Judge upholds Baker decision on marijuana
Says governor’s 2 major objections could be addressed
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Kenneth Salinger ruled on Thursday that Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to close recreational marijuana stores as non-essential was constitutional, and not subject to second-guessing by him.
But then the judge seemed to second-guess anyway, pointing out that the marijuana businesses that challenged Baker’s decision “convincingly argue” that the governor’s two main reasons for his decision – that retail stores attract large crowds and out-of-state customers – could be addressed.
He also seemed to entertain, at least briefly, the argument that it was arbitrary and capricious of the governor to treat recreational marijuana differently than alcohol and medical marijuana during the COVID-19 crisis.“But none of this means that the lines drawn by the Governor are irrational. Plaintiffs cannot prevail by showing that adult-use marijuana establishments could safely be reopened with limitations such as requiring all customers to pre-order and barring sales to out-of-state residents,” the judge wrote. “Even assuming the Governor could accomplish the same public safety goals in a way that imposed less of a burden on the Plaintiffs, that would not make the Governor’s emergency orders unconstitutional.”
“The Green Lady faces a very real prospect of being forced out of business completely,” Salinger wrote in his opinion. “It has no income. It cannot sell any of its inventory to the medical supply chain because it cannot lawfully transport any marijuana products off Nantucket island. And, like all other marijuana establishments, it cannot participate in any Federal economic relief programs.”