Wei Hu, Esq. – Founder & Partner
Licensed in New York State (2007), Connecticut (2006), EDNY and SDNY
Following conversations on the demand for Cannabis law counseling in New York State, Wei founded MRTA Law, P.C. after 15 years of public service working as an attorney for New York City Department of Social Services / Human Resources Administration (NYC HRA), where he counsels and directly litigated matters pertaining to NYC’s administration of Public Assistance benefits. Specifically, Wei has counseled NYC’s administration of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Cash Assistance (TANF/CA) benefits, childcare subsidies (CCDBG / TANF), housing subsidies, employment training programs, and other miscellaneous public benefits since 2007. These programs disburse billions annually to eligible NYC residents following a NYS application for Public Assistance benefits.
In essence, Wei is a NYS application and eligibility specialist. He worked to implement application rules, procedures, processes, policies and computer-system edits for NYC’s low-income households to apply for TANF and SNAP benefits. Additionally, he counseled NYC on drafting the online web portal AccessHRA (https://a069-access.nyc.gov/accesshra/) and “local-equivalent” (under 18 NYCRR 320.1) NYC applications for TANF and SNAP benefits to millions of low-income NYC residents. He has a thorough understanding of the regulations prescribing the necessary categories of information, what documents can verify such reported information, and what can be self-attested in completing applications to NYS – these skills are critical to anticipating and preparing clients on applying for an Adult-Use Cannabis License / Permit with OCM.
Extensive Public Assistance Litigation and Administrative / Regulatory Law Experience
Working under NYS regulations in Title 18 of the NY Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR), Regulations of the Department of Social Services, Volume A, he is an expert in legal and regulatory requirements in applying for and administering the Family Assistance, Safety Net Assistance and SNAP public benefit programs. He was counsel to NYC HRA on compliance with several class action settlement agreements, such as Reynolds v Guiliani (https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1089225.html) (federal class action lawsuit on NYC’s requirements on processing applications for Public Assistance, including conducting separate Medicaid and SNAP eligibility determinations), and Williston v Eggleston (410 F.Supp.2d 274 (2006)) (https://www.leagle.com/decision/2006684410fsupp2d2741658) (federal class action lawsuit challenging NYC’s administration of SNAP benefits).
Public Service Legal Background Helping Low-Income New Yorkers
With a career history of assisting low-income households, Wei is perfectly situated to handle the “social and economic equity” requirements under the MRTA and with applications to OCM – he works with low-income households to connect them to critical Public Assistance benefits and services in NYC HRA’s Family Independence Administration (FIA), and launched a pilot program between HRA and Fresh Air Fund (FAF) to provide funding for FAF application services to HRA’s Public Assistance clients. Unknowingly (and serendipitously), his 15 years at NYC HRA provided him a remarkable foundation to provide distressed-farmers, cultivators, processors, microbusinesses, retail vendors and distributors, as well as local government officials in NYS a deeper insight and a competitive advantage into OCM’s forthcoming regulations, standards for licensing, operations and administrative hearings.
Decades of Experience with NYS Statutory / Regulatory Structure and Administrative Law
While working for NYC, Wei honed his expertise in NYS regulatory analysis, rulemaking, public comment submission and review, SAPA / CAPA – having worked on various matters such as:
· amending NY Soc. Serv. Law 131-a(5)(d) and its corollary regulation at 18 NYCRR 352.7(i) (“Camp Fees” public subsidies for children receiving OTDA’s Safety Net Assistance)
· amending 18 NYCRR 352.6(f) and 397.5(f) (“Storage fees” public subsidies for those without permanent housing and needing storage services)
· leading implementation of new NY Social Services Law 341-a, 342-a into NYC HRA’s policies and computer systems
Wei understands the statutory and regulatory scheme between NY Social Services Law and Title 18 of NYCRR – the relationship between how regulations support and supplement the laws. Additionally, he has a thorough understanding Administrative Law relating to administrative appeals, rulemaking, and exhaustion of administrative remedies leading to CPLR Article 78 actions.
Comprehensive NYS Court and Administrative Hearings Litigation Experience
Additionally, Wei have appeared in NYS Civil, Criminal, Family, Housing, Small Claims, Supreme Court matters throughout New York City across thousands of cases. In the federal courts, he served as NYC’s counsel in matters against the Department of Justice seeking the Public Assistance records of HRA’s clients – successfully quashing judicial subpoenas brought by the DOJ against NYC, establishing stare decisis law regarding Public Assistance client confidentiality. He was the sole counsel for NYC on various matters of first judicial impression; he successfully defended HRA’s clients against a judgment creditor seeking to attach NYC’s Public Assistance rent subsidy checks to HRA’s client’s landlords in the published decision Legal Servicing, LLC v Mostafa, 39 Misc3d 395, 959 NYS2d 652, 2013 NY Misc LEXIS 491; 2013 NY Slip Op 23039 (Sup Ct, Queens County Feb. 8, 2013; Elliot, J.S.C.). (https://www.nycourts.gov/Reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_23039.htm)
As an attorney for NYC HRA, personally litigated dozens of judicial NY CPLR Article 78 actions, where appellants challenged the final administrative Decision After Fair Hearing (DAFH) of the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), and successfully defended all actions for judicial review on NYC’s behalf—often along with the New York State Attorney General’s Office as co-respondents. Moreover, appeared in high-profile administrative hearings before NYS OTDA involving client challenges to NYC’s administration of Public Assistance benefits.
Wei earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and German from Wesleyan University in 2001, and his Juris Doctor degree from CUNY Law School in 2006, where he was an Associate Editor of the New York City Law Review. Wei is admitted to practice law in Connecticut*, New York State, and Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. (*Scored in top 10% of all CT Bar examinees in 2006; NYS Bar does not rank examinee scores.)
He enjoys writing and literature—and (partly) judges people on their appreciation of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest; ran his fastest NYC Marathon time at 3:40; is a certified Vinyasa yoga instructor (200-hour course at Laughing Lotus); and dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail and El Camino de Compostela upon retirement. Wei resides in downtown Manhattan with his wife and two young daughters, and spends his weekends in Shawangunk, NY (Ulster County).
Wei on LinkedIn
Tremaine Wright, NY Cannabis Control Board Chair
Edward Forchion (aka NJ Weedman), NJ Weedman Joints
Robert Groesbeck, Chair and Co-CEO of Planet 13
Mike Tyson, Futurola and Curaleaf Spokesperson
Steve DeAngelo, Self-Appointed Father of Legal Cannabis