New York Veterans Claim State Not Following Cannabis Law’s Social Equity Provisions

A lawsuit filed by New York-based military veterans claims that cannabis regulators are failing to follow the social equity provisions included in the state’s cannabis legalization law.

Full story after the jump.

A lawsuit filed last week by New York-based military veterans claims the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has kept Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses from disabled veterans and other minority group that the state law “prioritizes,” Spectrum News reports. The lawsuit was filed in the state Supreme Court. 

“The [Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act] had already established a goal to award 50% of all adult-use licenses to social and economic equity applicants,” the veterans said in a press release. “But instead of following the law, OCM and [Cannabis Control Board] created their own version of ‘social equity’ and determined for themselves which individuals would get priority to enter New York’s nascent adult-use cannabis market.” 

In the press release, co-plaintiff Carmine Fiore said the veterans felt “used” to get the law passed. 

“Then, once it was passed, we were cast aside for another agenda,” Fiore said in the statement.  

The plaintiffs seek to prevent the state from continuing the CAURD program’s planned expansion “because it has no basis in the MRTA.”   

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. 

The MRTA initially set aside 150 CAURD licenses; however, last month OCM approved an additional 212 CAURD licenses, bringing the total to 463. 

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