What’s The Value In a Professionally Designed Plan For Cannabis Applications

Receiving local approval to open a cannabis business and then keeping your state-license takes a keen eye for detail, several interlocking plans and a ton of teamwork. With the right help though, it is very manageable and will produce a remarkable ROI over time.

As a leading cannabis consulting firm, we meet regularly with entrepreneurs looking to enter the new state-sanctioned cannabis industry. It doesn’t take long for the conversation to focus on how to get and keep the licenses and permits necessary to operate legally.

In states that have authorized commercial cannabis and issue licenses under either a medicinal or adult-use/recreational basis, elaborate cannabis laws are put into place at the state level to govern their overall program. While significant controls are also given to the local cities and counties to control where, which type and how many cannabis businesses will be given the opportunity to pursue this economic opportunity of a lifetime.

In two of the biggest emerging state markets, California and Michigan, less than one-third of the municipalities are allowing cannabis activities. The ones that do allow for some permitted activities are severely limiting the number of outlets or activities available when compared to the demand. Cities are receiving hundreds of applications for as little as 1-2 licenses in some of the most hotly contested areas. According to news reports, the City of Pasadena recently collected almost $1.5 M in non-refundable application fees for a handful of potential licenses.

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So, what does it take to make an impression when your application is being evaluated?
  1. Proven experience as a business person, often with some cannabis or other similarly regulated industry experiences.
  2. Expertly developed plans across several areas of focus, including an overall business plan but often just as importantly are plans dealing with security, waste management, odor control, product safety, community relations, record keeping, human resources and much, much more.
  3. Identification and inclusion of expertise from proven partners and suppliers who implement these strategic plans once you are approved.

Simply put, it’s making promises that you will keep the product, community, environment and your employees’ safe is not good enough. You need to prove you have done the research, developed comprehensive plans and selected the right partners to implement a very specific program that will fully comply with the cannabis laws.

Governing bodies like the City Planning Commission and Council or the state’s licensing boards, such as the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), will dig deep into your SOP’s, your premise design and workflow to learn exactly how you will be doing business.

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And once you clear the local hurdles, how do you show the state evaluators that you fully understand and can comply with the cannabis laws?

By having an impressive, comprehensive and professional plan! A cannabis consulting firm like ours develops these plans and programs that comprise winning applications and put cannabis operations in a position to run compliant businesses.

While this admittedly sounds self-serving given our profession, I need to caution anyone looking to save money by DIY-ing their own applications to either a local or state agency. The application forms produced by the agency often look simple and pretty easy to navigate without professional assistance.

However, they are not for novices and the consequences of non-performance will derail your business before it even gets a chance. The application packets that sufficiently answer the level of concern of most agencies typically number in the hundreds of pages, filled with several components which themselves are often composed by technical experts.

Please don’t be fooled by a simple checklist or a couple blank lines with an invitation to attach more if needed. Consult with experts that deliver the level of professionalism to these agencies that is needed to garner trust for a cannabis business permit or license.


Chris Cahill is a Senior Consultant with a JD, MBA, who has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs over the course of a 25+ year career grow and manage their small and mid-sized business. For the past 2.5 years, he has worked almost exclusively on behalf on multi-state cannabis operators and start ups applying for their cannabis licenses.


Hey readers, Arman here from EcoWaste, I invited Chris from BeGreenLegal to write this guest post because I see the value they bring to the cannabis industry. With their track record of helping cannapreneurs develop, submit and get applications approved they can provide you with tremendous value if you’re looking to get licensed or get into the industry!

Please reach out to them if you need assistance at any point of your cannabis business journey at https://www.begreenlegal.com/contact/

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