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Medical marijuana licensures to resume after appellate ruling

By Nikita Biryukov, February 18 2021 3:37 pm

An Appellate Court ruling upheld the denial of seven medical marijuana license applications Thursday, a move that’ll allow the state to begin sifting through nearly 150 applications that have sat stalled for more than a year amid the suit.

Some applicants charged their applications were denied because the Department of Health could not open corrupted PDF files submitted as part of the application process, claiming the department’s submission platform was responsible.

But internal reviews were unable to replicate the issue and found no evidence of problems with the submission platform or other issues that may have caused the corruption.

It also argued the applicants were informed well in advance of the submission deadline, for which the Department prepared applicants through a webinar and written instructions. Extending the deadline, they said, would give applicants an unfair advantage.

Others argued — including one firm that did so successfully — that the department improperly applied a requirement for documents showing “the approval of the community or governing body of the municipality” in which the dispensaries would be located.

ZY Labs submitted letters from three prominent members of the community, and the court found that satisfied the requirement because the department’s use of the word “or” in its request for applications. The department, the appellate panel found, improperly denied its application because it contained to statements of support from Hillside’s council.

The decision, which will see the department resume its review of 146 other applications, was met with celebration from the state’s cannabis community, which has waited for months for the state to grant up to 24 new marijuana licenses.

“Hopefully this decision will allow everyone to move on and start getting down to the business of providing patients the medicine they need,” New Jersey CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) President Edmund DeVeaux said. “Far too much time, energy and money has been expended on this entire licensing process with too few results to show for it.”

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