Maine recreational cannabis businesses sue to retain residency rule

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

Local marijuana businesses in Maine are suing the state in an effort to force it to enforce a residency requirement for the adult-use market.

State regulators dropped the four-year residency requirement in May, saying they didn’t believe they could win a legal challenge over the issue filed by the state’s largest medical cannabis company, Wellness Connection of Maine.

Wellness Connection, which controls four of the eight MMJ licenses in the state, is affiliated with New York-based multistate marijuana operator Acreage Holdings.

The Maine Cannabis Coalition, which represents the state’s MJ industry, filed the latest lawsuit on May 29, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The suit claims the state is in violation of its own Marijuana Legalization Act, which allows only Maine residents to operate a recreational marijuana business until June 2021.

The idea of the law was to give local businesses a head start on the rec market.

The lawsuit argues the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy has no legal authority to scrap a law without a court decision or state legislative action.

The suit seeks to bar the state from awarding adult-use licenses to out-of-state applicants.

One of the plaintiffs likened the situation to a “pay-to-play constitutional meltdown scheme being orchestrated by the fat cats of Wall Street,” according to the Press Herald.

The Office of Marijuana Policy declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Maine was supposed to have started adult-use sales by now, but the market launch has been delayed because of coronavirus-related issues.