While marijuana is becoming increasingly legalized across the U.S., cannabis zoning laws are beginning to emerge. Although marijuana is a Schedule II narcotic, in many areas it is still illegal to grow or possess. However, cities and municipalities can now officially classify certain grows, such as medicinal marijuana, as having “vague” marijuana zoning laws. This allows cities and municipalities to regulate these businesses in an effective and sensible manner.
Cities and municipalities throughout the country have taken an interest in regulating marijuana businesses because they want to keep their neighborhoods safe. Currently, marijuana is still considered a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II substances include anything that is deemed to have a high potential for abuse. This includes any plant or product that has at least a few traces of the active ingredient, whether it be THC or CBD. Because of this, local governments have placed marijuana within the same classification as cocaine and heroin. However, with cannabis zoning being such a new and unique area of law, it is important to understand how it works.
In most municipalities, marijuana zoning allows for marijuana businesses to freely grow, harvest, process, or sell marijuana. However, not all cities and municipalities have this right. Even if a business is permitted to grow and process marijuana within a certain limit (usually 20 plants for each licensed grower), it may still not be allowed on the premises. The amount of space that can be used for growing marijuana varies from city and county to city and county, so it is best to contact a legal counsel before starting any marijuana growing venture in a particular area.
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Many cities and counties will allow marijuana grower to “prohibit” smoking or other consumption of marijuana on the premises, but they may only do so during operating hours or after hours that the premises are unoccupied. Some locations will even require landlords to prohibit smoking or other cannabis consumption by their tenants. While many cities and counties have made it legal to cultivate, harvest, and sell cannabis, some places have yet to decide if they will allow these businesses in the future. It is a good idea to research local and city laws before investing money into marijuana businesses, especially since they can cost thousands of dollars for start-up costs. This initial investment can easily become thousands if not millions of dollars, and it is not uncommon for marijuana businesses to fall several months behind their neighbors when it comes time to pay property taxes.
Not only are local and city laws regarding cannabis zoning different, but they are also very different from state and federal laws. While there are national controls over what kind of cannabis one can grow, there are no national laws controlling what one can grow or consume. Therefore, it is very important to learn the laws of the region in which one intends to set up his or her marijuana grow operation. Some states have already passed laws that prevent employers from discriminating against marijuana users and sellers, but there are still many loopholes in place. For instance, even if a person is not violating any state or federal laws, he or she may still be prohibited by the wishes of the federal government. Therefore, if one is considering investing in a marijuana grow operation, it is necessary to become as informed as possible on the many issues surrounding cannabis zoning, laws, and the impact of legalization on the environment and the health of everyone who uses cannabis.
By taking the time to become as knowledgeable as possible about the cannabis zoning, laws, and implications of marijuana use, anyone can ensure that his or her business is operating legally according to the law. Not only can this type of planning help to ensure a safe and legal working environment, but it can also help to make sure that employees are aware of the dangers of marijuana use, and that the health and safety of everyone who consumes cannabis do not suffer. Any business that produces or sells cannabis should be highly regulated. Investing in the right equipment and planning ahead can keep your operations running smoothly, and your employees happy.