Oregon company withdraws challenge to interstate marijuana trade ban

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.

An Oregon cannabis company withdrew its federal lawsuit challenging a state ban on interstate marijuana commerce, court records show.

Jefferson Packing House, a state-licensed cannabis distributor, sued Oregon officials in U.S. District Court in November 2022, alleging that a state law prohibiting marijuana companies from shipping across state lines was unconstitutional.

The argument hinged on an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s dormant commerce clause, which generally prohibits states from passing laws that favor businesses based in that state.

Though several states, including Oregon, have passed laws that would allow licensed producers to start supplying other markets with marijuana should federal law change, the state contested the suit.

And there were hints that the Oregon case would not succeed.

A judge in Washington state recently ruled in an unrelated case that the dormant commerce clause protections do not apply to marijuana because it is federally illegal.

Arguments on a state motion to dismiss the Jefferson Packing House suit were due to be heard Jan. 25.

But the day before, Andrew DeWeese, the plaintiff’s Portland, Oregon-based attorney, told the court in a filing that the suit was being voluntarily withdrawn.

DeWeese did offer a reason in the filing and did not immediately respond to an MJBizDaily request for comment.

“State prohibition on interstate commerce in cannabis remains unconstitutional,” DeWeese told Marijuana Moment.

“Today’s procedural move does not change any of that. Big things are coming on this front very soon.”

Though he seemed to hint that the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to reschedule marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 of the Controlled Substances Act might impact the interstate commerce question, DeWeese did not clarify further.

The challenge was one of several to individual states’ bans on state-legal marijuana crossing state lines.

Legal  scholars have argued that such bans may not be constitutional.