A group of anti-cannabis parties has banded together to sue the State of New York including Governor Kathy Hochul, the Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management. The case was filed on June 20, 2023. New York passed the Marijuana Regulations and Taxation Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021 which legalized adult-use cannabis.
The parties behind the suit include:
- Cannabis Impact Prevention Coalition – Their mission is to prevent impacts from cannabis.
- Cannabis Industry Victims Seeking Justice – This group provides advocacy services to victims of the cannabis industry
- Phil Orenstein who says he has had devastating personal experiences with cannabis
- Edwin De La Cruz – a father concerned over his son’s cannabis consumption and his son Eric
- Renee Barchitta, Philip McManus, Robert Caemmerer- members of CIVSJ
- Richard McArthur – a member of CIPC
- Ronnie Hickey who claims she has suffered from cannabis smoke in her apartment building
The main thrust of the case is that cannabis is still federally illegal and therefore the state can’t legalize it. The group also believes that sending out Mothers Day greetings sends the wrong messages with regard to protecting children’s health. They claim that some New York mothers who used cannabis allowed their children to die.
Many of the arguments in the case border on debunked reefer madness claims. They include:
- Risky decision making
- Impaired judgment leading to unpredictable behavior
- Misinformation on the dangers of cannabis
- Not allowing firearm ownership means cannabis consumers can’t exercise self-control
The case accuses politicians of showing a lack of leadership and being misinformed of the dangers of cannabis. The case claims that commercialization of cannabis has caused homelessness, increased car crashes and that even the highways in Colorado “reek of marijuana.”
The court filing stated, “Marijuana products can be very concentrated in potency and reach 99% THC, the psychoactive, intoxicating , mind-altering component of the drug. These products cause addiction, mental illness, birth defects, suicide, violence, DUIs and many adverse general health problems.”
The parties believe that cannabis is not a states right issue and that cannabis laws can’t supersede federal laws. It also cites the issue of cannabis being a Schedule One drug. They accuse the state of creating a marijuana trafficking scheme violating federal law. They claim that the medical marijuana laws in the state of New York are not based on any medical studies and that only FDA-approved cannabis should be considered medical marijuana.
The case is asking that the state nullify the medical and adult-use cannabis laws.