Another lawsuit has been brought against New York’s cannabis regulators, this time by microbusiness applicant Valencia AG.
In a federal lawsuit filed earlier this week against the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and its board members, executive director and Chief Equity Officer, Valencia has accused the OCM of being ‘brazenly engaged in racial and gender discrimination’.
In addition to seeking its own damages, Valencia has asked the court to stop the processing applications that give ‘favour to selected races and to women, asks the court to order the refund of higher fees paid by applicants who were discriminated against, and asks the court to order the revocation and cancellation of licenses already given to applicants who were preferred based on race or gender.’
Valencia, based in Jamesville and owned by individuals described as ‘caucasian or white men’, applied for a license during the general application window but found themselves at number 2,042 in the randomized queue for license reviews.
With only 110 microbusiness licenses and 250 retailers set to be awarded, Valencia contends they are unlikely to receive a license in the foreseeable future, and that the SEE applicants will have a significant advantage in the market.
This marks the latest controversy surrounding New York’s pioneering social equity programme, which sought to prioritise applicants who had been most impacted by the cannabis prohibition.