Cannabis License Application: How to Create a Winning Team
Updated: Feb 21
If you’re a cannabis entrepreneur, it’s going to come as no surprise to you that your cannabis license application is going to require a lot of effort and work.
Oftentimes cannabusinesses forget that one of the most seminal parts of the application process is having the framework in place to succeed. In other words, have you assembled a rockstar team?
In this easy to read article, we’re going to break down who you need on your team when you’re applying for a dispensary, processing facility, or a cultivation license. If you’re unsure of what’s expected on your cannabis application or the type of team you’d need to produce a winning application, this article is for you.
First, Assemble Your Core Team
Ownership Team, Investors, & Operators
When you’re assembling your team of all-stars for your ownership team there are certain appealing qualities that state boards will view favorably. Here’s a breakdown of qualities that aren’t usually mandatory for your board members and investors to have, but will be helpful to standing out above the competition.
Business experience is wonderful, if not essential. Past experience managing money and controlling high end inventory can be a powerful skillset to have on your team.
Knowledge of security of people, theft/loss prevention, cash handling, and protection of highly valuable assets is helpful when working with a controlled commodity like cannabis.
Leadership that has medical or pharmaceutical experience, specifically individuals who’ve operated pharmacies, have the unique tools to operate a cannabis dispensary given their experience with tracking highly classified drugs.
Having a member on your ownership team that has law experience can be largely helpful in helping your business to maintain compliance with the many strict cannabis laws and regulations.
Cannabis cultivation is an agricultural endeavor. Having an ownership team member with solid experience in agriculture adds credibility to your business’s likelihood of running a successful cultivation facility.
Commercial Kitchen Experience
Processing facilities deal with ingestible goods and require operating procedures that handle sterile surfaces and food grade safety standards. Individuals with commercial kitchen experience often have the large scale food safety operational experience needed to run a facility that maintains quality control standards.
Financial Control Experience
Regulators tend to be very concerned with tracking the flow of currency through cannabis businesses. Having an owner with experience in managing large amounts of cash flow and overseeing financial planning can quell any concerns about mismanagement of money.
The cannabis industry has a long and complicated past. Therefore, philanthropic and progressive-minded individuals who’ve put thought into the way that cannabis businesses can positively impact the community at large is a good look.
Presence of Minority Groups
By featuring women or commonly underrepresented minorities in the cannabis industry on your team, you’re playing an important part in diversifying the industry towards a positive future.
Connect With Expert Guidance
Hiring a Cannabis Consultant or Consulting Firm
Preparing a dispensary or other type of cannabis licensing application isn't like filling out any old application. There are particular factors that go into a winning application that can be hard to identify and can take months to nail without a guide showing you the way.
Think of your cannabis consulting firm as your project manager. They’ll have all the correct standard operating procedures in place, an awareness of each puzzle piece needed for your state and region, and advice on how to position and run your cannabis company. When vetting cannabis consultants and firms, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Is your whole team on board? You and your team should personally enjoy the cannabis consulting firm you’re partnering with, you will be speaking with them on an ongoing basis.
Can your consultant speak confidently on goings-on in the industry? You want a firm committed to knowing the ins & outs of your state and region as laws change.
Do they provide a deeper understanding? Your consultant shouldn’t just be able to provide you with the basics of opening a cannabis start-up, they should be able to help you understand the big picture. This way, you can develop your understanding of the industry under their guidance, gaining the ability to adapt and forecast for the unknown.
Time to Get Legal
Cannabis Governmental Affairs & Legal Team Partnership
Once you’ve hired your consultant, they can help you find a strong legal team whether an individual lawyer or a firm. A legal team is an important component because they can help you with incorporating your business, corporate structuring, and writing an operating agreement. Additionally, a legal team that has cannabis government relations knowledge is a plus. This particular knowledge comes into play in policy advising and lobbying in your business’ interest.
Must-Have Team Members
Financial, Architecture, Security, & Real Estate Team
Now that you’ve covered your bases with your ownership team, cannabis consultants, and legal guidance, it’s time to fulfill the license requirements with the remainder of your essential team members:
Financial: a designated accountant, financial, or business planner.
Architecture: an architect for floor plans.
Security: a security professional for a solid security plan.
Real Estate: Some states require a location to be selected on the application which requires real estate knowledge and distance requirements from schools, churches, and more.
The Final (Optional) Piece
The Advisory Board
An advisory board is an optional piece you can add to your application to add more weight and authority. Advisory board members serve as trusted advisors that will help to guide your business as it flourishes. The people selected for this board can have all types of experience in business and cannabis, but most importantly, they’ll have sound judgement and demonstrated personal successes.
In Conclusion: Creating a Winning Cannabis Licensing Team
All of the team members and experience explained in this article are important for your application, but in the long run, they’re instrumental to the success of your business. Though you may feel tempted to make quick decisions about assembling this initial team, remember that the work you put in to find the right people now, will save you time once you launch your business. With the right team in place, you’re creating the foundation for a business that can last.
If you’re ready to partner with a cannabis consulting company that can guide you through the application process in your state and more, we can help. Our team of industry experts can help you put together the best application possible for your team. Turn your business’ goals into actionable strategies that truly make a difference in the world.
Ready to work with us?