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MPA3218 - Cannabis Law

Municipal Requirements for Opening a Cannabis Dispensary in Massachusetts prior to opening a cannabis dispensary in the state of Massachusetts, there are many legislative checkpoints that a business owner must pass through in order to secure their business’ legality. For example, a business owner must meet both state and local municipal requirements. Any applicant who wishes to open a dispensary must read and familiarize themselves with zoning ordinances of whichever town they are in so that they fall in line with buffer zone requirements. These vary from town to town and may require the business to fall a certain distance away from schools (statewide must be 500 ft away), popular places for community activities, and other marijuana dispensaries.

It is also important to become familiar with regulations surrounding when businesses are allowed to operate in a specific municipality. If a city requires all businesses to close at 8pm, that may not be an ideal place to open one’s business, as those timing restrictions limit when a person can enter the dispensary and may cause the business to lose out on customers. Additionally, it is worthwhile to see what signage or storefront conditions are allowed in a given town, so that a business owner can ensure they are able to display their company’s logo and design their store in a way that they feel best represents their brand’s image.

Once a municipality is selected, a community outreach meeting must be held. A meeting notice should be sent out to the city clerk, planning board, contracting authority, and licensing authority for adult cannabis use to be published in the newspaper at least seven days prior to the meeting. At least 14 days before the meeting, the abutters of the proposed address, owners of land opposite to the business, and any businesses within 300ft of the property must also receive the notice. The meeting notice should include the time, place, and subject matter of the meeting and also, the proposed address of the dispensary. This meeting is an opportunity to connect with the community and inform them about your business’ values, goals, and plans. It should be open to the public and must have a forum to hear out questions and concerns from attendees. The owners of the business should be made clear so that they can become familiar to the community. Complying with municipal requirements is not only necessary to the success in your dispensary’s opening, but also, allows the community to become more comfortable with having a cannabis dispensary in their neighborhood and sets up a strong relationship between the business and the town, which can lead to a more successful and popular business.

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