Judge sides with Washington state over cannabis residency requirement

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A U.S. judge ruled that Washington state’s residency requirement for cannabis company owners and investors is constitutional.

According to the Associated Press, the judge said a lawsuit arguing that the requirement violates Congress-regulated interstate commerce can’t be unconstitutional because interstate marijuana commerce doesn’t exist.

“Although Washington’s ‘legalization’ of cannabis certainly does not align with Congress’s intent, the residency requirements do,” U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle wrote in his decision.

“The residency requirements attempt to prevent any interstate commerce in cannabis and to prevent cannabis from Washington from moving into states where it remains illegal, like Idaho.”

The issue dates to 2020, when Idahoan Todd Brinkmeyer sued the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Control Board after the residency requirement prevented him from taking over a friend’s stake in Zips, a chain of stores in the state.

Brinkmeyer’s lawyer told the AP they’re not sure if they’ll appeal the decision, which he pointed out is contrary to outcomes in similar lawsuits in other states.

In Maine, for example, a federal judge decided the state’s residency requirement for medical cannabis company owners was unconstitutional.