Lawsuit filed over Maine marijuana retail licenses

Two small Maine-based marijuana businesses are suing the agency that oversees recreational marijuana operations, arguing state licenses were illegally awarded to out-of-state owners.

State law requires owners of marijuana operations to live in Maine and to have filed state income taxes for four years. But the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy ignored the requirement, based on the state attorney general’s conclusion that it’s unlikely to hold up to legal scrutiny.

The federal lawsuit contends out-of-state companies take away a competitive advantage for Maine business operators.

For the three-day holiday weekend following the start of recreational sales on Oct. 9, six of nine active licensed retail stores were open and sold more than $258,400 in products, with $25,841 in collected sales taxes, according to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy.

Another lawsuit, in March, was behind that OMP’s decision to ignore the residency requirement, upon advice from Attorney General Aaron Frey. The state’s largest medical marijuana dispensary chain, the Wellness Connection, is 49% owned by a Delaware investor and had argued that the residency requirement restricted it from raising money to enter Maine’s recreational market, the Bangor Daily News reported. [Read more at The Hour]

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