CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Grillo's Pickles

If you haven't been to the Grillo's Pickles website, you should. There, you'll find the fantastic story of how this company began. We've copied part of it here to save you a click.

Grillo's Pickles began with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar. Travis would make the pickles by night using his family's 100-year old recipe - one he'd memorized from making pickles every summer as a kid. In the morning, Travis would bike to the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They'd hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business but Travis worked hard for it. He made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than he ever had before.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Factory Five Racing

Factory Five Racing was founded in 1995. Over the years they have grown from a start-up business in a small garage to become the world's largest manufacturer of "build-it-yourself" component car kits. They employ a full-time crew of about 40 people, and are located in Wareham, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Boston). They make their products right here in the USA, in the heart of New England where American manufacturing was born.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Luca + Danni

Fred and Danny Magnanimi grew up watching their father create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in the family's Cranston, RI jewelry manufacturing business. When the boys grew up, Fred moved to New York and began working on Wall Street as an investment banker, while younger brother Danny, still enamored by the family business, stayed home. Increased competition from overseas businesses created significant challenges for the business, but Danny was confident he could find a way for the family business to evolve and thrive. This was his mission, this was his passion.
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        Cannabis Advisory Practicecannabis blog

        Be Mindful of Potential Zoning Hurdles to Rhode Island Marijuana Licenses

        Regulations governing the issuance of certain marijuana-related state licenses in Rhode Island do not require that applicants have specific municipal approvals but do require evidence of compliance with local zoning laws. This can create a hurdle that applicants do not anticipate in . In one recent decision, the Superior Court upheld the City of Pawtucket’s zoning decision not to grant a special use permit to a potential cultivation facility.

        In Medi-Green, LLC v. City of Pawtucket Zoning Board of Review (C.A. No. PC-2019-0053), the court considered the zoning board’s decision, the stated findings supporting it, and the difficult standard a challenger faces trying to overcome a written zoning decision. In Medi-Green, LLC, the Pawtucket board had found that the proposed use would “adversely affect the quality of life and character of the surrounding neighborhood” and therefore that the requested Special Use Permit was inconsistent with the City’s comprehensive plan.

        Medi-Green had sought a Special Use Permit under Pawtucket’s city ordinances for pharmaceutical manufacturing. The City’s Zoning Board held a public hearing on their application, at which no objection was raised by any third parties. The City’s Department of Planning and Redevelopment nonetheless recommended denial of the application because the proposed location abutted a residential district, and that utilizing the location for medical marijuana production and cultivation was, in their words, “inconsistent with the City Comprehensive Plan because it would adversely affect the quality of life and character of the surrounding neighborhood.”

        The Zoning Board concluded that the applicant had not provided “sufficient evidence that would aid the Board in determining whether the proposed use would not endanger the neighboring community in any manner.” The applicant, unable to prove a negative, was left with appealing an adverse decision to the courts. While there was some indication in the record of the zoning proceedings that the zoning board may have been prejudiced against marijuana businesses, the court found that the board had properly documented the facts and reasoning for its decision.

        Critically, the question before the courts on such an appeal is not “did zoning make the right decision?” but rather “was the zoning decision supported by reliable evidence in the record” and “was the procedure undertaken by the board in compliance with the law?” Here, the decision not to grant a special use permit was documented by a record and decision that complied with Rhode Island law, according to the Superior Court.

        Zoning should always be considered early in the planning process for any Rhode Island marijuana license application, to identify pitfalls and local adversaries and allies. Zoning issues, and the potential need for de facto local approval of a marijuana business due to the requirement that applicants for state marijuana licenses obtain proof of compliance with local zoning laws, can create trouble even for an applicant with an otherwise rock-solid business plan and application.

        Partridge Snow & Hahn’s Cannabis Advisory Practice Blog provides updates on marijuana law and policy, covering some of the risks and opportunities in the industry, and makes recommendations regarding best practices. If you are interested in receiving these updates via email, please email us at marketing@psh.com.

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