Cannabis legal guidelines give landlords a singular quantity of management and bargaining energy over tenants. This often interprets to above-market hire and one-sided lease agreements. Fighting with landlords is not any enjoyable, particularly for hashish tenants who can’t merely relocate to a brand new property and should take care of their lessor for the lifetime of a license. In this publish, I’ll study some necessary ideas for hashish tenants.

1. Getting Along with the Landlord

This isn’t actually even a authorized idea, nevertheless it’s a essential one. Before getting tied up right into a multi-year contract {that a} tenant basically can’t again out of if it desires to stay in enterprise, it’s a good suggestion to know who a tenant is coping with. Chances are, the tenant will likely be required to go to the owner for approval steadily throughout the lifetime of the lease. It’s a good suggestion to know who the owner is earlier than signing. If it’s a problem to barter primary lease provisions on the outset, it’ll most likely be a problem to get these new premises modifications authorised–or to do anything.

2. Landlord Control

It’s widespread for leases to ban project or subletting with out the owner’s consent. Many leases go a step additional and outline a change of management of the tenant as an project requiring the owner’s consent. For instance, a lease might say that if there’s a change of possession of 25% or extra of the fairness of the tenant, the owner must approve it first.

From the owner’s perspective, these approval rights make sense; a landlord clearly desires to vet incoming homeowners to guarantee that they’ll have the ability to nonetheless pay hire. But from the tenant’s perspective, these provisions can generally result in micro-management by a landlord, particularly if the approval threshold is low or the owner has unfettered discretion as to how and when to present approval or situation it on cost of extra cash.

Many hashish companies require funding capital, and this usually means some form of change in possession throughout the lifetime of the license. If too broad, landlords’ change of management provisions might be powerful for a tenant to take care of.

3. Premises Modifications

Sort of like modifications of management, most bodily modifications to the leased premises require some form of landlord pre-approval or at the very least discover. This is smart when occupied with altering basic components of a constructing by throwing up or taking down new partitions. But if these provisions will not be effectively outlined, they’ll result in complications. For instance, would putting in heavy equipment require approval? What about an HVAC system? If this isn’t clearly delineated, there might be disputes.

Another widespread concern is who owns the modifications to the premises. At the conclusion of a lease, a tenant might not have the ability to take out every little thing it put into the premises. Most leases will spell out who owns modifications, and be particular as to what sorts of modifications tenants can or (in some circumstances) should take away. Given that nearly all premises have to be modified to adjust to hashish rules, that is necessary to contemplate previous to getting into a lease.

4. Rent and Regulatory Compliance

In addition to mounted hire, landlords might demand some reduce of hashish tenant revenue. While this might be doable below state legislation, it raises two necessary considerations.

First, landlords who share in hire enhance their publicity for federal prison violations. While the federal authorities has taken a hands-off strategy to enforcement in opposition to state-licensed operators, that might change sooner or later. And if there may be ever a change in enforcement priorities, landlords who share within the earnings of a hashish enterprise might face extra publicity. This publicity might have an effect on different provisions within the lease as effectively.

Second, landlords who share within the earnings will most likely have to be disclosed to state, and in some circumstances, native authorities. In California, any type of profit-sharing renders a landlord a “financial interest holder” requiring disclosure to the state. If profit-sharing hits sure thresholds, the owner might be thought of an “owner”, and far more vital disclosures could be required. It is essential to know this second level on the outset. What tenant would need to be able the place, after getting into right into a lease and making use of for a license, a landlord out of the blue acquired chilly ft and refused to adjust to requests to reveal it to the state? This would seemingly not finish effectively for anybody.

5. Guarantees

Cannabis landlords usually require leases to be “guaranteed” by third events. A warranty is mainly a 3rd get together’s settlement to pay hire and another monetary obligations of the tenant if the tenant defaults below the lease. If the owner calls for a private warranty by the proprietor of a hashish enterprise, this may be vital as it will possibly result in severe private legal responsibility for the guarantor if the a hashish tenant can’t make its funds. This danger is much more pronounced for hashish firms. It takes hashish companies a big period of time (with out revenue) to change into operational, and the lack of licenses will even result in losses of revenue.

6. Property Diligence

Most leases embrace representations and warranties concerning the property being leased. Nevertheless, it goes with out saying that verifying that the representations are correct (by inspections and in any other case) is vital. If a tenant enters right into a lease with out inspecting property, they could waive their proper to make claims later (this is able to not apply if the owner intentionally misrepresented one thing).

7. Termination

Since hashish permits and licenses are tied to particular properties, it’s necessary to most tenants to lock the owner into the lease as a lot as potential. Broad termination rights might be unhealthy for tenants for apparent causes. It’s all the time a good suggestion to review grounds for termination carefully. Two issues come up steadily that bear consideration.

First is a landlord’s capability to terminate primarily based on breach (this often comes up for non-payment of hire). Some leases will enable the tenant a interval to remedy any breach, however we’ve seen so much with very brief remedy intervals that won’t all the time be potential to fulfill.

Second is termination for violation of legislation. Cannabis leases violate federal legislation by default. If a lease is terminable for violation of any legislation, then it’s going to presumably be terminable from day 1. There are after all good arguments {that a} landlord waived its proper to terminate or was not terminating in good religion if that is the justification for termination, however why get in that place within the first place?

8. Dispute Resolution

This is completely essential. As an legal professional who used to completely litigate enterprise disputes, and who has seen firsthand the consequences of poorly drafted dispute decision provisions, I can’t specific sufficient how necessary it’s to give attention to these clauses. This is particularly so for hashish contracts, and much more so for hashish leases.

Any time a hashish dispute leads to federal court docket, there’s a probability that the court docket might refuse to uphold a contract on the grounds that it violates federal legislation (that is referred to as the federal illegality protection, and even thought it’s been chipped away through the years, it’s nonetheless very a lot alive). This danger is immense for hashish tenants; if a court docket refuses to uphold a lease, or worse, holds that it’s void, the tenant can lose its licensed premises and due to this fact its license.


These are simply a lot of questions that potential hashish tenants ought to ask themselves when contemplating a lease. The precise components will seemingly change considerably from lease to lease and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It’s a good suggestion to work with counsel to find out what lease provisions are greatest in for a selected tenant and jurisdiction.

The large takeaway right here needs to be that drafting and negotiating hashish leases is hard and that left unchecked, hashish landlords can wield a large amount of energy over tenants. Please keep tuned to the Canna Law Blog for extra developments on hashish leasing legislation, and within the meantime take a look at the posts linked under.

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