So you want to get into the marijuana industry

Opportunity in the marijuana industry is always growing, and as most of you have found out by now, the cannabis industry isn’t an easy industry to break into. There isn’t another industry in the world as regulated as marijuana, so being as educated as possible and being as prepared as possible is the key to success. Here’s a basic overview of what you’ll need to know to get started.

Your State Needs to Have an Existing Marijuana Program or an Upcoming Marijuana Program

In other words, there needs to be a state law that allows marijuana to be utilized in some form for commercial purposes. Dispensary Permits classifies states in three categories:

States with Limited Marijuana Programs-CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, is one of the two major compounds in marijuana (THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol being the other). CBD non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC. Some states allow oil or other products with CBD but a very low amount of THC (typically less than .03%) in specific medical cases. Our team refers to these process as “limited”, typically we have seen these programs turn into full blown medical programs.

States with Medical Marijuana Programs-Some states allow a broader range of products, including those with both CBD and THC when an individual has been qualified by a recommending physician and verified by the state, in accordance with the state laws, the person is able to purchase marijuana at a state licensed dispensary.

States with Recreational Programs -Some states allow adult use, commonly referred to as a recreational marijuana program. Without a physician’s recommendation, individuals over 21 years of age have the ability to purchase marijuana at a state licensed dispensary.

States with a Marijuana Program Need a State Licensing Process

Even when states have laws that allow marijuana use by individuals, they don’t always have established ways for those individuals to obtain marijuana in the state. Sometimes it just takes time for that part of the law to catch up, or sometimes the laws just seek to decriminalize marijuana use. Whether they have a licensing process as part of the legislation that allows marijuana use or they introduce that process later, at some point states develop a plan regarding what marijuana businesses types they’ll allow in the state, how many of them they’ll allow, what agency will govern that process, what the application process will require and how much it will cost. Some states don’t have a quota of how many licenses they’ll issue, commonly referred to as checklist processes, and in some states its exceptionally competitive, commonly referred to as merit based processes.  It’s important to understand how different the process and requirements can be from state to state- this process is governed entirely by the state, not the federal government. And unfortunately, it’s not as simple as finding a state with an application process and applying there- in fact, some marijuana programs require that Applicants are state residents.

You’ll need to decide what kind of marijuana business you’re interested in

There are two kinds of businesses: plant-touching and non-plant touching. Plant-touching– businesses that deal directly with marijuana as a plant. Cultivation, processing, product manufacturing, distributing, transporting, and dispensing. Non plant-touching– businesses that provide services to the industry. Marketing, technology, testing, packaging, legal services, etc. Good news is, only plant-touching businesses need a State Marijuana licenses to operate- so let’s talk about those:

Cultivation– Cultivate, dry, trim, cure and package marijuana for sale to distribute to a processing, manufacturing center or to a dispensary/retail facility.

Processing/Manufacturing (Infused Marijuana Products)– Obtains marijuana from State licensed Cultivation facilities then extracts resin or creates marijuana infused product. These products are sold and transferred to dispensary/retail facility in packaged form.

Dispensary/Retail Facility– Purchases marijuana from a cultivator or processor and sells, supplies, or provides marijuana to registered qualifying patients/caregivers or customers.

Know Your State Process

Now you need to immerse yourself in your state application process. Educate yourself, understand what is required in your state, what the fees would be, start to create a business plan, a budget, and understand the other components that would be required. State/City Application fees, state required proof of funds, professional services (realtor, legal, architect, etc.) are just a few costs you will incur during an application process, in addition to marijuana consulting of course.

Find Your Team

This isn’t a simple process. So, get a team behind you- entrepreneurs with a track record of success in the marijuana industry, medical professionals, community liaisons, professionals with real experience in a compliance or regulated industry, and more. The more diverse your team, the better- many states have implemented diversity bonus points in their application process for veterans, women-owned or minority-owned businesses.

How Dispensary Permits Can Help

We want you to succeed and have taken clients through the application process successfully in states all over the country, even in highly competitive, merit based markets.  We offer this one-on-one help with our custom solutions. Which means we will customize the work product to your state, site and team. And, for those of you wanting to do-it-yourself, our DIY downloadable marijuana templates and checklists for entrepreneurs seeking investors, looking to get educated or need intellectual property on the fly. So, let’s get started, find out exactly what is happening in your state and what opportunities are available to you!