Toigo vs DHSS begins today
The decision will dictate the future of investment in Missouri’s medical marijuana market
Nearly four months after U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled in favor of Mark Toigo and granted a preliminary injunction, the trial begins.
At the center of the case is the requirement that Missouri licensed medical marijuana businesses are to be owned in majority by Missouri residents. The preliminary injunction granted by Judge Laughrey restricted the State from enforcing those residency requirements as they pertain to investment and ownership of medical marijuana licenses granted by the State.
Toigo’s lawsuit, filed in December 2020, argues that the State of Missouri’s enforcement of the residency requirement is discriminatory and violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“The Residency Requirement, and the related state regulations, explicitly discriminates against residents of other states, and are thus precisely the type of state laws that are prohibited by the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” the suit reads.
Toigo is part of the ownership group of Organic Remedies, a multi-state operator with vertical licenses in Missouri and Pennsylvania. Because Toigo lives and works in Pennsylvania, he was restricted to less than fifty percent ownership in any Missouri licensed medical marijuana facility.
Toigo’s lawsuit alleges that the residency requirement, “limits Mr. Toigo’s economic opportunities in Missouri’s nascent marijuana industry,” and that he had been, “deprived of significant and valuable business opportunities.”
The bench trial will be heard by U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey, the same judge who granted the preliminary injunction in June. At that time, Laughrey ruled in favor of Toigo, holding that the residency requirement violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause and granting a preliminary injunction that restricts the State from enforcing the residency requirements.
With no additional evidence to be seen or entered, the trial will consist only of the parties presentation of oral arguments. While the trial itself will most likely conclude in a single day.
Last month, Greenway spoke to Chip Sheppard, a partner at Carnahan, Evans, Cantwell, and Brown, the Greenway Reader’s Choice recipient for 2021, about the impact the Toigo decision may have on the future of the industry in Missouri. At that time Sheppard told Greenway, “The decision seems soundly based and none of the industry attorneys I have spoken with think the Court will reverse course.”