The cannabis business is not a regular line of work. In order to get into the green industry, it’s important to have a passion for the plant. Of course, we’re not saying that absolutely anyone cannot decide to dive into an industry with possibly the biggest development potential.
However, having passion and knowing the plant would represent a significant head start.
Like in any industry, you will have to go thru a process that will officially allow you to start a business. What makes the cannabis industry different are pretty immense, both physical and intellectual security measures. In some cases, depending on the law and requirements in specific states, these measures can even be extreme.
But there is no need to worry as long as you take enough time to educate yourself on the matter and even consider hiring professionals to help you to apply for a cannabis retail license.
We understand that in a sea of information, it might be hard for you to make a plan and follow thru every step of the way. Luckily for you, we’ll explore the matter in a concise manner, allowing you to be sure you’re doing the right thing and please do reach out at the end with any questions.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at “How to Apply for a Cannabis Retail License?”
1. Dive in to Regulations for Retail Licenses
Like you probably already know, every US state has different laws and regulations regarding just about everything. Now imagine that on a larger scale. Even though the controversy around growing, distributing, and selling cannabis and cannabis-induced products has shifted, there are still many challenges you’ll need to face.
However, if you focus and do everything right, chances are you’re looking at some of the biggest profits in modern market history.
Our first tip for you is to dive in and dive deep into exploring cannabis-related laws and regulations in your state or the state you want to start a business in.
We’ll cover the required regulations in all the states that legalized recreational cannabis production, distribution, and sales if you contact us for more information.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not double-checking the information you obtained. You need to follow a trusted source and, of course, consult with professional cannabis consultants and experts. So, take your time, even if you need a couple of months to explore all the required aspects before taking action.
2. Mean Business and Take it Seriously
Taking our previous “advice” seriously should make the next step far easier for you and your potential company, and not only because you performed a background check on all needed requirements. You’ll most likely enter the next step stress-free, meaning the lowered risk of mistakes and increased confidence.
When you’ve successfully obtained information, it’s time to develop a business plan. Even though business plans sometimes sound trivial and like simple bureaucracy, we suggest taking them as vital for the success of your business.
In theory, three absolutely necessary requirements for a successful business plan include a solid idea, resources, and a clearly defined product. Again, this refers to theory according to all the important books and guides on writing a business plan.
When it comes to practice, before applying for a cannabis retail license, let’s take a look at the content of a successful business plan:
- Identify your target market
- Choose a suitable location
- Develop a marketing strategy
- Identify your sources of funding
Your potential business plan should outline your proposed inventory, including the exact potential products you want to sell and sales projections.
3. How to Apply for a Cannabis Retail License
Now, make sure to read the following text with deep focus and extra caution. We also recommend reading this particular paragraph a couple of times before taking action. We have taken an example of how to apply for a cannabis retail license in California, but approximately the same rules apply to other states as well.
– Take Care of Local Permitting Processes
Many states, cities, and even counties have very different rules for all types of cannabis businesses. Some don’t even allow cannabis businesses even though you might have different information. So, make sure to successfully set up a business in a state or, in other words, an area that allows all commercial cannabis activity.
Also, there are usually permitting requirements your county or city requires before finally applying for a state cannabis license.
– DCC, CCO, CCD, etc. (Cannabis Control Office-Illinois, CCD-Cannabis Control Division-Montana, etc.)
DCC stands for the Department of Cannabis Control and is located in California. They regularly issue requirements for all standard operating procedures, properly training employees, and setting up facilities. You’ll be happy to hear that DCC can help you create and fill in the documents you need during the licensing process. Feel free to email the DCC’s team with any kind of questions you might have.
Again, if you are having issues or simply don’t have time for exploration and comprehension of all the requirements, hiring a reputable cannabis consulting agency might be a good idea. Of course, we are not saying you should spend extensive money on heavily marketed consulting agencies. There are a few cannabis consulting companies out there that can make a big difference in your application for a reasonable amount of money.
– Create A Licensing System Account
The aforementioned DCC system has three known licensing systems. You’ll have to decide which one corresponds to the license type you want to apply for. Furthermore, it’s important to create a valid account in the system and remember your username and password so you can log in anytime.
– Completing Your Application
It’s time to fill in all the required fields in the licensing system of your choice and carefully upload all additional documents. Additionally, during this step, it’s important to disclose all information to your financial and business owner’s interest holders. Remember that double-checking truly goes a long way. However, the DCC licensing system allows you to save your progress along the way, meaning that you don’t have to complete every piece of information in one sitting.
When you’ve finished your application and double-checked every piece of information you entered, it’s time to sign.
– Application Fees
When you can say that you finished your license application, it’s time to deal with expenses. In other words, the next step refers to paying your application fee and finally submitting your application. Remember that DCC cannot process your application until you pay the fee. For example with license applications in Missouri each application requires a $1,500 deposit at the time of application to be considered for the lottery.
– Be Responsive
Cases, where there is insufficient information regarding your cannabis retail license application, are not that rare. Sometimes, DCC will ask for some additional information, email you and set a deadline for providing that information. Make sure to check your inbox and answer in a timely manner.
– Licensing Fees
Days, or even months, before receiving DCC’s decision can turn into years. Make sure to think positively during that period and avoid stress and overthinking. If your cannabis retail application is approved, you’ll receive an email with instructions on paying for all needed licensing fees.
Usually, you can pay for the entire fee via check, bank account, credit card, or even a money order. Of course, you can choose to set an appointment in their office and pay in cash. Cash payments are not accepted without a set appointment for various security reasons. Upon paying all needed licensing fees, your license will be issued.
For now, DCC’s licenses are valid for one year. After your license is finally issued, you can easily download your license from the system. We recommend posting your hard-earned certificate in a very visible place so customers can see it.
Hire the Professionals for Cannabis Retail Application
Applying for a cannabis retail license, even though timely, can really pay off in the long run in multiple ways, the most important one being that you’ll finally be able to start a business that you love. Cannabis is a surreal industry that allows the blending of creativity, pleasure, and business. However, it’s important to approach the issue with focus and take it as seriously as possible. In any case, with proper guidance, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be the next big cannabis retailer in your area.
As the largest cannabis brokerage in the country, we have now processed over 200 licensing / entitlement applications over the last 6 years, with an impressive 87% win rate for our clients.
Our cannabis licensing and application services are built to support solopreneurs, scaling businesses, and MSOs from start to finish.
Get started on your cannabis retail application here: