ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — A temporary restraining order has blocked the state from issuing anymore recreational dispensary licenses. This following a lawsuit by a group of New York military vets claiming OCMs procedures for those interested in a retail license precluded themselves and others from applying.
Specifically, lawsuit is challenging the Conditional Adult Use Cannabis Retail Dispensary application program. This allowed those who had a marijuana related conviction and had experience owning and operating a business in New York, get first dibs at opening a dispensary. Fatima Afia, Attorney at Rudick Law Group explained, “Individuals like service-disabled veterans, who are also social equity applicants, who should be prioritized under them MRTA – the Marijuana Regulation Taxation Act – the plaintiffs are arguing that they’ve been harmed by being left out of this first movers advantage.
The court documents claims OCM violates the 2019 Marijuana regulation and taxation act which says the state must implement an equity plan. This includes minorities, women-owned businesses, distressed farmers or service-disabled vets.
Afia said the fact that OCM is facing another lawsuit is not a good look, “And so the more lawsuits like this that are filed, whether or not, they even have any legal merit is sort of not the point. The more that they have these lawsuits filed the more challenging it is for them to not only focus on licensing and get more business’ open, but it’s also more challenging for them to get the court of public opinions – so to speak – to be on their side.”
On Monday, a judge granted a temporary restraining order in favor of the plaintiffs, preventing OCM from issuing additional CAURD licenses until their next hearing on Friday. “I will say that we do expect to have the broader adult use program, those applications opening for all license types some time in October,” said Afia. Our Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige reached out to OCM, but they say they cannot comment on pending litigation.