Lawsuit Targets Residency Requirement For Missouri Medical Marijuana Licenses

A federal lawsuit filed last week seeks to strike down a Missouri requirement that medical marijuana licenses go to businesses owned by residents of the state.

A constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2018 that legalized medical marijuana requires facilities to be “majority owned by natural persons who have been citizens of the state of Missouri for at least one year prior to the application.”

Mark Toigo, a marijuana investor from Pennsylvania, is suing to overturn that requirement.

According to state records, Toigo is a minority owner in Organic Remedies MO Inc., which was awarded three dispensary licenses, one cultivation license, and one marijuana-infused product manufacturer license.

Toigo argues by enforcing the residency requirement, the state is discriminating against non-residents and violating the dormant commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

He filed his lawsuit on Friday against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as well as its director, Randall Williams, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

“The real effect of the residency requirement has been and will continue to be to stifle Missouri’s medical marijuana program by severely restricting the flow of investment into the state,” the lawsuit says. This will mean that Missouri’s medical marijuana businesses will not be able to access the capital necessary to build a vibrant, viable, and successful industry.” [Read more at St. Louis Public Radio]

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