NEWS BRIEF

Marijuana MSO Acreage wins motion to block Maine city from favoring residents

Marijuana multistate operator Acreage Holdings continues to prevail in its legal efforts to thwart Maine and, now, its largest city from favoring homegrown businesses in the state’s impending adult-use market.

A federal judge ruled Friday that Portland can’t enforce scoring criteria that give licensing preference to locally owned marijuana businesses, Law360.com reported.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen granted a request for a preliminary injunction against the city filed by NPG, which does business as Wellness Connection, Maine’s largest medical cannabis operator.

Wellness Connection is owned by High Street Capital Partners, a subsidiary of New York-based Acreage.

Earlier this year, Wellness Connection challenged the state’s residency requirement, and Maine backed down, saying it was unlikely to prevail on a constitutional challenge.

Portland, which plans to issue 20 retail marijuana licenses, developed a scoring system that would have awarded:

  • Five of 34 points to applicants majority-owned by a Maine resident for at least five years.
  • Four points to applicants who previously held non-marijuana-related business licenses in the state.

In her ruling, the judge indicated that Portland would have a difficult time legally justifying its licensing scheme.

Portland officials had countered that regardless of how the scoring came out, Wellness would still be in control of a lucrative medical marijuana license in the city.

Maine regulators recently set Oct. 9 as the date adult-use sales would begin in the state, nearly four years after residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis.

Marijuana Business Daily projects the market will reach $275 million to $325 million a year in sales by 2024.

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One comment on “Marijuana MSO Acreage wins motion to block Maine city from favoring residents
  1. Kevin M. McElroy on

    This kind of legal maneuvering around licensing is precisely what creates an uneven, un-competitive playing field that tilts the scales in favor of large corporations away from small operations.
    It’s why we have giant ag throughout the country – and it’s why our centralized system is fragile when it could be decentralized, more robust and even anti-fragile.
    Who is harmed? Small operators and consumers. Who benefits? Large corporations and their friends in political office.
    Instead of a diverse, healthy and competitive marketplace, we get a monolithic market with less innovation – all ripe for continued cronyism.

    Reply

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