Several dispensaries of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit alleging that Governor Charlie Baker exceeded his authority by classifying recreational-use marijuana retail establishments as non-essential while declaring medical-marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores as essential during a statewide shutdown to combat the spread of COVID-19. CommCan Inc. v. Baker, No. 2084CV00808 (Mass. Super. Ct., filed April 8, 2020). The complaint asserts that Massachusetts “seems to be the only state that has deemed medical marijuana essential but adult-use/recreational marijuana non-essential” and argues that California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada and Washington classified both types of establishment as essential.

The plaintiffs also include a Nantucket recreational-use dispensary and a war veteran who obtains marijuana from the dispensary for medical purposes because the nearest medical dispensary is more than an hour away. The court has reportedly denied an initial request for a preliminary injunction on the executive order.

About The Author


For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.