A group of New York-based military veterans are suing New York's Office of Cannabis Management's Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries program, claiming the state has largely kept licenses from disabled veterans "and other minority groups the law prioritizes."
Four veterans who, according to a press release, have collectively served more than two decades in the U.S. military filed the suit with the New York Supreme Court. They seek to prevent the state from continuing the CAURD program's planned expansion "because it has no basis in the MRTA," referring to the state's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.
"The MRTA had already established a goal to award 50% of all adult-use licenses to social and economic equity applicants. But instead of following the law, OCM and CCB created their own version of 'social equity' and determined for themselves which individuals would get priority to enter New York’s nascent adult-use cannabis market," read a press release on behalf of the veterans in the suit.
When reached for comment, a OCM spokesperson said the office doesn't comment on pending litigation.
The state's CAURD program is prioritized for upcoming business owners with a cannabis conviction under former drug laws or people who have a family member with a previous conviction. The program was initially intended for 150 licenses, but was at 463 as of two weeks ago.
“It feels like we were used to get a law passed — a good law, one that helps a lot of people, as well as the state,” said co-plaintiff Carmine Fiore in the press release. “Then, once it was passed, we were cast aside for another agenda.”