Michael McQueeny Comments on Upcoming Adult-Use Cannabis Referendum Vote & Setbacks of RFA Lawsuit in NJ Cannabis Insider

August 4, 2020

Firm Cannabis Practice Chair Michael C. McQueeny, Esq.'s comments were featured in The Lead section of New Jersey Cannabis Insider’s recent article “With Less Than 100 Days Until N.J. Votes on the Referendum, How Much Does the RFA Lawsuit Set Back Infrastructure?”

“With many eyes on the Garden State in the lead-up to the adult-use ballot referendum, frustration continues to mount as months pass and the number of medical cannabis licenses remains static." 

"While the pandemic, the bumbled federal response to it and massive protests over systemic racism have created challenges for many industries in 2020, the New Jersey cannabis space's most significant roadblock is the legal quagmire over last year’s licensing process.”

Mr. McQueeny commented that the “majority of cases typically settle but in this particular case there’s no clear path forward for settlement.”

“Let’s remember, these disqualified entities have not been ranked,” he said. “It’s unclear how far along the DOH was when the stay was ultimately implemented in December. How much retreading does this create? Also, let’s think about this skeptically. Let’s say a settlement resulted in the disqualified being put back into the general pool of applicants – what happens if one of the disqualified wins? What will the appellate challenges look like then?”

He continued: “Unfortunately, in this instance, it's likely that the least bad decision is not to settle, and to let the marketplace know that when the DOH makes a decision, that decision is credible, supportable, and final. At the end of the day, that is the principle at stake in the Appellate challenges – should the court defer to the DOH, and its expertise, in coming to the conclusions that it did, or did the DOH abuse the discretion statutorily afforded to it?”

“As McQueeny puts it, it’s time to get on the bullhorn.”

“Call your mother, brother, father, sister, grandparents, neighbors and colleagues and tell each of them that the referendum isn’t designed to force everyone to smoke cannabis, but to the contrary, is designed to ensure that those that are making the informed adult choice to utilize cannabis have access to a marketplace that provides them safe, reliable, and accountable products,” McQueeny said. “ And if that doesn’t work, tell them it might help lower their property taxes.”

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