Michigan resident files another lawsuit over marijuana social equity licensing

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A Michigan resident who has won marijuana business licenses through litigation has now filed a lawsuit against Washington state regulators.

Kenneth Gay, of Peridot Tree WA, is challenging the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board for rejecting his application for a retail license under the state’s social equity program, according to Green Market Report.

The lawsuit argues that the state’s six-month residency requirement is unconstitutional under the dormant commerce clause, which generally prohibits states from passing legislation that discriminates against or excessively burdens out-of-state citizens compared to in-state citizens.

Litigation has proved to be a viable path to securing marijuana businesses licenses in several states for small operators and retail chains.

In June, Gay, under his Variscite NY One company, was granted one of 36 adult-use marijuana retail licenses in New York’s Finger Lakes region after he had filed a similar lawsuit that ultimately led to a settlement that reopened licensing in that part of the state.

Gay, also a principal of California-based Variscite, also has litigation pending in Los Angeles after regulators there rejected his company’s retail application under the city’s social equity program.

About a year ago, Los Angeles selected 100 social equity applicants through a lottery to seek retail cannabis licenses.

Gay also filed a lawsuit challenging the equity program in Sacramento, California’s state capitol.