Attorneys present case in medical marijuana expansion suit

Attorneys present case in medical marijuana expansion suit

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ALBANY — Attorneys argued for two hours on Tuesday in Albany County Supreme Court over whether the state can license five new medical marijuana producers, doubling the supply side of New York’s nascent market. But a judge did not immediately issue decisions on a request to dismiss a lawsuit challenging that authority or a request to stop the state from taking action. The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association, on behalf of four of the five current companies, sued the state in April, charging that expanding the number of "registered organizations" to 10 would kill an industry that has struggled to thrive with just under 30,000 patients as of Tuesday. Yet last month, the state licensed five new companies anyway. Jennifer Harvey, the industry association’s attorney, argued on Tuesday that the preliminary injunction the association sought in April to bar the state from licensing more companies is not moot even though the state Department of Health went ahead and licensed the new companies. Harvey’s arguments that the state unlawfully added new companies focused on language part of the Compassionate Care Act, which set up the medical marijuana program, that says the commissioner of health "shall register no more than five registered organizations that manufacture medical marijuana." Yet it also states that "the commission (sic) may register additional registered organizations." Harvey said that while more non-manufacturing registered organizations, such as dispensaries, might be allowed, more manufacturers would not be. Assistant Attorney General Harris Dague contended that the law grants the commissioner the authority to register five companies initially, to evaluate whether they fit the needs of the patient base and to register additional companies as needed. He said that the law gives the commissioner the ability to add new serious illnesses that can be treated by medical marijuana, which Commissioner […]

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