Maine Aims to Disallow Out-of-town Cannabis Business Owners

High Times

The state of Maine is determined to preserve its requirement that cannabis businesses be owned by its own residents, bringing the dispute into uncharted legal territory. First, some background. Officials in the Pine Tree State “originally required all medical and recreational cannabis businesses to be owned by residents,” as the Portland Press Herald explained in an article.  But that requirement was challenged last year by Wellness Connection of Maine, the state’s largest chain of medical cannabis dispensaries that had sought a license for a recreational cannabis dispensary in Portland, the capital city of Maine. Wellness Connection, which is owned by a Delaware-based LLC, filed a lawsuit against the city of Portland after council members there approved an ordinance capping the number of licenses for adult pot use dispensaries and establishing a system that gave preferential treatment to local applications. Matt Warner, an attorney for Wellness Connection, argued that the requirement was unconstitutional, saying that as “a matter of constitutional law, states and cities can’t discriminate against citizens of other states based purely on residency.” “More than 25 percent of the points awarded through Portland’s competitive licensing process are based on residency, so we’re automatically disqualified for those points, based purely on our owner being from Delaware,” Warner said at the time. The company argued in its filing that limiting “the opportunities for (Wellness Connection) to create a brand, build a reputation and establish customer loyalty in Portland at the adult-use market’s inception would harm them in ways that cannot be reduced to a monetary damages award.” The state stood down, eventually doing away with the requirement for recreational cannabis businesses, and in August, a federal court sided with Wellness Connection in a ruling that overturned the in-state residency requirement for medical marijuana dispensaries.  That decision, from U.S. District Court Judge…

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Source : Maine Aims to Disallow Out-of-town Cannabis Business Owners

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