Attorneys for companies that won Nevada retail marijuana dispensary licenses last year argued Friday during closing arguments of a hearing addressing the legitimacy of the licensing process that there was no reason for a temporary stop on the licenses already given.
The state approved 61 conditional licenses out of 460 applicants last December, and two dozen of those rejected applicants filed suit seeking the hold on the awarded licenses. The hearing, which has been heard on-and-off since May, is to determine if Nevada regulators were fair during the late 2018 awarding process.
Lawyers representing the state and businesses that received licenses argued that an injunction on the licenses given in 2018 would not give any relief to the parties who claim they were unfairly treated. Attorney Todd Bice argued encroachment on market share — when one business can operate and another cannot — is not grounds for an injunction.
“Every business could come to the court and say … any new competitor erodes my market share,” he said. “That is not a legally protectable injury, by the way.”
The defendants’ closing remarks also stressed the amount of money that businesses have lost during the licensing freeze and ongoing court proceedings.
“All it’s going to do is harm my clients and harm the public and keep the black market in play because now there won’t be as many people out there satisfying the public’s desire for this product,” Bice said. “That’s all that this is about — ‘if I can’t have it, you can’t have it.’”
Defendants also addressed other arguments, including plaintiffs’ allegations that the 2016 ballot question allowing recreational marijuana to be sold would require all owners of a company to go through background checks. The state Department of Taxation has held that only owners with a 5% or