Cannabis regulators in the state of New York have reached a settlement with veterans who had filed a suit over the licensing process in the state. The settlement’s completion will allow an injunction that was effected from August to be lifted. The temporary injunction, which was enacted by the state’s Supreme Court, has prevented hundreds of holders of conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses from launching their businesses.
Regulators in the state launched the recreational retail-dispensary program to afford those who were disproportionately affected by the drug war before marijuana became legal an opportunity to enter the legal marijuana industry. The program’s objective was to create a cannabis industry that was centered on social equity.
When filing their lawsuit, the veterans claimed that the regulators acted ultra vires and violated marijuana law by giving preference in the application process, instead of opening it to the general public as stipulated by the law. The veterans also asserted that the award system breached the state’s constitution, citing that under the law, disabled veterans could qualify as economic and social applicants, which entitled them to certain licensing benefits and priorities.
The agreement between the veterans and regulators in the state has happened at a time when there’s considerable change in how regulators in the state approach the rollout of marijuana licensing. Earlier in September, regulators expanded their licensing program to allow for more diversity between applicants. This decision allowed multistate operators to enter the market, which was at the time dominated mainly by a restricted number of entrepreneurs and unlicensed dispensaries.
This lawsuit isn’t the only legal challenge marijuana regulators in the state of New York face either. In March, medical cannabis operators in the state filed a complaint against the regulators. Their objective was to secure license issuance for all applicants of retail dispensary licenses. The operators asserted that the agencies hadn’t fulfilled their duties as stipulated by the law and that their actions had endangered the safety and health of the people of New York.
Last year, Variscite, a company based in Michigan, also filed a lawsuit against the regulators. The aim was to obtain a preliminary injunction against licenses awarded in specific regions of the state. The company argued that the preference for in-state operators by the licensing program prevented interstate commerce, and in turn, violated the dormant commerce clause. The case was resolved earlier in May, with the Cannabis Control Board approving a settlement.
The cannabis industry is always engaged in efforts to improve one policy or the other due to how stringently prohibition was enforced, and the progress made in New York is likely to be welcomed by industry actors elsewhere, such as Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF).
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