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Md. Cannabis Regulators Urge Court Not To Halt Licensure

Maryland's cannabis regulators have urged a federal judge to reject an out-of-state entrepreneur's bid to halt the lottery for social equity cannabis licenses on claims that it's unconstitutional, saying she doesn't have standing because she didn't actually apply and wouldn't have qualified anyway.

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Plaintiff Justyna Jensen claims she would have qualified for a social equity license if it weren't for the state's requirement that applicants must have attended two years at a Maryland college where at least 40% of students received Pell Grants. But in reality, applicants could have gotten around this by leaning on one of two other criteria, the Maryland Cannabis Administration said in a filing Monday that seeks to dismantle her bid for a preliminary injunction.

In fact, she didn't even "apply for a cannabis license," Maryland regulators said in their filing. So, even if the federal court were to pause the state from issuing social equity licenses, it would not redress the alleged wrong she suffered. 

"Plaintiff does not qualify, or did not seek to qualify, as a [social equity applicant] pursuant to either of the two alternative criteria for eligibility," the state cannabis authority said. "Thus, even if the court finds that the Pell Grant criterion is unconstitutional and enjoins the Maryland Cannabis Administration from applying it in cannabis licensure, plaintiff would not be eligible to participate in the lottery."


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