LAS VEGAS — Some medical marijuana patients are growing worried dispensaries may not open on schedule due to a massive lawsuit.
A few dispensaries in Clark County could open as soon as January, but now many of those same businesses are named in a lawsuit which patients fear could slow the process. A group of dispensary applicants say the state’s ranking process wasn’t fair and they’re requesting a “do-over” of sorts from a judge. They want to rewind the clock and see if the state will give them a second chance to open, but not everyone agrees.
It was standing room only in a jam packed courtroom Friday. There were attorneys for the state and several medical marijuana businesses who were named in a lawsuit.
Earlier this year, Clark County approved 18 dispensaries, but the state only approved 10 of them. Now, five applicants who got county approval, but not state approval, are suing the state division of health saying its ranking process was flawed and not transparent. They want the right to reopen the evaluation process.
“We’re not asking for you to grant relief and toss this into a black hole,” said Dennis Kennedy, an attorney suing the state.
The decision to reopen that process may be up to a judge. Patients say they’re concerned the lawsuit could take months to work out.
“I am very worried about delays. As patients who have been made to grow our own and take care of each other, we can’t keep up with all the needs that are out there,” said Cindy Brown, a medical marijuana patient.
“By creating this lawsuit, it’s slowed the process up for everybody,” said Vicki Higgins, a medical marijuana patient.
Some dispensary applicants chosen by the state, and not Clark County, are also being sued and they say patients are suffering.
“People that really need access to this medication,” said Derek Peterson, Medifarm. “All this is doing is slowing the process down.”
Those applicants suing insist the state’s initial ranking process wasn’t fair. In its response to the lawsuit, the state attorney general’s office admits it didn’t follow the law in approving some applications and denying others.
They say, unless the courts rule to reopen the process, they cannot issue more licenses until after the first of the year.
8 News NOW requested interviews with the attorneys of both sides involved in the lawsuit as well at the state, but all declined to talk.
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