KINGSTON, N.Y. (WTEN) — A legal battle continues over the license to sell marijuana in New York. A group of four veterans claim the current process unfairly kept them out of the running to open up shop, now putting the entire program on pause in the state. Amal Tlaige was in Ulster County Court where a torn judge weighed the balance of what to do next.
Before court started – current licensed retailers gathered outside the Ulster county court house to voice their concerns about this process. Inside Court, the hearing lasted two hours, weighing the impact of what’s right and how to move forward.
Up for debate is the qualifications for how marijuana dispensary licenses are issued. Currently, applicants had to be previously convicted of a marijuana related offense and have some experience owning and operating a business in New York. The veterans suing argue that under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act of 2019 the equity plan must include service-disabled vets. Judge Kevin Bryant noted the impact of this case will be felt statewide, as the licensing process is frozen until a resolution is found. What that looks like is to be determined.
Fatima Afia, an attorney at Rudick Law group says this turned out as she expected, “There wasn’t really a clear-cut answer as to how the judge is going to ultimately decide the injunction, I think the judge felt very torn between the two competing arguments about which party will actually suffer the most harm.”
Berkay Sebat, currently has a provisional CAURD license, but is now stuck in limbo. “So it’s literally the four people saying they’re financially impacted, in their financially, impacting 450 people, plus all the people we hired, plus all the money we spent on lawyers, plus our delivery driver….
The case getting stickier as other CAURD licensees submitted a motion of their own to intervene. “Who are not operating yet but have received license approval and have expended a number of resources and time and money into commencing operations and they would be halted in being able to move forward with their businesses if their injunction stays in place,” explained Afia. The judge ordered everyone to come back to the table in two weeks.