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Marijuana provider challenges Maine’s residency rule for sellers

Wellness Connection of Maine’s federal lawsuit seeks to overturn a rule that only Maine residents can obtain adult-use marijuana sales permits.

A medical marijuana provider has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn a Maine rule that says only state residents or companies majority-owned by state residents can obtain adult-use marijuana sales permits.

Auburn-based Wellness Connection of Maine, which operates four of the state’s eight medical marijuana dispensaries, says the rule is unconstitutional and makes it harder for companies seeking to operate recreational marijuana stores to raise money.

For example, the lawsuit alleges, Wellness Connection is currently 51 percent-owned by Mainers. If it sought to raise money from out-of-state investors, that could tip the ownership balance and make Wellness Connection ineligible for a Maine recreational sales permit under the rules set up by the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services, which oversees the permit process for recreational marijuana sales.

Maine voters approved sales of marijuana for recreational use in a 2016 referendum. Following a series of delays under the former LePage administration, the state has been establishing rules for the permits since then and sales are expected to begin in June unless they are further delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. [Read More @ Sun Journal]

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