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Carmine Fiore, suing New York over its cannabis law, says veterans were "cast aside".

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NEW YORK - New York's struggling recreational marijuana industry hit another roadblock after a judge temporarily stopped the state from issuing new retail cannabis licenses.

Carmine Fiore of Levittown, a disabled U.S. Army veteran, is suing New York over marijuana. He is one of four veterans that claims the state Office of Cannabis Management illegally passed them over for retail licenses, putting the program on hold.

"it feels like we veterans were used to get a law passed. A good law, one that helps a lot of people, and the state as well. Then once it was passed, we were cast aside for a separate agenda," Fiore said.

When the state legalized recreational use of marijuana and started its nascent marijuana industry, its stated goal was to grant half the licenses to communities with high marijuana arrest rates, minority and women-owned businesses, distressed farmers, and veterans disabled while in service.

"That was up to the OCM. We are very lucky that I was one of the chosen," Kamaldeep Singh said.

Singh just opened Strain Stars Dispensary, Long Island's first retail marijuana dispensary, in Farmingdale. He was chosen because of his past.

"I was arrested several years ago in Poughkeepsie, in my teenage days. Finally, a couple of years later, I don't smoke anymore," Singh said. "It paid off."

Singh also owned a prior business that turned a profit for two years - another requirement.

"Theoretically, the legislature should have passed something initially which would have given these applicants an opportunity," attorney Ryan McCall said.

McCall thinks the veterans, along with others promised but left out, have a strong case.

"They are effectively saying that is unconstitutional. There could be tons of repercussions. As of right now, no new licenses are being issued," McCall said.

The temporary halt won't affect Singh's business because it already opened.

"We have lines outside the store, and thank you Long Island," Singh said. "Very supportive. We are doing great."

If the judge extends the restraining order, some in the state believe it will be problematic for a lot of conditional adult-use retail dispensary licensees already struggling to finally open and operate.


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