Residency requirements attached to state cannabis laws may not withstand challenges to constitutionality. The first precedential opinion on this issue is expected sometime in the next few months by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in Maine.
The case, Northeast Patients Group et al. v. Figueroa, involves a challenge to the law in Maine (existing in many other states) that contains an in-state residency requirement for license applicants and operators. California doesn’t have a residency requirement law, but operators here may be barred from expanding into other regions due to their state residency requirements. This ruling could impact that barrier.
Last year, the District Court of Maine struck down the state’s residency requirement, finding that it was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause, a measure intended to block discrimination against interstate commerce. However, attorneys for the State of Maine appealed that decision, finding the federal law isn’t applicable to the cannabis industry, as trade remains technically unlawful under U.S. law.
Similar challenges have been brought before in other courts, but as our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers can explain, this is the first to reach a federal appellate court. A ruling by the First Circuit could have a substantial impact for the cannabis industry throughout the country. Continue reading