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Massachusetts Cannabis Businesses File Federal Lawsuit

Group challenges constitutionality of federal marijuana prohibition, seeking equal rights for state-legal operations.




A group of Massachusetts cannabis businesses, led by attorney David Boies, has filed a lawsuit to challenge federal marijuana prohibition. The suit, lodged against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, includes businesses such as retailer Canna Provisions, delivery service owner Gyasi Sellers, Wiseacre Farm, and multistate operator Verano Holdings.

The plaintiffs argue that the federal Controlled Substances Act constitutes an unconstitutional infringement on state powers, undermining state laws and adversely affecting their operations, reported the Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit highlights the inconsistencies and challenges faced by the industry due to the federal ban, including limited access to financial services and legal protections. While cannabis is legal in some form in 23 states, the federal classification prevents businesses from securing Small Business Administration loans, subjects them to burdensome taxes, and denies them trademark protections.

The complainants contend that they should receive the same treatment as any other small business in the state. They maintain that the outdated federal stance on cannabis, perpetuated through inconsistent enforcement policies across different administrations, requires reassessment. The lawsuit seeks a declaration that applying the Controlled Substances Act to state-legal operations is unconstitutional, and it calls for an injunction against federal enforcement on such businesses.

“We want to be treated equally, on an even playing field with any other small business in Massachusetts,” said Meg Sanders, CEO and co-founder of Canna Provisions.

Boies, known for his high-profile legal work, including representing the U.S. government in its Microsoft antitrust case and Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election recount, argues that past precedents are no longer applicable in the current context. The U.S. Justice Department has not yet responded to the lawsuit.




Cannaconvo with Peter Su of Green Check Verified

Cannabis Last Week with Jon Purow interviews Peter Su of Green Check Verified. Peter Su is a Senior Vice President with Green Check Verified, the top cannabis banking compliance software/consultancy in the space. A 20+ year veteran of the banking industry, Peter serves on the Banking & Financial Services committee of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He chairs the Banking and Financial Services Committee for the NYCCIA & HVCIA. He is an official member of the Rolling Stone Cannabis Culture Council. And, he is on the board of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable, serving as treasurer.

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