While securing a state license can be daunting, getting approval from local municipalities to establish a cannabis business within their city limits can pose its own set of challenges, from moratoriums to impossible zoning requirements.
CannaAdvisors, a Colorado-based cannabis consultancy, worked with some of the first licensees in Massachusetts’ medical marijuana program and has clients looking to enter the upcoming adult-use market.
One of the requirements for obtaining a cannabis business license in the state is a letter of non-opposition from the local municipality that shows, in writing, that the city or town does not prohibit the cannabis operation. Receiving this clearance has been difficult for some businesses.
Despite legalization bills passing strongly by municipalities’ constituents, cities and towns can sometimes have a “not in my backyard” mentality. As CannaAdvisors’ Founding Partner Diane Czarkowski describes it, voters may think, “it’s OK to have it in the state, but we don’t want it here.”
Some municipalities have simply implemented blanket moratoriums or very strict zoning regulations that make it difficult or even impossible for cannabis businesses to find a qualifying location. A common regulation is creating a buffer zone that prohibits operations from locating within a specified distance of a school, for example.
State law might mandate that a cannabis business cannot be within 500 feet of a school, but the local government could enact even stricter distance requirements of 1,000 or 1,500 feet. Or, municipalities might put distance restrictions in place for additional types of buildings, such as daycares, public parks or churches
See the original article at Cannabis Business Times