FORBES: How US Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause Is Challenging Marijuana Legislations

By Dario Sabaghi

A number of U.S. states that have legalized the sale of marijuana are being sued by companies that have not entered the legal market, using the Constitution’s dormant commerce clause as their basis for the lawsuits.

While the majority of U.S. cannabis legislation aims to regulate the sector and include social equity applicants in the industry, some parts of these policies have been ruled as unconstitutional by courts when marijuana-related businesses excluded from the state market have invoked the Constitution’s dormant commerce clause. This may lead state legislators to revise their marijuana regulations so as not to exclude nonresident applicants from participating in the state industry.

U.S. Constitution’s dormant commerce clause is a doctrine of constitutional law interpreting the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. It aims to prevent states from enacting protectionist measures and therefore prohibits them from adopting policies that obstruct the free flow of goods, people, or capital within the country.

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