A group of cannabis companies are challenging the constitutionality of a portion of the federal Controlled Substances Act that they say has throttled pot shops and grow operations deemed legal under state laws.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield Thursday on behalf of a national coalition of cannabis operators hitting back at the federal law that contradicts state laws that allow legal sales in 38 states. Massachusetts was among the earliest states to legalize medical and recreational marijuana sales and grow operations since the controversy was presented to voters several years ago.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts in 2016. Purveyors battled municipal restrictions to make the industry mainstream since then. But the lawsuit argues the contradictory federal law that remains in place prohibits cannabis entrepreneurs from accessing small business loans and other benefits afforded to conventional business owners.

“The federal government has no basis for enforcing the Controlled Substances Act against intrastate, state-regulated cannabis operations,” reads a statement issued by Northampton attorney Thomas Lesser.

Read more at masslive.com