To date, at least 62 towns have taken an “opt-out” position either by formally introducing or adopting ordinances to ban cannabis establishments or by telling applicants they did not want cannabis in their town, and at least 21 towns have introduced or adopted ordinances to allow one or more licensed establishments in town. Some towns are permitting only cultivation and manufacturing, while banning retail dispensaries. Some towns are allowing only medical marijuana dispensaries and banning all other cannabis establishments. Some towns are permitting each class of establishment, but are imposing hefty local application fees, annual permit fees and imposing additional qualitative licensing application processes on top of the anticipated state application process. For applicants trying to lock in real estate in anticipation of the upcoming license application window, knowing the status of these varying local rules is critical.
However, with hundreds of towns still undecided, on June 21, 2021 a bill was introduced to extend the deadline for towns to adopt local laws until October 20, 2021. While this may provide more time for towns to make up their mind, it will likely create havoc for applicants.
Under the adult use statute, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) is required to release its initial rules by August 21. The statute further provides that within 30 days thereafter, i.e., by September 20, the CRC “shall” begin accepting applications for licensure.