Phillips & Angley

Marijuana permit and zoning process in Boston has some specifics

For proponents of the legalization of marijuana, the day cannabis was legalized was a joyous occasion. For users, it means less criminalization of the drugs. For those involved in the cannabis business, the newly legalized area shows promise and opportunity from a business standpoint. As the legalization is still fresh, municipalities are still trying to regulate the new market and land use and zoning.

Take Boston, for example. There are procedures that have been recently set in place about how cannabis land use and zoning, along with permits, are doled out to prospective entrepreneurs. The city's website encourages would-be marijuana vendors to fill out an application, apply for a conditional use permit, which will be denied due to the city's current laws about marijuana zoning, hold a public meeting with neighbors in the would-be area the shop would be located and once an agreement is executed with the neighborhood Boston will schedule a zoning appeal.

There is a hidden step that isn't listed on the city's website. It has to do with race, gender and access to capital. Boston is currently refusing to let marijuana companies negotiate host community agreements and complete the process unless other marijuana firms, preferably with local and/or minority owners, have also applied to open in the same area. Essentially, unless a person of minority status has applied for marijuana permits in the same area, the request will be at a standstill.

For those who aren't locals and aren't a minority, this could mean the request for cannabis permits will be at a standstill for an unspecified amount of time. It's possible that a person of minority background will never apply for a permit in the area that you are looking to set up shop. However, it's possible the applications could move along at similar paces as well. It's something to be aware of in Boston's attempt to level the playing field for all who are interested in the opportunity.

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