Within the next five years, the national legal cannabis market will have a worth of at least $10.2 billion — perhaps more, if more states join in legalizing cannabis. It’s no wonder then that so many entrepreneurs have sought to make their mark in the cannabis industry, leading not only to profits but to job creation and ties to community interests. In Colorado alone, for instance, the industry created between 7,500 and 10,000 jobs just in 2014, and more are on the way.
If you are thinking of starting a medical marijuana business, cultivating cannabis, or joining any other part of this rapidly expanding industry, you’ll need to prioritize the following four tasks before licensing a marijuana business.
Prepare for the Application’s Submission
Before you even think about licensing, you’ll need to fill out an application first. In 23 states and the District of Columbia, these applications are primarily for medical marijuana licenses. Just four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) have fully legalized cannabis to allow for recreational use, as well. In those four states, there are separate applications for medical and recreational cannabis business licenses.
Familiarize Yourself with the Request for Proposal Format
One of the most important tasks you’ll complete when licensing a marijuana business is writing up your business proposal. This proposal needs to be strong and comprehensive in order to get an approval from the state. If writing isn’t your strong suit, or if you are unsure about the format for the request for proposal (RFP), make sure to work with a cannabis consultant to get some sound advice.
Work with Industry and Out of Industry Experts
If you are filling out your application and developing your cannabis business proposal yourself, you may begin to feel burnt out by these daunting tasks. This, however, is the best time to look into hiring a cannabis consulting firm to help you make sense of the proposals and regulations for licensing a marijuana business. Whether you’re focused on cultivation or wholesale or you’re looking at marketing a retail space, a cannabis consultant can work with you every step of the way. In addition to industry experts, you might also reach out to others in your community who can help with branding, building clientele, and other common business practices.
Develop an Ongoing Plan for Working with Employees, Patients, and the Community
While some communities welcome the opportunity for new businesses to bring revenue to the town or city, others are a bit more resistant to change. You may need to attend town board hearings or work with cannabis consultants to determine where your business would best fit. In addition to working with the community and building a client base, you will also need to hire employees and make sure that they are fully trained. Having reputable and responsible workers means that your business will be less likely to draw scrutiny in your community.
Have more questions about getting a license for your cannabis business? Ask a consultant about what you need to do. The more advice you seek from industry experts, the better chance you’ll have at avoiding some of the pitfalls of the licensing process.