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Judge rejects state’s residency rule for medical marijuana

A federal judge has struck down Missouri’s requirement that a majority of the owners of companies that dispense, grow or manufacture marijuana must be state residents.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey last week issued a permanent injunction against the residency requirement, The Kansas City Star reported. She had issued a temporary injunction in June.

Missouri voters approved creation of a medical marijuana industry in the state in 2018. One of the regulations required that state-licensed marijuana cultivation plants, dispensaries and manufacturing facilities must be at least 51% owned by people who had lived in Missouri for at least one year.

Mark Toigo, a Pennsylvania-based investor, filed a lawsuit last December challenging the requirement, arguing that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause.

Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said in a statement the agency is “happy to have clarity on how we should handle the ownership residency requirement in the Missouri Constitution and will comply with the court’s decision.”

The health department oversees the medical marijuana program.

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