Cannabis Licensing: Where to Start
Cannabis licensing is challenging, and one of the hardest parts of the entire process is getting started. This is particularly true if it’s your first time applying altogether, or first time applying in a new jurisdiction such as New Jersey or New York.
Identifying key pieces of information at the outset can make for a smoother application process and avoid headaches down the road. Let’s identify those key pieces of information.
1. Identify who governs commercial cannabis in your jurisdiction.
Google “[Your Jurisdiction’s] Cannabis Licensing” and identify who regulates cannabis at the state and local level. Save the contact information for the state and local agencies for quick reference.
2. Verify that your desired license type is offered at the local level.
Verify that your license type is available. Local jurisdictions across the United States often have the option to prohibit commercial cannabis activity. Others only offer certain license types.
Don’t waste time or money until you confirm that your desired license type is even an option. Your jurisdiction’s website will likely have a page devoted to cannabis. If it doesn’t, give your local jurisdiction a call and verify that your license type is offered.
3. Review all relevant guidance document(s) and statutes/regulations.
Review any and all guidance documents provided by any regulatory agency related to your license type. Many jurisdictions provide helpful “how-to” guides that describe how the license process plays out in their jurisdiction. Save or print these guides for quick reference.
Also, review all relevant statutes/regulations. Simply Google “[Your Jurisdiction’s] Cannabis Statute” or “[Your Jurisdiction’s] Cannabis Regulations.” Save or print any relevant statute or regulation for quick reference.
4. Consider hiring outside help.
Experienced cannabis lawyers and consultants can be an invaluable resource during the cannabis licensing process. Even if you don’t want to shell out the cash to pay a cannabis lawyer to handle the entire licensing process, there are certain areas of an application that an applicant should reach out to an experienced professional.
However, make sure anyone you hire actually has relevant experience. Do not pay someone to learn the cannabis licensing process and/or regulations in your jurisdiction.
5. Prepare for the application process.
Application preparation should begin before application requirements are released. Check out the application processes that other legalized states have implemented. Applicants will inevitably come across the same or similar application requirements that other states utilize. Do a bit a research and start compiling the application components that are commonly seen from state to state. Check out our free guide to California’s cannabis licensing process here.
© RYAN T. KOCOT, ESQ. 2021
DISCLAIMER: THIS INFORMATION IS STRICTLY EDUCATIONAL AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.