Paul Peter Nicolai
Town Can’t Stop Shift To Retail Pot Sales
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
A town cannot stop a medical marijuana dispensary from converting to retail marijuana sales.
In 2016 an applicant had received authorization from the town to construct a building that would house a medical marijuana dispensary.
In 2017, the law which legalized recreational marijuana exempted medical marijuana dispensaries from zoning ordinances that would prohibit them from converting to retail marijuana sales.
A lower court ruled the town could not prevent the conversion to a retail marijuana establishment.
The supreme court affirmed in a unanimous opinion.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT… The town argued the plaintiffs did not qualify for the statutory exemption because the dispensary was not yet constructed and they were not engaged in marijuana sales as required by the law. The Supreme Court said it was undisputed that they applied for and obtained the requisite provisional State license, executed a host community agreement with the town, and procured a special permit from the planning board. That meant they were involved in the sale of marijuana, even though the dispensary was not yet operational.