Maine’s adult-use cannabis residency rule unconstitutional, suit claims

Maine’s residency requirement for recreational marijuana business ownership violates the U.S. Constitution, according to a federal lawsuit filed against the state.

Wellness Connection, based in Auburn, Maine, alleges in the suit against the state’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services that a residency requirement discriminates against both large and small companies that want to sell recreational marijuana in the state.

The residency requirement stipulates that the majority of a recreational marijuana operation be owned by in-state residents.

According to the Bangor Daily News, Wellness Connection claims:

  • The residency requirement is delaying its entry into the state’s marijuana market because it needs more capital.
  • More investment capital is available outside Maine than within the state.

The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent the department, whose Office of Marijuana Policy oversees the state’s existing medical marijuana industry and impending recreational market, from enforcing the residency requirement, according to the newspaper.

Wellness Connection has applied to the marijuana policy office for cultivation, manufacturing and retail adult-use marijuana licenses, the Daily News reported.

If the suit were successful, Maine could join other states, including Colorado, in permitting outside investors to acquire stakes in adult-use cannabis operations.

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