This article was originally published on Cannabis & Tech Today and appears here with permission.
Denied Legal Right to Priority Cannabis Market Entry, Veterans Seek to Overturn & Prevent Expansion of Unconstitutional Licensing Scheme That Prioritizes Criminal Records Over Honorable U.S. Military Service Records
NEW YORK, NY (August 3, 2023) – Four New Yorkers who have collectively served more than two decades in the U.S. Armed Forces today filed a lawsuit against the Office of Cannabis Management’s (“OCM”) CAURD program.
The suit alleges that the OCM has failed to create the legal cannabis market envisioned by New York’s Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), in large part by keeping licenses out of the hands of disabled service veterans and other minority groups the law prioritizes.
The veterans have asked the Court to enjoin the CAURD program and to prevent the State from proceeding with its planned expansion because it has no basis in the MRTA. To date, OCM has awarded 463 conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses to applicants with prior cannabis convictions and qualifying businesses.
“It’s out of character for a veteran to sue the state to uphold a law,” said William Norgard, a U.S. Army veteran. “We take oaths to defend the laws of our nation, and trust—maybe naively—that government officials will faithfully and legally execute those laws. What the Office of Cannabis Management is doing right now is in complete breach of that trust. As veterans, we know that someone has to hold the line.”
The veterans’ suit maintains that OCM and the …