(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the May-June issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)
Marijuana entrepreneurs seeking to open a business face a similar type of roadblock in virtually any U.S. market: municipal zoning regulations, which can be difficult and annoying.
Even though the cannabis industry continues to grow around the nation, the regulatory situation hasn’t gotten better.
“We have seen an exponential increase in zoning questions over the past year,” Jade Green, CEO of Seattle-based online marijuana real estate marketplace CannaMLS, told Marijuana Business Magazine.
CannaMLS, which facilitates worldwide sales of marijuana real estate, companies and licenses, boasts 3,500 listings in the United States alone.
And now, with more states and cities opening up legal cannabis sales, Green said, CannaMLS, is answering increased questions about zoning regulations and restrictions.
Zoning issues can be less overwhelming if marijuana businesses communicate early and frequently with municipal officials.
It’s also beneficial if entrepreneurs seek the help of industry stakeholders who have experience dealing with local regulations and are up to date with the variations in regulations from city to city – oftentimes, even in the same state.
But don’t expect the process to move quickly, said Tammie Snow, a marijuana lawyer in Maine who advises her clients that they’re facing up to a year of regulatory hoops, including zoning, before they can open their doors.
Here are some key things to keep in mind as you enter the fray of cannabis zoning regulations:
- You’ll face many rules – and many differences between locations.
- Understanding zoning requires a deep dive.
- Lean on best practices as you approach zoning issues.
- Some situations have made “grown men cry.”
- Lawsuits typically are not the answer.
Marijuana Business Magazine also took in-depth looks at two specific issues involving zoning issues: