In anticipation of the seething aftermath that is likely to follow the New York State Department of Health’s selection of only five companies to cultivate and supply the entire state with medical marijuana, one Long Island lawyer says he is prepared to step into the ring on behalf of those businesses that get rejected.
When the state announces the winners of the medical marijuana licenses later this month, attorney David Marquez believes there will be “38 pissed off companies” ready to duke it out with an establishment that cost them millions of dollars and then left them with nothing to show for it. Earlier this week, Marquez told the Village Voice to spread the word to the losing members of the NY cannabis community: “If you believe you’ve been discriminated against in the licensing process, come see us.”
Indeed, a vicious backlash of angry applicants is possibly only days away from erupting across the state, a swelling of corporate tempers that will undoubtedly result in litigious revenge. All of the companies interested in producing and selling medical marijuana in the state have been forced to open their checkbooks to the tune of obscenity in terms of the amount of cash they have been required to put up, simply for an opportunity to play the game.
In the beginning, interested businesses were told to cough up a $10,000 non-refundable fee just to file an application, and then another $200,000 if deemed worthy to proceed. This in addition to submitting background checks, financial records, and laundry list of other high cost prerequisites to ensure a religious showing of only deep pockets across the board. And, to top it off, the state only gave these companies a month to get their shop in order.
There is speculation that in the days following the state’s unveiling of the winning licenses, a number of politicians, businessmen and pot lobbyists will be found slumped over steering wheels across state with bullets in their heads. That’s just how ferocious the competition has become in regards to this deal – it is a system built to cater only to the wealthy and those with immense political power. Even Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who sponsored the Compassionate Care Act, says that if the state is unable to support its licensing decision, the accusations and allegations will be myriad.
“If I put $2 million into an application, I don’t want some bullshit letter from the Department of Health and a one-paragraph answer as to why I didn’t get the license,” he said. “If the answer is anything less than extremely detailed, people are going to have questions and want to answer those questions before they walk away licking their wounds saying, ‘Well, I tried.’”
In his defense of the losers, Marquez asserts that he would get to the bottom of why the application was rejected through the use of state’s Freedom of Information statute. He says that although it could be difficult to prove a license was passed over due to an unknown influence or discrimination, it is possible a court could still rule that a company should receive damages – or even a license.
Marquez, who has spent over three decades dealing in foreclosure cases, argues that while he is fully prepared to back the underdog once the shit hits the fan, his primary objective is to do his part to ensure the state’s medical marijuana program is a success.