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Land Use & Zoning

Finding and securing suitable real estate is at the core of launching virtually any cannabis business. Proper zoning, customer and patient access, and community and local support are critical to selecting an appropriate site. This is especially true in jurisdictions where municipal approval is a separate layer (and often a precondition) of the licensing application process for medical or adult-use marijuana businesses.

Site selection requires careful preparation, planning, and execution, and often yields many challenges and questions: Is my location in a suitable zoning district for a cannabis business? How do I identify and navigate the local approval process? What local permits are required in order to open? What contract provisions are necessary to best protect my interests as a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant? Mistakes made at the outset can cost time and money, sometimes resulting in months of delays and unexpected costs that can be devastating to any business. Vicente LLP is uniquely qualified to help you avoid those mistakes.

In addition to having extensive experience in commercial real estate development, leasing, zoning, and permitting, our attorneys are deeply involved in cannabis regulatory work. Vicente LLP has worked on shaping municipal cannabis policies for over a decade, so we understand local land use and zoning issues and know how to navigate them. We work closely with mayors, city and town council members, planning boards, neighborhood organizations, regulators, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to determine the most suitable locations for cannabis operations, and we know how to allay the concerns that are most likely to arise.


Select a category below to learn more about our land use and zoning services. 

  • Securing letters of support and non-opposition and other municipal approvals
  • Drafting and preparing competitive local licensing applications
  • Drafting and preparing local land use applications, including permit applications and zoning relief
  • Providing representation at public and administrative hearings
  • Offering community engagement services to quell vocal opposition and obtain stakeholder support
  • Drafting local land use petitions to amend allowable locations in a municipality
  • Conducting zoning and regulatory analysis to determine site suitability
  • Drafting, reviewing, and negotiating commercial lease agreements and purchase and sale agreements
  • Financing strategies, including devising cost-effective methods of securing property pending final licensure
  • Developing landlord incentive strategies


Since 2010, our team has represented thousands of clients across all segments of the cannabis and hemp industries, including emerging companies, entrepreneurs, landlords, farmers, multi-state operators, and publicly traded companies. Highlights include:

  • Assisted clients in identifying locations and obtaining local support in connection with merit licensing application processes in more than two dozen states and Puerto Rico
  • Negotiated the first medical and adult-use Host Community Agreements in Boston, Massachusetts following lengthy community engagement programs
  • Successfully permitted a 300,000 square-foot cannabis campus, designed to accommodate an innovation cluster of approximately 10-15 cannabis cultivators, product manufacturers, microbusinesses, and craft cooperatives
  • Provided regulatory review for commercial leases for cannabis cultivation, product manufacturing, and retail establishments
  • Led the complex permitting of a large-scale cannabis cultivation facility spanning two municipalities and incorporating multiple cultivation styles
  • Spearheaded a zoning amendment to expand access to medical cannabis in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Identified dozens of potential sites for cannabis establishments for retail, cultivation, product manufacturing, and delivery use
  • Organized support to leverage voters to overcome the adult-use marijuana ban in a municipality that was previously ardently opposed to the use, allowing for a Vicente LLP client to site an adult-use marijuana establishment
  • Obtained approval of four conditional use permit applications in California’s Imperial County for client pursuing vertically integrated cannabis operations, including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and delivery
  • Obtained approval of special permits for a cultivator seeking a distribution and processing license, and for a major California extractor pursuing a manufacturing license in Humboldt County
  • Served as co-counsel for obtaining Community Host Agreement and Special Permit for the first adult-use dispensary on the island of Nantucket
  • Permitted a vertically integrated medical and adult-use marijuana facility requiring Special Permit, Site Plan Review, Variance, and Board of Health approval
  • Served as lead counsel for successful competitive Request for Proposals in Massachusetts municipalities including Worcester, Chicopee, Amherst, Framingham, Somerville, and Malden
  • Obtained more than 50 letters of support or non-opposition for RMDs in municipalities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Negotiated more than 60 Community Host Agreements for RMDs and Marijuana Establishments in municipalities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Helped a large cannabis operator with several storefronts throughout Southern California obtain a Conditional Use Permit in Culver City, California. Our client was one of three operators selected out of 23 applicants. In addition to completing the application, the process included submitting a Preliminary Project Report, hosting three Community Meetings, and preparing a client for a public hearing
  • Helped a client obtain approval for storefront and delivery licenses through an extremely competitive process in West Hollywood, California. The city received over 300 screening applications from more than 120 different applicants and awarded only four authorizations to proceed for each license type.


Junior Associate Attorney

Director of Licensing - California

Associate Attorney

Vice President of Eastern Markets and Business Intelligence


[Webinar] Massachusetts Cannabis Regulatory Update

Aug 19, 2022

Massachusetts Legislature recently voted to pass marijuana reform legislation that will impact the cannabis industry in significant ways, particularly with respect to social equity. Watch this for an overview of the new law and insights into how it might impact your business.

[Webinar] Cannabis Real Estate Considerations

Oct 12, 2021

Watch this recorded session where members of VS’s real estate practice discuss cannabis real estate issues, including lease considerations, financing, and local jurisdiction laws that may affect your business. 

What is a Cannabis REIT?

By Charles Alovisetti, Cassia Furman
Apr 23, 2021

To many in the cannabis industry, REIT is not a common acronym. Yet, as cannabis businesses seek ways to raise funds, REITs are coming up in more and more conversations.

Commercial Leases Involving Cannabis Businesses

By Ben Leonard and Brett Williams
Mar 9, 2021

This article published by the Colorado Bar Association addresses issues unique to cannabis-related business lease transactions and offers suggestions for structuring such leases to maintain regulatory compliance.

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