New York medical marijuana group changes law firms in suit vs. state

New York’s Medical Cannabis Industry Association (MCIA) has changed law firms in its lawsuit to stop the state’s health department from issuing new medical marijuana business licenses.

The trade group – which represents the five vertically integrated marijuana businesses that won licenses in 2015 – switched from Harris Beach to Couch White in its action against the state, according to the New York Law Journal.

Harris Beach – headquartered in Rochester, New York – pulled out of the suit because of a conflict of interest, the publication reported, citing unnamed sources. The nature of the conflict wasn’t identified.

MCIA spokesman said the trade group chose Couch White because the Albany firm has experience with New York’s Department of Health, which oversees the state’s medical marijuana program.

In the lawsuit, filed in May, the trade group alleges that five new medical marijuana business licenses issued by the state would damage the state’s MMJ industry.

The state awarded the business licenses earlier this month.

A hearing on the suit is scheduled for Sept. 12, the New York Law Journal reported.