Injunction Against Maine Medical Marijuana Residency Requirement Stayed

A requirement that directors and officers of Maine medical marijuana dispensaries be residents of the state is back in effect. In an order issued on Wednesday, Judge Nancy Torresen of the District of Maine stayed an injunction she had issued in August in a case brought by an out-of-state business seeking to acquire a Maine dispensary.

The underlying case alleges that the restriction violates the dormant Commerce Clause, an implicit legal doctrine holding that states cannot enact laws that unfairly restrain interstate commerce or otherwise discriminate against other states.

The plaintiff, High Street Capital Partners, is seeking to acquire another plaintiff, Wellness Connection of Maine. The residency requirement would block the deal; the plaintiffs sued the relevant Maine agency. After the judge sided with the plaintiffs and enjoined the residency requirement, Maine appealed, but are now moving for a stay.

Judge Torresen granted the stay, undertaking a four-factor analysis. She said she was particularly persuaded by arguments that an injunction would “destroy the status quo and cause irreparable harm.” She noted that, if the injunction were to proceed but then be reversed on appeal, the defendant agency would confront a mix of already-approved dispensaries which do and do not conform with the hypothetically reinstated residency rules. In making this decision, the judge also noted that the plaintiffs have not alleged that a harm of similar scope would befall them if the injunction were stayed pending appeal.

The appeal was docketed earlier this month. No deadlines are currently available for further activity on the case.

The plaintiffs are represented by Preti Flaherty.