Hot States – Is Your State Hot or Not?: Cannabis Legalization Is Moving Forward in These Ballot States

Higher Yields Consulting Hot States: Cannabis Legalization Is Moving Forward in These Ballot States

Unlike lagging states, ballot states have either just passed cannabis legalization or have the ability to do so. These budding markets are a bit like pre-teens: They’re inexperienced and have little idea what they’re doing as they awkwardly navigate their space (in this case, the cannabis industry).

Higher Yields Consulting Hot States: Cannabis Legalization Is Moving Forward in These Ballot States

Many ballot states want to portray patience as they take time to determine the best way to address issues like social equity and regulatory structures. However, the true motivation behind such delays is often political in nature, despite the benefits of a legal marijuana market.

Here’s everything you need to know about states in which cannabis markets are coming to fruition. 

Cannabis Legalization Is on the Ballot

For voters across the country, marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Though being “on the ballot” doesn’t mean the same thing in each state. In particular, this refers to either a ballot initiative or a referendum. Although both ballot initiatives and referendums seek the opinion of the entire electorate, they aren’t the same. 

A ballot initiative is a process by which citizens can propose a statute or constitutional amendment to be voted on. Conversely, a referendum occurs when the legislature passes a law and then chooses to refer it to the voters to decide whether or not to uphold said piece of legislation.

In New Mexico, lawmakers continue to debate specific points of the state’s cannabis legalization bill before it heads to a final vote. Unfortunately, New Mexico cannot permit recreational use through a ballot initiative, so it must instead be done through the legislature.

Similarly, lawmakers in Kentucky and Alabama have introduced 420-friendly legislation. These bills seek to create new medical cannabis markets in previously THC-free states.

States With Recently Passed Legislation

Even in the face of a pandemic, some states have found ways to legalize cannabis. Many of these states have even recognized how a healthy market — and the associated taxes and fees — can help rehabilitate an economy crippled by COVID-19.

As a historically conservative Southern state, Georgia is a prime example. With 69% of Georgians in support of cannabis legalization, the state has begun reviewing license candidates for its medical marijuana program. Meanwhile, cities like Atlanta and Savannah have opted to decriminalize possession of certain amounts of cannabis.

The passage and implementation of a medical cannabis program in Georgia came as the result of heavy influence from industry leaders. Lobbyists and cannabis operators worked diligently to ensure the success of this bill, and it worked. Such pressure may be effective in other states as well.

Unfortunately, other states have put their rollouts on pause due to the pandemic. Although these programs have been guaranteed, it’ll take some time to get them up and running.

The Bright Future of Cannabis Legalization

The future of cannabis in the United States looks bright — but only if the push for legalization continues. In states looking to pass cannabis-friendly legislation, would-be operators shouldn’t sit idly by. 

Instead, connect with lobbyists and advocacy groups — such as NORML — to support proposed legislation. Doing so will give cannabis legalization a fighting chance when it comes to a vote.

If you’re in a state that’s legalized but hasn’t rolled out a program, make the most out of this time. Work with experts who can predict what your needs will be and help you prepare to meet them. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the statute and any known regulations. You’ll then have ample time to become and stay compliant.

Higher Yields Consulting Hot States: Cannabis Legalization Is Moving Forward in These Ballot States

Cannabis legalization has a promising future in ballot states. Whether laws have recently been passed or are being debated on floors of state senates, many states will soon see new and emerging markets.

Are you eagerly awaiting the rollout of your state’s cannabis program? Contact our team of experts so we can help you through the pre-application process and give your business the best chance of winning a license!

Not in a ballot state? Check out the other articles in our Hot States series to see where your state falls.

Hot States – Is Your State Hot or Not?: Marijuana Legalization Is Falling Behind in These Lagging States

Higher Yields Consulting Hot States: Marijuana Legalization Is Falling Behind in These Lagging States

On the long road to marijuana legalization, there are often bumps. For lagging states, these bumps may be substantial. As a result, the passage and implementation of 420-friendly legislation can be impeded.Higher Yields Consulting Hot States: Marijuana Legalization Is Falling Behind in These Lagging States

In a few states, it seems that all hope is lost. Lawmakers introduce bill after bill, with each seemingly destined for failure. Other states, however, show great promise. These hopeful states just need a gentle push to cross the finish line.

Here’s what we expect to see from these lagging states in the future.

Hope Remains for Marijuana Legalization 

There are states in which cannabis is still fully illegal. However, some of these states show promise due to their hemp and CBD markets. 

Wyoming, for example, doesn’t have a medical or recreational market, but the state does allow hemp products. Although Wyoming has yet to pass formal marijuana legalization legislation, the openness afforded to hemp and CBD products is a glimmer of hope.

Similarly, the state of Kansas has no laws in place to facilitate the use of medical cannabis. Fortunately, hope still exists. Lawmakers in the Sunflower State have begun pushing to introduce medical cannabis legislation. The fact that the issue has drawn bipartisan support suggests a 420-friendly 2021.

What Will It Take to Get These States Moving?

Kansas and Wyoming are just two examples of states where marijuana legalization is probable. But what will it take to turn these lagging states into ballot states?

In order to legalize cannabis, it first needs to win in the court of public opinion. Here at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting, we understand this, and we’re taking action to increase public support and awareness.

In many states where cannabis remains outlawed, government officials and the public alike share misconceptions about marijuana legalization. Our efforts focus on correcting those false beliefs. By educating and collaborating with legislators, it’s possible to build communities that will welcome a medical — or even recreational — market.

States Without Hope

Unfortunately, some states show less promise and have simply lost all hope. Idaho, for instance, has recently struck a blow against marijuana legalization by advancing a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit legalization. 

Although Idaho is totally surrounded by medical and recreational states, lawmakers are determined to bar cannabis legalization. If the amendment passes the Idaho House and Senate, it would be up to the voters in November 2022 to make the final decision.

Not all no-hope states have failed to legalize any form of cannabis. In fact, Texas is technically a medical marijuana state. We still classify it as a no-hope state because its low-THC medical cannabis program — the Texas Compassionate Use Act — is really just a glorified CBD program. 

The Lone Star State requires that CBD products contain no more than 0.3% THC. With a medical cannabis card, patients are allowed to use products that contain — get ready for this — a whopping 0.5% THC.

According to the experts, these lagging states have no hope… for now. We’ll keep track of what’s going on in these states, and if something changes, you’ll be the first to know.

Marijuana Legalization Going Forward

Although hope may be lost in some of these lagging states, the same can’t be said for would-be operators that live there. Fortunately, there are plenty of out-of-state options to be explored.

When it comes to operating in another state, one of the biggest obstacles is the residency requirement. Some states don’t have such a requirement, so you can easily set up shop there. For states that do have a residency requirement, you can find a partner living in that state and go into business together.

Higher Yields Consulting Hot States: Marijuana Legalization Is Falling Behind in These Lagging States

In spite of these lagging states, medical or recreational programs have still become popular across the majority of the country. To see where your state falls, stay tuned for the rest of our Hot States series.

Does your cannabusiness need help to develop a winning strategy for future success? Contact us today and work with our national and international cannabis experts!

Cannabis Licensing Applications: When to Work with Consultants v.s. Attorneys

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Licensing Applications: Working With Consultants and Attorneys

When setting out to complete a cannabis licensing application, many first-time cannabis entrepreneurs assume they need to hire an attorney from the get-go. However, what these budding business people really need is the help of a cannabis consultant.

A seasoned consultant knows the licensing application process inside and out and will be able to advise you on which tasks to outsource to an expert, such as an attorney. This comprehensive knowledge makes hiring a consultant both cost-effective and essential for winning a license. 

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Licensing Applications: Working With Consultants and Attorneys

Completing the entire application with an attorney, on the other hand, will likely prove to be a hefty — and avoidable — expense. The steep cost of a “full-service” cannabis attorney is often unjustified as outside services are frequently consulted, resulting in additional fees. 

Confused? Don’t worry. We’re here to help you understand when to work with a consultant and when to hire an attorney so you can get the biggest bang for your buck and submit a winning cannabis licensing application.

The Attorney Dilemma

There seems to be a trend of applicants seeking lawyers for guidance throughout the entire process of acquiring their cannabis license. While there’s a time and a place for hiring an attorney, this usually isn’t it.

Attorneys may charge several hundred dollars an hour for their services. Plus, many attorneys — even those who claim to be “full-service” and well-versed in cannabis — often outsource much of the application work to consultants.

Instead of paying one price for the complete services promised, clients are hit with additional charges to cover the consultant fees. By hiring an attorney to handle the licensing application process, applicants can wind up overpaying for an underperforming service.

When to Hire an Attorney

Ultimately, attorneys are best at offering their specialized knowledge on matters regarding contracts, partnership agreements, corporate structure, and IRS codes, such as section 280E. Working with an attorney for these specific parts of a cannabis licensing application makes sense.

Seek out the support of a consultant to handle the majority of the application legwork. Your consultant will alert you of any sections that need a more specialized eye. Then an attorney — or another expert, such as a CPA — should be hired to fill in the gaps with their expert knowledge.

The Value of Working With a Consultant 

As a former lawyer who worked with cannabis clients, I saw a significant need for consultants in the licensing field. It dawned on me that the cannabis industry would benefit from a knowledgeable consultant who possessed the work ethic of an attorney — so I pivoted to fill this role and joined the Higher Yields team. 

Consultants understand cannabis licensing with a greater depth than attorneys do, which makes them the true authority on the matter. Attorneys, however, fill in the crucial gaps in specialized areas of focus. I was armed with the skills of both.

The value that a consultant offers saves a lot of headaches and provides a hands-on approach for the applicant. A consultant will pass along their comprehensive knowledge of cannabis licensing and forge a strategic path through the application process. 

Striking a Balance

I recommend applicants seek out a full-service consultancy, and this is exactly what my team offers here at Higher Yields. Many of us are lawyers by trade, but offer the full-service suite of knowledge (without the lawyer rates!) of a consulting firm. We have the legal acumen and the business strategy and use both to the client’s benefit.

The significance is that the client ends up relying less on attorneys, putting dollars back into their own pocket. Plus, there are no loose ends when the bulk of the cannabis licensing application is completed in-house. 

There are certain steps in which the client is directed to outsource an attorney, CPA, or an architect. But rather than hand off the assigned tasks, the team at HYC will work alongside these professionals to maintain support throughout the complex proceedings. 

The value of hiring a consultant first and an attorney on an as-needed basis is that a balance is formed, making a once fragmented approach, smooth and cohesive. 

A True Full-Service Approach to Cannabis Licensing

When seeking out the best consultant for your needs, be on the lookout for a package deal that offers the full range of support you’ll require. Find a consultancy that provides in-house guidance on security plans, financials, floor plan designs, compliance, and procurement.

With this kind of full-service package, you’ll sidestep the outsourcing fees that would normally be tacked onto your bill. As an added bonus, this collaborative team-oriented approach will ensure that your cannabis licensing application runs through a fluid system of operations. 

It’s crucial that your consultant understands that working together creates synchronicity that isn’t found with disjointed outsourced teams.

 

Higher Yields Consulting Cannabis Licensing Applications: Working With Consultants and Attorneys

Be sure to emphasize from the start of your business relationship that you only wish to outsource when you absolutely require a specialized expert. Ideally, this means tracking down a consultant who has legal knowledge but doesn’t serve as a legal advocate and charge higher rates. 

The best consultant will know when to advise you to seek out an attorney. Likewise, the consultant well-suited for your needs will offer all the remaining services you need in one place.

Having the right plan of action to complete your cannabis license application can be tricky. The last thing you want is to pay higher rates for an attorney who will ultimately outsource the bulk of the work. To win a license in your state, you need a unified team on your side. 

Our industry leaders are ready to work with you on streamlining your cannabis licensing application. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Corrective Action for Cannabis Businesses: Your Plan B Blueprint

Higher Yields Consulting Corrective Action: Your Plan B Blueprint

Every cannabis business runs into its fair share of unexpected problems that require corrective action. In the early stages, it might be construction and licensing problems. Down the road, it might be METRC compliance and branding issues.

Higher Yields Consulting Corrective Action: Your Plan B Blueprint

Knowing when to take corrective action can be challenging, and waiting too long can lead to escalated complications. It’s crucial that you pursue corrective action in your cannabis business as soon as you suspect that you have a problem. 

So how exactly do you pinpoint and address the issues that require corrective action? Read on for everything you need to know about taking corrective action in your cannabis business.       

Common Issues That Require Corrective Action

To mitigate your cannabis business’s need for corrective action, it helps to arm yourself with the knowledge of the most common issues that arise. When you know what problems to look out for, you can take preventative action to avoid them.

Here are four common issues that often require corrective action.

Licensing

A license application can range from 200-300 pages in length to as many as 1,600 pages or more, depending on the level of competition in your state. Your application will require detailed plans, procedures, and policies. If your answers are too brief or simply don’t cover the requirements, your license will be rejected.

When your license application is approved, remember – your proposed plan is a definite promise. Not a loose agenda. Your state will expect you to follow the precise plans that you submitted. If change your plans, you’ll need to submit a new report to reflect those changes. 

If your plans are not executed as promised, your business will need to take corrective action to get back on track and avoid further consequences.

To say the least, you put yourself at a huge disadvantage when you set out to complete the application on your own. For your greatest chance of success, consider hiring an architect, an accountant, a lawyer, and a consultant like HYC.

Construction & Building Design

Once your license has been approved and you’re ready to move forward with your plan, you will need a licensed architect and an engineer to satisfy state requirements. You will also need a plumber, an electrician, and an HVAC technician

You’ll need to pass inspections along the way to ensure your design and build match your original licensing plan. Any inconsistencies will halt your progress until they are addressed. 

Business owners often neglect to consider the various moving parts of a commercial construction project. Without a specific timeline, for example, an entire project can be pushed back for weeks or months.

Higher Yields Consulting Corrective Action: Your Plan B Blueprint

By taking immediate corrective action for construction and building design, you can rectify a problem in just four to five months. Seeking corrective action later in the process, on the other hand, requires recalibrating, rescheduling, and getting everyone on the same page. This process can take up to an entire year.

Branding 

There is an emotional layer to branding that may compel business owners to gamble a portion of their investments away. But if your branding is not aligned with your customer base, taking corrective action may, unfortunately, mean starting over. 

It’s essential to appeal to the needs of your customer. Even more important than a cool logo is an atmosphere and brand image that fit the market and draws in your intended customer.

If you don’t feel like you’re equipped to move forward with your branding, take a step back and evaluate why you’re not ready. It will save you hundreds of dollars on rebranding in the future. 

METRC

METRC is a tracking process that follows the life of a seed to its final purchase point. New entrepreneurs commonly face dilemmas with METRC because the system is perceived to be straightforward. However, without proper education on how it works, businesses can easily fall out of compliance with local and state regulations. 

When the appropriate methods are not followed, corrective action for METRC compliance can involve becoming compliant, retraining employees, and creating new oversight

When It’s Time for Corrective Action

Perhaps you’re concerned about exposing your data to a third party. Or maybe you fear repercussions that could result in trouble for you. Whatever the reason, putting off addressing your business’s problems will only lead to worse problems in the future that may be more costly to solve. 

HYC is not here to punish your business for not being compliant but rather to support you in becoming compliant so you aren’t fined or shut down. If you’re confused or unsure of your next steps, it’s time to take a step back and look at the big picture. 

What Corrective Action Looks Like 

There’s no single way to take corrective action. Depending on the problem, budget, and available resources, the process will look different for every cannabis business. Regardless of the problem, the process includes evaluating a problem and taking the steps to resolve it.

In Oklahoma, for example, all cannabis dispensaries will soon be required to use the METRC tracking system. As a result, many businesses are scrambling to take corrective action to learn and implement the system. That’s where we come in.

At HYC, our job is to support cannabis businesses in handling these common errors. Our team has the expertise to make sure that your business is following your licensing application and meeting all state and local regulations. 

To prevent painful and expensive errors and take corrective action for your cannabis business, schedule a  consultation today.