Maine Ceases Enforcement of State Residency Requirements for Marijuana Businesses

May 11th, 2020, Adult-use, Litigation, Public Policy, Regulatory, State

The Office of Marijuana Policy (“OMP”) announced that they will no longer be enforcing the Maine residency requirements for owners and principals of adult use marijuana establishments. 

A lawsuit filed earlier this year challenged the state residency requirements on the basis that explicitly and purposefully favoring Maine residents over non-residents for a business license violates the dormant Commerce Cause of the United State Constitution.

Pursuant to an agreement between the Office of the Attorney General and the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, OMP is ceasing enforcement of the residency requirement in the Marijuana Legalization Act and implementing regulations.  

While OMP will not enforce the residency requirements moving forward, the Legislature will need to vote to amend the Marijuana Legalization Act in order to actually change the law and formally repeal these requirements. While the recent announcement only applies to adult use marijuana establishments, Drummond Woodsum is monitoring whether there will be any changes to the enforcement of residency requirements in the medical marijuana program.

Even though the state will not be enforcing residency requirements, a number of municipalities wrote Maine residency and/or local residency requirements into their local permitting and licensing ordinances for marijuana establishments.  Those requirements are not repealed by this announcement, although they could be subject to a separate legal challenge. 

If you have questions about the licensing processes for marijuana businesses in Maine or would like assistance with submitting applications, please contact a member of Drummond Woodsum’s Licensing and Regulatory Compliance division.