how to find a location for a cannabis business

One of the most important considerations when planning to enter the marijuana industry is learning how to find a location for your cannabis business, or where to operate your cannabis business.

Whether you’re planning to operate a public-facing business (B2C) that services the end consumer, such as a medical provisioning center or recreational use retailer, or a business closed to the public (B2B) like a processor or grower; you need a physical location.

Even a secure transporter needs to have a physical location where the operation is based. This article details how to find a location for a cannabis business.

Many factors affect the decision of where to set up your business, including:

  • personal geographic preferences (both state-wide and regional)
  • municipal regulation and zoning, the experience of your team
  • the resources and assets available to your team
  • the likelihood of receiving a license if you apply

Most of these factors are intertwined, so considerations related to one factor will likely have an impact on other factors as well.

Need help learning how to find a location for a cannabis business? Request a free consultation now.

Geographic Preferences

In a general sense, where do you want to be?

This is largely a personal/business decision.

If you’ll be involved in day-to-day operations of the business, this may need to be near where you currently live, or you may need to choose a location you’re willing to relocate to.

If you plan on employing people who will manage day-to-day operations and don’t need to be near the operation, then the whole state is open to you; but you’ll still need to find a location where you can find and retain employees.

Whatever general region of the state you wish to operate your business in, you can likely find a municipality within a reasonable distance that will allow it.

However, the more rural an area, the farther this “reasonable” distance may be.

Another consideration is whether there are other marijuana businesses in the area that you may need to support your business.

If you want to be a grower, who are you selling to and how is it being transported there?

If you’re a retailer, where do you get your product and how does it get to you?

Vertical integration may solve these issues, but will add complexity and cost to your operation.

Need help learning how to find a location for a cannabis business? Request a free consultation now.

Municipal Regulation/Zoning

Once you’ve decided on where to operate your cannabis business, the local regulations enacted (or not) by the over 500 distinct municipalities in Michigan will dictate whether a cannabis business is permitted within a specific municipality.

If they’re permitted, the ordinances will indicate which types of businesses are allowed, the number of licenses that will be issued, where the business may be located, and other rules regulating the operation of the business.

Under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), a municipality must take action to opt-out if they don’t want recreational establishments to operate within its borders.

The only way to know what’s permitted and what the ordinances say about locations and regulations is to locate and read the actual documents.

Below, we published a video addressing some of the issues to look for when searching for and interpreting local ordinances.

Research the municipalities in the region. Don’t stop when you find one acceptable location, as other municipalities may have more favorable regulations.

Need help learning how to find a location for a cannabis business? Request a free consultation now.

Experience and Resources of Your Team

Marijuana businesses can range from small single individual or entity operations to large complex corporate arrangements with several owners and investors.

If you’re a small operation with limited financing, your options are more limited than larger, well-financed teams.

In municipalities that allow recreational businesses but restrict the number of licenses, there’s a competitive process for awarding the licenses.

However, municipalities are free to define this process.

They may place priority on teams with established experience in the marijuana industry, or business experience in the municipality.

They may want to see new construction, or redevelopment of blighted areas.

Or, they may want mixed use developments with housing, or vertically integrated operations all on one site.

Pursuing a license in a competitive market may not be a realistic option for some teams.

Need help learning how to find a location for a cannabis business? Request a free consultation now.

Likelihood of Receiving a License

You need to be realistic about your chances of obtaining a license in the municipality of your choosing.

If the municipality you want to be in is limiting available licenses and looking for new developments or experienced teams, and you don’t have the experience or resources to accomplish that, you should probably look in surrounding areas.

Putting together a well-rounded license application in competitive market takes a lot of time and resources, such as:

  • surveys
  • site plans
  • business plans
  • community benefits packages

Additionally, there’s a whole host of reports and narratives to convince the municipality that your project should be the one allowed to operate in their community.

How to Find Location for Cannabis Business

Whether you are a large team with lots experience and resources available to compete in competitive markets, or a smaller team doing most of the work on your own on a limited budget, our team of award-winning cannabis attorneys is ready to answer your questions.

We can help you navigate the municipality licensing process, achieve your business goals, and find out where to operate your cannabis business.

Need help learning how to find a location for a cannabis business? Request a free consultation now.