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August 12, 2022

Check Zoning Uses Before Getting Into the Cannabis Business

By Sara Ehrentreu

Municipalities are Amending Zoning Regulations for Cannabis Business

As more states have legalized cannabis, dispensaries and production facilities are seizing a sizable real estate market share nationwide. This profitable business venture is expected to grow exponentially in the next five years. Municipalities are amending zoning code regulations to adapt to the new laws. They are also looking to ensure that the uses established will have the least disruptions to the future daily lives of their constituents. Entrepreneurs interested in navigating this new market should understand the types of uses they may encounter before jumping into these opportunities.

The two most common zoning uses established are cannabis dispensaries and cannabis cultivation/production facilities.

  • Dispensaries are typically limited to retail or wholesale uses and are solely to sell and distribute cannabis-containing products. Typically, with these uses, on-site consumption is not permitted.
  • Cultivation/Production facilities are of different use and may often be in a separate location than the dispensary. With cultivation/production facilities, there also needs to be an examination of the distribution access, and whether waste materials or other potential nuisances will need to be considered in such practices.

Municipalities can limit the number of dispensaries in a particular area, the distance from these dispensaries to schools and community facilities, hours of operation, and strictly define what uses are allowed within the facility.

Savvy investors should verify if the use is permitted by right, if there are any additional conditions to adhere to, and if the municipality has plans to amend the zoning code to restrict the use.

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