LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The question of whether to halt more than five dozen new marijuana dispensary licenses is now in the hands of a judge. The Department of Taxation issued 61 conditional licenses in Dec. 2018, but 29 dispensaries who were left out are suing the state.
On Friday, attorneys in the case gave closing arguments to wrap up the three-month-long hearing. In a handful of lawsuits, nearly 30 marijuana dispensaries have cried foul about how the state decided to issue licenses for five-dozen new facilities.
“Our constitutional argument is based upon the regulations because some of them are unconstitutional, said Dominic Gentile, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
The allegations include an unconstitutional grading process for applications, inconsistent scoring, preferential treatment, and how diversity was calculated in the applications.
“If diversity is important, then treat it as if it’s important; don’t marginalize diversity by allowing “advisory boards” because there’s no advisory board even mentioned in the statute, or the regulations,” said Theodore Parker, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
Attorneys for the state and for the companies who did receive licenses fired back saying the allegations are baseless.
“There’s no irreparable harm,” said Rusty Graf, Clear River, LLC. “There’s been no testimony; there’s been no evidence to prove it, period.
“A lot of the commentary of the closing and a lot of the tone throughout the process this past several months has been making speculation, or making allegations, without any actual proof,” said Eric Hone, Intervenors’ Attorney.
The plaintiffs say they’ve provided proof, and that if the system worked the way it should have, roughly two-thirds of the licenses would not have gone to just six of the 120-plus applicants.
“I think the court suggested I use the word ‘manipulation,’ that’s what’s been done here, and we all see it,” Parker said.
The judge has asked for more information from the state before making her ruling, which could happen as soon as next week.