Why it matters: A group of military veterans has filed a lawsuit challenging New York State’s rules for obtaining licenses for retail marijuana dispensaries. They argue that the state’s requirement of previous marijuana convictions violates state law and the constitution. A judge has now issued a temporary injunction, preventing state cannabis regulators from issuing any new licenses for retail dispensaries.
What they are saying: The veterans who filed the lawsuit claim that the implementation of the Conditional Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program, which reserves licenses for those with cannabis convictions, unfairly excludes other social and economic equity applicants, including disabled veterans and minority groups.
The big picture: New York’s marijuana legalization law includes provisions that aim to award half of the state’s recreational marijuana dispensaries to social and economic equity applicants. The lawsuit challenges the state’s interpretation of who qualifies as a social equity applicant and argues that disabled veterans should be prioritized in the licensing process.
What to watch: The temporary injunction will delay the rollout of New York’s regulated marijuana industry even further. If the regulations governing licensing are ruled invalid, the fate of current licensees may be uncertain.
My take: It is important to ensure that the licensing process for marijuana dispensaries is fair and equitable. While social and economic equity applicants should be prioritized, it is crucial to consider all potential applicants who have been impacted by the prohibition of cannabis. The lawsuit filed by veterans highlights the need for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to licensing in the cannabis industry.