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Delayed Filing Dooms Bid To Block Maryland Pot Licenses

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A Maryland federal judge has denied a cannabis entrepreneur's bid to block the state's social equity license lottery, saying her delay in filing both her suit and the motion for an injunction outweighs the harm she'll suffer from the lottery going ahead.

In an order filed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Brendan Abell Hurson of the District of Maryland noted that while Justyna Jensen's application to participate in the lottery was not denied until December, she would have known as early as Nov. 6, when she filed the bid, that she would be rejected, if not earlier, as the qualifications were posted Sept. 1.

"Still, plaintiff waited almost two months after submitting her doomed application — and almost four months after allegedly becoming aware of the program — to contact defendants regarding the potential of a lawsuit; she did not file this litigation until Jan. 26, 2024; and she did not file her motion for a preliminary injunction until Feb. 6, 2024," the judge wrote.

In the meantime, the Maryland Cannabis Administration had been dedicating hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of staff hours to processing applications from nearly 2,000 other applicants hoping for a license, Judge Hurson wrote.

The judge further reasoned that granting the injunction would have the federal court encouraging the interstate commerce of cannabis, which is federally illegal, so the injunction would be against the public interest.


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