Federal Judge Rules Portland, Maine, Cannot Prioritize Local Cannabis Businesses in Adult-Use Licensing
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Federal Judge Rules Portland, Maine, Cannot Prioritize Local Cannabis Businesses in Adult-Use Licensing

A U.S. District Court Judge sided with Wellness Connection of Maine in the cannabis operator’s lawsuit over the city’s residency requirement.

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August 17, 2020

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torreson ruled Aug. 14 that Portland, Maine, cannot prioritize local cannabis businesses in its adult-use licensing process, according to a Bangor Daily News report.

Wellness Connection of Maine, which operates dispensaries in Portland, Brewer, South Portland and Gardiner, along with its Delaware-based investor, High Street Capital Partners, filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in June, alleging that Portland’s cannabis ordinance, which offers a residency bonus for license applicants who have lived in Maine for at least four years, is “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory” to non-local businesses.

Torreson sided with Wellness Connection in her decision, which determined that there was “sufficient threat” that Wellness Connection would be at a disadvantage when competing for adult-use dispensary licenses in Portland, Bangor Daily News reported.

Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy announced Aug. 14 that the state’s adult-use cannabis sales can launch Oct. 9, nearly four years after Maine voters approved legalization in 2016.