Maine Company Petitions First Circuit for Rehearing of Medical Marijuana Suit

The United Cannabis Patients and Caregivers of Maine (United Cannabis) petitioned the First Circuit on Wednesday for a rehearing of a case they heard involving United Cannabis in mid-August. The initial suit was brought by Northeast Patients Group (NPG) and High Street Capital Partners against the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services and alleged that the Maine Medical Marijuana Act’s residency requirement was in violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

Plaintiff High Street Capital is a Delaware Corporation, while plaintiff United Cannabis is a Maine Corporation. Recently, plaintiff High Street Capital expressed their desire to acquire plaintiff NPG. However, the Maine Medical Marijuana Act has a residency requirement, meaning that if the acquisition did occur, it would result in plaintiff NPG no longer being able to operate as a marijuana dispensary in Maine since High Street Capital is a Delaware-based corporation.

An earlier report on the suit explained that the plaintiffs argued that the Maine Medical Marijuana Act’s residency requirement was in violation of the Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause because “it expressly privileges Maine residents over residents of other states by allowing them to invest in Maine’s marijuana industry.”

Defendant United Cannabis is a nonprofit group known for advocating for medical marijuana businesses owned by Maine residents. After the First Circuit determined that the residency requirement did in fact violate the dormant commerce clause, they petitioned the Court for a rehearing.

In their petition, United Cannabis argues that the First Circuit erred “in applying the dormant Commerce Claus to protect interstate marijuana activities derived from Maine’s state-exclusive market based upon the novel conclusion that any market in existence – lawful or illicit – is entitled to Commerce Clause protection.” They further claim that state marijuana markets should operate separately from other states in an effort to avoid any interstate exchange of federal contraband.

United Cannabis concludes their petition by stating that “because no national common market for marijuana commerce lawfully exists, Maine’s regulation of its intrastate marijuana market cannot and does not run afoul of the dormant Commerce Clause.” The defendants filed their petition for a rehearing on Wednesday.

The plaintiffs in the suit are represented by Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios, while the defendants are represented by Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson.