuit and associated injunction.

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