- Individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition;
- Minority-owned businesses;
- Women-owned businesses;
- Minority and women-owned businesses;
- Distressed farmers; and
- Service-disabled veterans.2
A New York State Supreme Court judge issued a temporary injunction against the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) on Monday, August 7, 2023, halting the OCM’s efforts to distribute and process cannabis dispensary licenses.
The injunction was granted when a group of veterans filed a lawsuit claiming the Conditional Adult Use Cannabis Retail (CAURD) program violates the 2019 Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which lists “Service-disabled veterans” as one of the protected classes which should be given preferential treatment in the awarding of cannabis licenses.
The injunction stops the OCM from granting new adult-use dispensary licenses until instructed otherwise by the court. The injunction lasts only until this Friday, August 11th, when arguments will be heard by Judge Kevin Bryant as to whether to extend the injunction or end it.
US Army veteran and New York City firefighter Carmine Fiore, chair for the Veterans Committee of the Cannabis Association of New York, has spearheaded the lawsuit. “The Office of Cannabis Management opened up the CAURD license application period solely to those with past cannabis convictions,” Fiore wrote recently. “This is a clear violation of the MRTA and discriminatory against those without such convictions.”1
New York’s cannabis law states that 50% of all licenses are to be awarded to social and economic equity licenses, and that these social equity licenses are to be the first issued. The law then defines social and economic equity applicants as being:
Many are upset with the delay and concerned about how long it might take to resolve. State Senator Jeremy Cooney, the chair of the New York State Senate Subcommittee on Cannabis, stated, “I am deeply disappointed in today’s court decision… It is no secret that New York’s adult-use cannabis roll-out has been slower than expected, and now is not the time to stand in the way of progress made.”3
The injunction affects more than 400 CUARD licensees throughout the state, including 212 social equity retail licenses which were recently approved on July 19th. Only 20 retail outlets are licensed and open in all of New York according to state data. New York launched adult-use sales statewide in late December 2022.
(Note: 420CPA is a veteran-owned firm. We stand with our fellow vets and believe that the guidelines of New York’s cannabis law must be adhered to and that service-disabled veterans need to be included in the protected class receiving early access to cannabis licenses.)
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2 N.Y. Cannabis Law § 64(a), § 87(1-2)