The cannabis industry is one of the most heavily regulated emerging markets. Government agencies within each state, county, and sector (cultivation vs. retail space) have varying compliance laws, leading to an intimidating process. To operate legally, everyone must adequately apply for a license - so why is it so difficult?
With many rules to follow, the cannabis license applicationprocess can take time. Once you finish up your pre-application planning, it’s crucial to prepare your team forwhat is needed on the application. The following 7 secrets will help you focus on what is essential throughout this timeline and what may improve your odds of winning your cannabis license.
Cannabis License Consulting: 7 Things Your Cannabis License Application Needs
Cannabis licenses are not given to every business that applies. Collecting accurate data about your business, hiring adequate and knowledgeable team members, and understanding state licensing quirks are all part of the game.Following best practices will benefit you as time goes on during this process.
1) Early Preparation is Key
Those getting involved in the cannabis industry know compliance is crucial. Whether it’s the varying state laws on delivery services or banking and payment options -knowing the rules will get you far.
Show on your application how thoroughly you have researched current and future regulations through preparation and due diligence.
A cannabis license application is a multi-step process that cannot be completed within a few months. It takes a compliant property, a funded business plan, and a proper team to begin working out the details.
By preparing early, your business will have a better shot at demonstrating why a cannabis license is a match for your future plans. Your cannabis application should reflect what your business will be like, meaning you want to set yourself up for success from the very beginning.
2) A Punctual, Polished Piece
Submitting a cannabis business license application that is on time and complete is a given to some; however, others are not aware of the gravity of this step.
Fortunately, this portion of the application is entirely in your control. Take advantage of the opportunity presented here and treat this like any other professional document.
Circling back to step one will prepare you well for step two. Starting early and remaining focused will help an approaching deadline feel less stressful. After all, this application represents your business, so showing up on time and ready to go is pivotal.
3) Keep Things Diversified
The cannabis industry is a uniting force. Your team should reflect the fantastic people of your community that make the most sense for your business plan. To be considered well-qualified, the management team must show regulators their collective experience in finance, compliance, business operations, agriculture, and leadership.
Experienced cannabis executives can give your application an edge that other candidates may not have. Build out a team based on diverse career backgrounds, varying social causes, and different skill sets to create the most qualified group possible. Rallying experts in cannabis real estate, architecture, security agencies, accounting, and other necessary fields will avoid any mishaps or unanswered questions.
4) Capital and Cash Flow As with any new business, cash flow is a necessity. Regulators must know your business is developed enough to earn a cannabis license. Showcasing financial models with the source of capital, cost of production, earning projections, and profitability timelines will give a more accurate picture of your business’s financial viability. Oftentimes there are financial requirements associated with license applications, and funds can be a reason for slowing down the process. Winning teams have proof they can sustain the costs associated with operating a cannabis business. Make the regulator’s job easy by giving them exactly what they are looking for. 5) Real Estate Requirements Any business with license requirements should have a plot of real estate to tie it back to. Securing a compliant property to operate your cannabis business can be a daunting task. Surround yourself with a cannabisreal estate team who is familiar with government regulations in the industry. This extra step will work in your favor and keep the process moving. While looking for a property that is the right fit, consider the implications for traffic, buffer distances, and property owner permissions. Above all, teams who have identified and obtained real estate that meets the criteria for the application are more likely to win their license. 6) Strong Operations Plan The first step towards creating an air-tight business plan is to provide a comprehensive operation for regulators to review. Moving towards an operations plan unique to your company’s needs will show the regulators that plans are made from start to finish. Take the time to think through scenarios and develop detailed procedures for situations you and your team may encounter. The cannabis business license competition is stacking up as time passes, so consider your operations plan to be the details for the bigger picture. These details should be a playbook for the day-to-day business operations and guide specific industry situations. Working on a “figure it out as you go” framework will only lead to complications and, ultimately, failure. 7) A Community-First Mindset Community is the heart of any area. After all, the support of the community and people around you is what will help grow your business! When coming in with a new cannabis business, it is important to highlight your surrounding area to make members feel heard. The history of cannabis has brought on prohibition, prison sentences, and harmful stereotypes surrounding people of color - all which have impacted community members’ lives. It’s important to recognize the privilege cannabis businesses now have operating legally and find ways to give back to the roots of the community. Showcase to cannabis regulators your business is making a positive impact with community involvement and how it must be a mainstay in your area.