Male Speaker: The following segment is sponsored by Harding Mazzotti.
Interviewer: A group including some of New York’s medical marijuana companies, sued state cannabis regulators recently in an effort to open licensing to all retail dispensary applicants immediately. The lawsuit claims that regulators exceeded their legal authority when they opened the initial application pool only to people with past cannabis convictions or their relatives. Here to help discuss this issue, you know, confusing issue, is Managing Partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Harding Mazzotti. Paul, thanks for being here.
Interviewer: Okay. So first, just to start this off, what did state regulators do that has these companies arguing about this so upset?
Paul: They got everybody’s attention when they first came out. They said, hey, you know, the first applicants, the first licenses are gonna be given to people that either you had marijuana violations in the past, or families had convictions in the past. Again, we’re not talking about drug cartels. We’re talking about stuff that they were convicted of that today would not be a crime. But, you know, it became kind of a national sort of thing and made some late-night TV shows about that. But ultimately what we’ve got here, is we’ve got these bigger groups saying, Hey, time start handing out these licenses to everybody.
Interviewer: Now, did state regulators overstep with this?
Paul: Well, if you read the lawsuit, it does say that the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, that these licenses are supposed to be given out equally. So, they’re interpreting that as the same time, right? So, I don’t know where that’s gonna shake down, but I do know that they’re saying, look it, you’re rolling it out too slow. When this rolls out, if you don’t have more people, more experienced people doing it, you’re gonna embarrass yourself. It’s gonna be a bust. There’ll be less taxation, so they’re just hitting all cylinders attempting to get that regulatory agency’s attention.
Interviewer: Is there anything else that you think would be behind this lawsuit?
Paul: Well, I think money. Yeah, I think 100%. So, we’re talking about big dollars, corporations that have become billion-dollar corporations. They’re multi-national. But certainly, within the state, within our country, that they’re saying, we want a bite at the apple, right? You’re waiting for these other people to get their licenses. Okay. When’s our turn because they believe, and maybe rightly so, that they’re ultimately gonna control this trade. New York State’s attempting to give some folks just a bit of a foothold before the big boys and girls come in and control this market.
Interviewer: Yeah. Because they’re probably chomping at the bit.
Paul: They’re waiting.
Interviewer: Well, I know it’s a tough question, but how do you think this is all gonna pan out?
Paul: Well, you know, it’s gonna pan out by getting people’s attention. You know, lawsuits will do that because I looked at some other states, and what happens is that no one had this rule, but they had rules that were some advantages to residents, right? And they fought that, that’s in courts, and hasn’t been decided yet. I think this will probably just go away, but they’re trying to speed it up, put some light of day on this process, and wait. When they get their licenses, I think the lawsuits go away. That’s how I think it plays out.
Interviewer: Okay. Well, hopefully, that is how it plays out. Paul, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.