Utah Faces Lawsuit Over Cannabis Licenses
A Utah-based company that sought a license to operate as a cultivator in Utah’s medical marijuana industry has filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that operators from out-of-state were given an unfair advantage in the licensing process. The legal action filed in U.S. District Court by the plaintiff JLPR LLC last weekend alleges that officials with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) coached some applicants on navigating the selection process and gave them unfair notice of a pending ruling change.
JLPR alleges in the suit that officials with the UDAF allowed their personal connections to out-of-state cannabis companies to interfere with issuing cultivation licenses in the state’s medical marijuana program, which was approved by voters with the approval of Proposition 2 in November 2018. Licenses for eight cultivators, four of them from out-of-state operators, were awarded in 2019, while cannabis dispensaries were licensed in January 2020.
The lawsuit claims that the selection process was unfair to JLPR and was detrimental to the launch of the state’s medical marijuana program. The suit is calling on the court to award JLPR a cultivation license immediately or place it at the head of the list for the next license issued. The plaintiff