The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy issued a letter to the industry Nov. 30 to say that regulators will cease enforcement of residency requirements for the state’s cannabis dispensaries and caregivers.

The move follows an August court ruling that the state’s residency requirement for cannabis business owners is unconstitutional.

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A First Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled 2-1 Aug. 17 to uphold a Maine federal judge’s August 2021 decision that overturned the residency requirement.

The state then appealed the ruling.

In light of the decision from the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the OCP issued its letter to industry stakeholders to say that regulators will no longer enforce the residency requirements, which mandated that medical cannabis business owners must be state residents.

“The residency requirements for dispensaries stem from a long-standing requirement of the Maine Medical Use of Cannabis Act that all officers or directors of a dispensary must be residents of the State of Maine,” regulators stated in the letter. “In response to a lawsuit challenging this requirement, the court held it unconstitutional and has ordered OCP and the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) to stop enforcing the provision. OCP has and will continue to abide by the Court’s decision.”

OCP officials noted in the letter that while the lawsuit specifically challenged the residency requirement as it related to medical cannabis dispensaries, similar residency requirements are applied to registered medical cannabis caregivers in Maine, and after reviewing the court’s decision, regulators have found that the ruling also affects the rules that govern caregivers.

“Maine has a well-established and successful medical cannabis program that has supported the needs of its patients for many years—removal of the residency requirements will not diminish the program’s ability to continue providing medical cannabis to qualifying patients,” OCP officials concluded.