City's Pot Residency Preference Unconstitutional, Co. Claims

June 16, 2020

Following a successful challenge against the State of Maine over residency requirements, a prominent cannabis business has sued the city of Portland, Maine, over a policy that favors local residents who apply for a dispensary license, requesting an injunction barring the city from using a system that offers preferential treatment to local applicants vying for one of the city's 20 dispensary licenses. The suit argues that the City's process is in violation of the Constitution's dormant Commerce Clause.

An Excerpt

The licenses will be awarded based on a points matrix that rewards Maine residents and business owners, the suit says. Marijuana businesses that are majority-owned by people who have lived in Maine for at least five years will be eligible for an additional five points. . . . Another four points are available for marijuana businesses owned by people who have run other, nonmarijuana businesses in the state.

The Commerce Clause bars states and municipalities from making laws that discriminate against residents of other states, the company argues.