Bob Careless, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Zoning, Land Use, & Development and Tax Practice Groups, discusses zoning obstacles for medical marijuana operators after the passage of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act (Act 16) in The Temple 10-Q. Numerous Pennsylvania municipalities have adopted ordinances to regulate where grow/process facilities and dispensaries can be operated, and require approval by special exception from the local Zoning Hearing Board. Instead of adopting an ordinance, some municipalities have decided to treat a dispensary as a retail use and a grow/process facility as a manufacturing use. Other municipalities have not addressed Act 16, which can be problematic without a set process to treat permit applications. Applicants could face resistance from the community in which they intend to locate their business. Even if municipalities have ordinances to accommodate grow/process facilities and dispensaries, residents are able to request party status to zoning proceedings and may oppose marijuana-related applications. If no ordinances have been passed, applicants should anticipate resistance from the municipal boards.
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