Adult-use cannabis business licensing began on April 2 in Massachusetts, and municipalities hold a substantial amount of power in deciding who will ultimately become licensed, according to Jesse Alderman, co-chair of Foley Hoag’s cannabis practice.

“Where these licenses are trench warfare in terms of competition is at the municipal level in terms of winning local zoning approvals because many municipalities have banned recreational cannabis, as they’re allowed to do,” Alderman says. “Many more are still contemplating where and how they will zone for recreational cannabis facilities, and there’s a precious few communities … [such as] Boston, Worcester, Salem and many smaller communities [that] have put forward zoning and have begun their process, but it’s incredibly competitive. It’s a process that the municipalities are taking very slowly and carefully at the zoning level.”

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