CA city’s marijuana equity residency requirement unconstitutional, suit says

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A Michigan marijuana entrepreneur filed a federal lawsuit against Sacramento alleging that the California city’s residency requirement for participation in the cannabis social equity program violates his constitutional rights.

According to Law360, Kenneth Gay filed the suit because he claims he meets all the criteria for a social equity cannabis license in Sacramento except one stipulating that only current or former residents are eligible for the licenses.

Gay, who owns Peridot Tree, claims the exclusion is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s dormant commerce clause.

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But that remains an unsettled legal question, Law360 reported, considering:

  • It was common at one point for entire states to have residency requirements tied to their legal marijuana industries.
  • There is not yet any legal interstate marijuana commerce.

That’s also a tactic that some states have used to defend their residency requirements, Law360 reported, though such requirements have been the focus of similar lawsuits in Maine, Michigan, Missouri and Oklahoma.