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Mass. Recreational Marijuana Shops Lose Bid To Reopen During Pandemic

A Suffolk Superior Court judge has denied a request by a group of recreational marijuana businesses to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

The businesses had sued Gov. Charlie Baker over his decision to shut down recreational pot businesses in his response to the public health crisis. The businesses said the closures would irreparably harm the burgeoning industry. They also argued that it was arbitrary for the governor to allow liquor sales and medical marijuana sales to continue, while barring sales of recreational marijuana.

Baker has maintained that he does not want to open recreational pot shops during the pandemic, calling the issue a “non-starter.” The governor said that allowing recreational pot shops to open would attract people from out of state and hinder efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger agreed with Baker’s argument.

“It was reasonable for the governor to be concerned that the relatively few adult-use marijuana establishments in Massachusetts are more likely than liquor stores or [medical marijuana treatment centers] to attract high volumes of customers, including people traveling from other states,” Salinger wrote. “The governor’s decision to treat medical marijuana facilities and liquor stores differently than adult-use marijuana establishments has a rational basis and therefore is constitutional.” [Read more at WBUR]

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