There is a saying out there that ‘all politics is local.’ When it comes to marijuana politics, that’s especially true. Municipalities can either embrace marijuana businesses, or do everything that they can to preven them, even in states where marijuana businesses are legal. In my state, Oregon, there are large parts of the Eastern part of the state that have opted out of allowing marijuana businesses, even though Oregon has legalized both recreational and medical marijuana.
In New York, where there was a very hard fought battle to get one of just a handful of medical marijuana business licenses, marijuana companies are running into issues with local governments. Even though the companies were awarded licenses at the state level, the municipalities where their companies were planning on opening have stated that they will not be allowed to do so. Local governments can put huge monkey wrenches into marijuana business plans.
A company seeking to open a cultivation facility in Maryland seems to be very aware of that fact, which is probably why they offered the local town where they want to open the facility part ownership in the venture. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
When Harvest Inc. announced that it offered the tiny town of Hancock, Maryland, a 5% stake in a cultivation facility it hopes to open there, a few eyebrows went up.
Some observers called it innovative, saying the move could serve as a blueprint for companies trying to win medical cannabis licenses. Others equated it to a bribe, saying the company is looking to gain an unfair advantage in the licensing process.
In any event, town officials accepted the deal in early October after having lawyers sign off on the legality of the offer.
As a result, Harvest - a cannabis dispensary and cultivation company based in Arizona – was able to include the arrangement in the company’s application for one of 15 grower licenses that the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will eventually award.
This is not the first time that a local government jumped into the marijuana industry. Cannabis Corner, located in North Bonneville, Washington, is a recreational marijuana store owned and operated completely by the town of about 1,000 people.