Industrial N Illinois

John Marshall Law School examines impact of medical marijuana on CRE

Cannabis-Seedling-Marijuana-1062908-e1493404634292
Cannabis Seedling Marijuana

Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and DC—that includes Illinois. The John Marshall Law School's Center for Real Estate Law recently convened a panel of experts to discuss the disruptive impact on the real estate industry in April, according to a statement from the school.

Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and DC—that includes Illinois. The John Marshall Law School's Center for Real Estate Law recently convened a panel of experts to discuss the disruptive impact on the real estate industry in April, according to a statement from the school.

Those on the panel included Jason Divelbiss of Hagerstown, Maryland law firm Divelbiss & Wilkinson, Bryna Dahlin of Rollman & Dahlin, Bob Morgan of Much Shelist, Robert Sistek of Innovative Industrial Properties and Pete Kadens of Green Thumb Industries. John Collins of Clark Street Real Estate served as the moderator.

Developers, investors, lawyers and medical marijuana entrepreneurs discussed changes in the industry and what the future could look like. Principals Peter Eisenberg and John Collins began discussing these issues over a year ago with John Marshall Law School professor Celeste Hammond.

"The legalization of medical marijuana is a disruptive force to other long-legal drug companies and to those distributing alcohol and tobacco as well," Hammond said in a statement. "The industry calls for a response from communities where the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana occur."

In a discussion that covered many topics, learning how to navigate zoning and land use regulations was one issue that all panelists found important. Since most zoning and land use regulations were drafted before legalized cannabis was contemplated, lawyers, entrepreneurs and real estate professionals need to understand both the laws and creative ways to operate around existing codes.

Commercial, retail and industrial leases also pose a thicket of issues because cannabis is so highly regulated. The panelists advised attendees to scrutinize leases because standard provisions may conflict with regulations for cannabis. The panelists also discussed how banking laws can impact the payment of rent and security deposits.

"You don't want to be paid with a duffel bag full of cash," Sistek said referring to a huge problem in the legalized cannabis industry.