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Cities and towns are just saying no

New Jersey and Maine are hitting some turbulence as the cannabis industry preps for adult-use sales, showing that legalization is just one hurdle among many for new markets.

Garden State real estate

In New Jersey, cannabis businesses are grappling with low inventory and sky-high prices in the search for commercial real estate, according to Marijuana Business Daily. The state is prepping for adult-use sales to start by February of 2022, with projected revenues estimated at more than $2 billion within four years.

“There certainly is a cannabis markup, as soon as the property owner realizes that it’s going to be a potential cannabis use,” said Rob DiPisa, co-chair of the marijuana law group at Cole Schotz.

More problems in Maine

Things are arguably even more difficult in Maine, where more than 90% of municipalities still don’t allow any adult-use cannabis stores to open. Of the state’s 500 or so towns, just 47 have greenlit cannabis stores since going legal last October, reports Maine Public — leaving approximately 71% of the state’s population without a store nearby.

But legalization passed narrowly in the state, with some areas voting against it due to associating it with other drugs like opioids and methamphetamine. But members of the industry are optimistic that more areas will eventually welcome stores.

“It takes time for stigma to change, and it takes time for operators to jump in and participate in the market,” said Joel Pepin, president of the Maine Cannabis Industry Association. “But I mean, the market’s been launched now for a year and it seems to have already made a tremendous amount of progress.”

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