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Judge Reverses Previous Order and Holds 30 Cannabis License Applicants Not Exempt from Injunction

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 30, 2023


A New York state judge has reversed a previous order that had exempted 30 cannabis store applicants from an injunction he implemented against the issuance of new conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) licenses, the Albany Times-Union and Spectrum News reported.

On Aug. 29, State Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant reversed his previous order that had exempted 30 retail cannabis store applicants from an injunction he issued after a case was brought by four license applicants challenging the administration of the CAURD program. That exemption would have allowed the 30 applicants to move ahead with their applications. The plaintiffs in the underlying case are service-disabled military veterans; they allege that the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM)’s licensing process unconstitutionally gives priority to those who had a previous marijuana conviction in New York over disabled veterans. In issuing the injunction, Bryant had noted that the alleged preferential licensing program had continued and expanded, despite the legal challenges asserting that the progra  violated the constitutional rights of these disabled veterans, as well as those of other “social equity” applicants, including minority- and women-owned businesses.

Bryant issued his reversal after hearing additional arguments from the veterans’ attorneys. His latest order noted that state regulators had implied that all 30 applicants were in the final stages of their application process and had met the requirements to open their stores, the Albany Times-Union reported. That was contradicted by an affidavit, filed by OCM's first deputy director, that said that not all applicants had completed those steps.

“They have submitted a list which, by their own admission, includes licensees who are still finalizing construction and whose post-selection inspections have not been scheduled or completed,” Bryant wrote in his order, according to the Times-Union. “It is also clear that an unclear number of the sites have not been inspected 'to ensure (the site) meets all the public health and safety requirements in the Cannabis Law and associated regulations.' It is not clear to this court whether any of the 30 identified licensees have completed all post-selection requirements and inspections and it should be clear that those who have not, should not have been included on the list submitted to the court as set forth in the prior order.”

Bryant is asking the OCM to resubmit its list and certify applicant-by-applicant and requirement-by-requirement, after which the court will address each licensee on a case-by-case basis, Spectrum News reported.

To learn about the ethical considerations that CPAs and CPA firms should be aware of when considering services to the state legal, regulated cannabis industry, attend the Foundation for Accounting Education's Ethical Considerations in Working with Cannabis Webinar on Sept. 14.


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