Maine’s state law requiring that licensed medical cannabis businesses must live in-state has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.
The First Circuit Court, made up of panelists, U.S. Circuit Judges David Barron, a Barack Obama appointee, Sandra Lynch, a Clinton appointee who replaced Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and Joe Biden appointee Gustavo Gelpi, ruled 2 to 1 that despite marijuana’s federal illegality, that does not exempt the weed market from constitutional rules.
Judge Barron wrote, “The defendants do not dispute that Maine’s residency requirement, if applied to a lawful market, would comport with the dormant Commerce Clause… only if that requirement were ‘narrowly tailored.” Additionally, Barron wrote that Maine’s chief deputy Attorney General, Christopher Taub, had not disputed the idea that the rule would be unconstitutionally protectionist if applied to a legal market.
The judges opined that the law was in violation of the Constitution’s “Dormant Commerce Clause,” which “refers to the prohibition, implicit in the Commerce Clause, against states passing legislation that discriminates against or excessively burdens interstate commerce.”
In their remarks, the panel’s majority concluded, “Why, then, would it be improper for us to apply the dormant Commerce Clause here? There is an interstate market, and a state is trying to protect its advantageous position with respect to it.”