5 Tips for a Successful Cannabis Dispensary License Application
Getting started on your cannabis dispensary license application? It can be a complicated process! Just ask Higher Yields’ application writers and consultants. We’ve been awarded licenses in over 13 states, in both the adult use and medical markets, and it hasn’t always been an easy road. But with the right approach, getting approval is within reach.
Here are our top 5 tips for a submitting a successful cannabis license application:
1. Don’t procrastinate! Plan ahead to finish your application on time.
This tip might seem obvious, but many applicants put off working on their application until the time is almost up. The last thing you want is to end up in the 11th hour throwing things together without much intention.
Each application has a big list of requirements, and it’s important to make sure each section is strong and complete. Plan ahead and delegate sections so you can make sure you have time to finish with a competitive application.
2. Put together a strong team with a good business history.
In many states, applications are judged based on merit. This means they are more likely to give out licenses to those with a strong proven track record for success in cannabis, making money and paying the bills on time. Put together a strong team with members who have a history of success in the type of work your company will be engaged in. You should have some experts in your field, a strong financial partner, and consultants with the experience to fill in any gaps. Some states even require a doctor or pharmacist be on the team.
Your application should be built around the strengths of your team, so make sure it is a team worth highlighting.
3. Create detailed operations plans.
It’s important to create detailed operations plans for your application. This is one of the harder parts to put together, because it requires someone experienced in the industry who can really understand the day to day operations of your business. This can be a challenge because many business owners don’t know the details of day-to-day operations that haven’t started yet. These plans need to cover everything involved in your business including things like compliance, community engagement, record keeping, audits, security and more.
This is once place where consultants can be extremely helpful. We have thousands of pages of operating plans already created, which can be cut down and customized to your business.
4. Find the right real estate – but buy on a contingency.
Another crucial aspect of your application is the real estate. You need to find just the right property to house a cannabis business. This property should meet all the zoning requirements of your state, and local jurisdiction, and be suitable for the day-to-day needs of your business. But once you find that property, you also have to convince the owner to let you purchase or rent on a contingency. This is easier said than done, since many owners don’t want to wait around for months to see if your approved, but it is important. That last thing you want is to end up with a unusable property, if your cannabis license application is denied.
Finding the real estate on contingency is one half of the battle, but then you will also need to get the local government to approve. Some jurisdictions have officials that just want to help applicants get going and start bringing in some tax revenue, but others are trying to slow things down and make things difficult. Finding real estate in an area that’s more friendly to cannabis business can make a big difference.
5. Build a local presence.
Wherever you decide to start your business, it’s important to build a local presence. Most states and localities aren’t crazy about people coming in from outside to create cannabis businesses, and making money off their citizens without creating any jobs. So, it’s important to have a local team, or at least have members of your team that are local.
Moving to the area for even a few months before you submit your application can also make a difference. Get involved in the local cannabis community, go to the local political meetings and town hall meetings about cannabis, meet the decision makers and show your investment in the community. Establishing strong relationships with regulators can help later when they are grading applications. Plus, attending these meetings gives you a front row seat to new developments, so you won’t get caught off guard to any changes in the local cannabis policies.
Need some help with your application? Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help. Our knowledgeable consultants and application writers have helped cannabis businesses achieve licensing success in over 13 states. We can help your business navigate the process as well. Contact us to get started creating a cannabis license application that stands out from the crowd.