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Clark Smith Villazor LLP obtains preliminary injunction largely halting allegedly unconstitutional New York state cannabis retail licensing program.

August 18, 2023

Today, a New York State Supreme Court Justice issued a preliminary injunction in favor of Clark Smith Villazor’s four service-disabled veteran clients seeking to enter New York’s nascent retail marijuana industry.  The injunction largely halts the processing of allegedly unconstitutional conditional adult use retail dispensary (CAURD) licenses in the cannabis industry.  In a sixteen-page decision, Justice Kevin Bryant found that CSV’s clients “presented persuasive and compelling authority” that the state regulators “failed to follow the clear language of the applicable legislation” by failing to open the retail-dispensary application period to everyone at the same time, including to priority groups like service-disabled veterans.  The court also agreed that, on the record presented, CSV’s clients showed that the state regulators “deprived” them “of the opportunity to participate in the initial stages of a potentially lucrative market of a newly introduced product.”  And the court credited CSV’s argument that the regulators “created much of the very harm that they now assert” would result from the injunction, when the regulators accelerated the CAURD licensing program even though they “were undeniably on notice of the alleged constitutional defects at issue.”  Brian Burns argued the case with Selbie Jason on the briefs.

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