Wellness Connection, which owns four of eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine, filed a motion on Thursday to fight a lawsuit against the state from two small marijuana businesses over recreational cannabis licenses granted to businesses with some out-of-state ownership.
It is the latest legal salvo in the recreational marijuana market that launched on Oct. 9 in Maine and is expected to soon eclipse the size of the medical marijuana market. Portland marijuana consultancy Nucleus One projects sales for the legal medical and recreational markets will total $76 million this year in Maine, with adult-use making up $20 million of that.
Much more money will be at stake with sales expected to almost quadruple to $295 million by 2025, when adult-use is projected to dominate the market with $265 million in sales. Cottage industries including tourism and professional services are also growing up around the cannabis business.
In March, Wellness Connection sued the state over a law trying to limit marijuana businesses such as itself with out-of-state owners, but the case was dropped after the state said it would not enforce the residency requirement because it likely would not hold up in court.
Wellness Connection filed its new motion on behalf of its recreational business, NPG, with the aim of getting the lawsuit from the two medical marijuana caregivers dismissed. They claim that the state cannot refuse to enforce the law restricting out-of-state business owners.
Ironically, Wellness Connection’s new motion would put it on the same side as the state as a defendant. Wellness Connection is in the process of completely converting its medical business into an adult-use marijuana business, which its executives have said is far more lucrative.
Its earlier lawsuit claimed the residency requirement hampered it from raising the funds to make that transition. NPG currently has an active manufacturing and an active cultivation license for adult-use marijuana plus five conditional approvals from the state for another manufacturing license and four stores.