Maine Cannabis Coalition Sues State Over Decision to Scrap Residency Requirement in Adult-Use Law

Maine Cannabis Coalition, a group of local cannabis businesses, filed a lawsuit against the state May 29 following Maine’s decision to eliminate its residency requirement for adult-use cannabis businesses, according to a Portland Press Herald report.

Last month, the state reached an agreement with cannabis operator Wellness Connection of Maine that repealed a rule requiring license applicants to live in the state for a minimum of four years after Wellness Connection filed a lawsuit in March to challenge the constitutionality of the residency requirement.

Now, Maine Cannabis Coalition alleges in its lawsuit that the state’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services is violating state law by refusing to enforce the residency requirement, which was part of Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Act that legalized adult-use cannabis, the Portland Press Herald reported.

“Maine Cannabis Coalition and its members along with many other citizens fought hard for two years to make sure residency protections were included in the law,” the group said in a statement issued to the news outlet. “To have it all be ignored after all the hard work and efforts is extremely aggravating to the citizens and policy makers of Maine who expect no one to be above the law.”

The lawsuit argues that Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy has no authority to abandon state law since it has not been struck down by a court or repealed by the legislature, and it seeks an injunction prohibiting regulators from issuing adult-use cannabis licenses to out-of-state applicants, according to the Portland Press Herald.

As written, the residency requirement mandated that every officer, director and manager of an adult-use cannabis business, as well as a majority of its ownership, to live and file taxes in Maine for a minimum of four years. The provision was set to expire in June 2021 before the state reached its settlement with Wellness Connection.