Maine Aims to Disallow Out-of-town Cannabis Business Owners |



The condition of Maine is established to maintain its necessity that hashish firms be owned by its possess citizens, bringing the dispute into uncharted lawful territory.

To start with, some qualifications. Officials in the Pine Tree Point out “originally expected all health-related and leisure hashish enterprises to be owned by residents,” as the Portland Push Herald defined in an short article. 

But that requirement was challenged very last yr by Wellness Connection of Maine, the state’s most significant chain of medical hashish dispensaries that experienced sought a license for a recreational hashish dispensary in Portland, the cash town of Maine.

Wellness Connection, which is owned by a Delaware-based LLC, submitted a lawsuit in opposition to the town of Portland soon after council users there permitted an ordinance capping the range of licenses for adult pot use dispensaries and developing a process that gave preferential procedure to neighborhood programs.

Matt Warner, an lawyer for Wellness Link, argued that the prerequisite was unconstitutional, saying that as “a issue of constitutional law, states and towns just cannot discriminate in opposition to citizens of other states based mostly purely on residency.”

“More than 25 percent of the factors awarded by means of Portland’s aggressive licensing system are primarily based on residency, so we’re automatically disqualified for people points, based mostly purely on our proprietor being from Delaware,” Warner reported at the time.

The firm argued in its filing that restricting “the prospects for (Wellness Relationship) to make a manufacturer, create a reputation and establish client loyalty in Portland at the adult-use market’s inception would harm them in means that can’t be lessened to a monetary damages award.”

The state stood down, eventually undertaking away with the requirement for leisure cannabis enterprises, and in August, a federal court sided with Wellness Connection in a ruling that overturned the in-condition residency prerequisite for professional medical cannabis dispensaries. 

That final decision, from U.S. District Courtroom Judge Nancy Torresen, has set the stage for the latest round in the dispute involving the state and Wellness Connection, with Maine trying to find to uphold its requirement that health care dispensaries be owned by residents.

The Push Herald reported that it “appears the scenario is the 1st of its variety to arrive at a federal appeals court docket, where by the impression could have ramifications in other states,” with the central concern hovering more than “whether the residency rule violates the U.S. Constitution by proscribing interstate commerce.”

In her ruling again in August, Torresen reported that the “notion that the professional medical cannabis marketplace in Maine is wholly intrastate does not square with actuality.”

“I figure out that none of the courts that have confronted this specific constitutional difficulty have rendered final judgments, and it also looks that no circuit court docket has dealt with it,” the decide wrote, as quoted by the Press Herald.

“But provided the Supreme Court’s and To start with Circuit’s unmistakable antagonism towards state regulations that explicitly discriminate in opposition to nonresident economic actors, I conclude that the Dispensary Residency Necessity violates the dormant Commerce Clause.”

The enchantment has been filed by the two the point out of Maine and a nonprofit market team identified as the Maine Hashish Coalition, which is in favor of the residency prerequisite.

In briefs filed in the 1st U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals, the point out says that “the dormant Commerce Clause does not apply to Maine’s intrastate industry for healthcare marijuana.”

“Nor do the residency demands in the Maine Professional medical Use of Cannabis Act stress interstate commerce additional severely than Congress, due to the fact Congress has currently eliminated that current market,” the short mentioned, as quoted by the Press Herald. “Because striking down Maine’s residency specifications at issue in this case would do very little to extend legal interstate commerce in the United States, they need to stand.”