Thinking back to the ICSC Conference in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, there were some pretty interesting conversations raised in roundtable settings. I came across my notes from a few discussions and was interested to expand on some of the thoughts raised. One table was led by a legal team with practice areas in real estate, zoning & land use, and covered the legal entanglement of increasingly prevalent cannabis-related organizations. I sat in on the roundtable covering this evolving topic and was taken back by the compliance and litigation concerns raised by the state and federal conflict that this type of development currently creates. With varying legislation at the state and federal level, one thing that’s legal within the state may not be at all acceptable on a federal level. With leases and contracts being legally binding, this raises plenty of issues.
From the real estate and construction point of view, there is potential for landlord-tenant issues from a more obvious standpoint, however there are less suspected legal matters from simple actions like waste management & disposal, since some discarded materials can potentially be federally illegal. These situations don’t even involve the application process, which is the most trying portion of all.
Marketwatch.com points out that “Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that permit the use of prescribed medical marijuana and three states permit recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But federal law prohibits use, possession or sale of all marijuana. The contradiction can make it a challenge for people to run a legal pot business.” Regardless of challenge, many dispensaries and growers alike are thriving at this time of development.
Specific medical marijuana legislation varies by location, but the following are typical considerations you’ll face with opening either a dispensary or cultivation facility. To match up all details with a particular area’s MMJ legal requirements early on and establish a well-defined plan, time can be used more efficiently while waiting for approval.
Are your construction plans 100% where they need to be? These are some inclusions to ensure are covered before MMJ facility construction begins:
• Specification of signage type
• Security features
• Proper ventilation
• Fire separation
• Health Department approval of edibles storage/handling
• Cultivation waste management aligned with legislation
• Environmental safety with pesticides
In the past, since medical marijuana growth was mainly accomplished outdoors, the process has been increasingly controlled as the shift has been made to facilities with specialized equipment, security, and protection.