Benzinga: Navigating Increased Industry Complexities

Higher Yields Consulting Benzinga Cannabis Event Takeaways for Navigating Increased Industry Complexities

As a learning organization, we’re always on the lookout for new industry trends and challenges to help cannabusiness owners excel. To that end, we recently attended a Benzinga cannabis event so we could learn more about upcoming changes and add more value for our clients. 

What we learned at this cannabis event presents a reality check to the entire cannabis industry. There’s a transformation happening in that this already-complicated industry is getting even more complicated, and the psychedelic industry is adding new complexities on top of it all.

Higher Yields Consulting Benzinga Cannabis Event Takeaways for Navigating Increased Industry Complexities

But these challenges are not without their opportunities. With the right partners and an understanding of existing and emerging challenges for this ever-shifting industry, there’s plenty of potential for growth. 

Here are our top three takeaways from the Benzinga cannabis event to help you navigate new developments and potential complications.

Psilocybin: Psychedelics vs. Cannabis

Our first day at the cannabis event had us learning about psilocybin and the emerging psychedelic market. Shark Tank judge Kevin O’Leary spoke about his plans to invest in psychedelics but not cannabis, citing the psychedelic industry’s intent to gain FDA approval for medicinal use right away. 

This, when approved, will drive institutional funds into the psychedelic market. Meanwhile, O’Leary predicts the cannabis industry will become a commodity-based industry in just two years.

These side-by-side discussions of psychedelics versus cannabis were eye-opening to say the least. If you think of the two substances in terms of plants versus mushrooms and consider the stigma surrounding both, they almost seem to be cousins — related, but different. 

However, contrary to what we would have predicted, the two industries appear to be heading down completely separate paths. Instead of partners pushing progress together, the industries are emerging more as competitors and will likely put pressure on each other to raise the bar or be left behind.

Identifying & Securing Capital Partners

The second eye-opener of this cannabis event was a look back at just how far the cannabis industry has come in a relatively short amount of time, particularly when it comes to the availability of investment funds. 

Just a few years ago, with how aggressive the DEA was in shutting down cannabis operations, it was extremely difficult to find investors. Today, however, there are a plethora of capital vehicles through which to take on debt, sell equity, go public, and so on. 

With that said, there’s still room for improvement, especially for startups. While there is some seed capital available, the majority of people seem to want to invest in established businesses that have either cashflow or actual assets that are in operation.

Higher Yields Consulting Benzinga Cannabis Event Takeaways for Navigating Increased Industry Complexities

With so much progress being made — and so much progress still to be made — there’s a distinct need for partners who can help new and existing cannabusiness owners coordinate all the different entities, partners, and complexities involved in navigating the industry. 

There are a lot of partners out there who specialize in one or two aspects, but without a central hub overseeing the entire process, there’s potential for a huge loss of continuity. That’s why Higher Yields Consulting is committed to helping cannabusinesses grow all the way from concept to operational excellence. 

Filling the Real Estate Gap

Finally, our third takeaway from the Benzinga cannabis event is that when it comes to real estate, most tools and technologies out there are lacking in some capacity or another. 

So far, no other mapping tool on the market is as useful, versatile, or robust as the one we’ve developed for locating green zones nationwide. Those that do exist tend to lack in data analytics and leveraging connections, causing significant delays, or be limited to only one state or region. 

Securing the right real estate is a vital step in securing capital. While other partners aren’t as focused on mapping tools as a service, we believe this technology will lead the industry through finding properties and getting more deals done. That’s why we’ve dedicated so much time and so many resources to its development. 

Bringing Cannabis Event News to You

Through this cannabis event and other learning opportunities, we’re grateful for the ability to stay tuned into the cutting edge of the cannabis industry. 

HYC exists because we’re passionate about cannabis and the good this industry can do in the world. We’re committed to using our knowledge to help cannabusiness owners like you stay abreast of industry changes and complexities throughout your cannabis journey.

For help navigating the ever-changing world of cannabis business development, reach out to us!

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Consulting Services


The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Consulting Services

The cannabis industry has come a long way, evolving exponentially in just the last two decades. With cannabis laws and regulations established on a state level, each state will have its own unique marijuana programs. And with the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and hemp-derived products on a federal level, the negative perception that has long lingered around cannabis and marijuana continues to fade.

With the remaining stigma surrounding cannabis decreasing also comes more entrepreneurs who want to participate in what is predicted to become a multi-billion industry. However, because most legal cannabis programs are still in their infancy, there is still much to learn.

Business owners who want to get into the legal cannabis space can’t approach the marijuana industry without in-depth knowledge and insight into cannabis laws, regulations, and compliance. While hemp is legal on a federal level, marijuana legalization varies from state to state, with each state having its own cannabis laws and marijuana programs. Some have both legal recreational and medical marijuana programs, while most only allow medicinal use of marijuana. Some states have only decriminalized marijuana by classifying possession of small amounts as a misdemeanor or punishable by a citation or fine. However, some states have not legalized cannabis on any level.

Navigating the complex cannabis industry can be challenging to do entirely on your own. The best way to enter the marketplace is by consulting marijuana business professionals. In this definitive guide, we will discuss how to get started in the legal cannabis industry, what a cannabis consulting firm can do for you, and how to choose a cannabis consulting company.


How to Get Started in a Legal Cannabis Business

Because cannabis is regulated at a state level in the U.S, you need to know the specific laws and regulations of your state before you embark into the world of cannabis and plan to start your cannabis business. The legal cannabis industry is young and therefore, ever-changing. Policies, rules, and regulations evolve as more cannabis businesses come into play and states learn more about consumer demand and the marketplace.

Whether your plans are to open a dispensary or cultivation facility, you need more than a basic understanding of the industry to become successful. If you do not have the expertise, it would help to partner with a consultant you can trust. Here are some basic first steps to get started in a legal cannabis business:

Decide on the Type of Marijuana Business

When you apply for a cannabis business license, you will need to accomplish the specific license application for the type of cannabis business you intend to operate. The cannabis industry is mostly known for two major types of business – cultivators and dispensaries. However, there are many opportunities in the cannabis business space.

The names of the business types will differ from state to state. For example, one state may refer to what another state will call a cultivator as a marijuana grower. Another state will classify a cannabis dispensary as a retail store. Some states only have business permits for manufacturing, where everything from growing to processing and packaging takes place. And in some places, a dispensary for medical cannabis is referred to as a cannabis pharmacy. Recreational marijuana may also be referred to as “adult use” marijuana in other states. This is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different American cannabis terms, particularly the one used primarily in your state. The following are marijuana businesses to consider:

  • Breeder – Breeders focus on developing high-quality cannabis seeds, creating new strains, and experimenting with cannabis traits.
  • Cultivator – Cultivators are focused on growing cannabis. Depending on the state’s marijuana cultivation policies and regulations, this may mean a requirement to grow marijuana indoors in a climate-controlled, highly secured facility. These types of cannabis business typically require the biggest investment because of the equipment and technology needed to produce the highest quality plant.
  • Dispensary – A marijuana dispensary or retailer is the physical store where you can buy marijuana products. Therefore, consumers are most familiar with dispensaries, as this is where they encounter the product itself. Because dispensaries are where you can purchase medical and recreational marijuana, they are highly regulated and secured.
  • Extractor – Marijuana processors may also be referred to as extractors. Extractors take the raw cannabis plant to extract concentrates, such as cannabinoids or THC. Extraction facilities require the right equipment, technology, and intimate knowledge of the cannabis extraction processes and controls.
  • Manufacturer – Some states will only have licenses for manufacturers and dispensaries. Manufacturing includes growing, processing, packing and labeling, and distributing marijuana products to licensed dispensaries.
  • Ancillary Service Provider – Ancillary businesses provide B2B services to other marijuana businesses. Ancillary cannabis businesses provide relevant services without “touching” the plant; they are typically marketing agencies, security companies, payment processors, and so on.
cannabis consulting guide

Prepare a Business Plan

One of the main requirements of the marijuana business application process is to provide a business plan. The quality of your business plan won’t just impact your chances of winning a business license, but it will also help secure investors.

Once you have determined the type of cannabis business, you need to work on the details, such as real estate, business strategy, team, and financials. Your business plan will detail your business name, location, management team, target market, competition, business model, and funding needs.  It should also include your plans on how to turn a profit, attract customers, and a value proposition.

Beyond showing how you plan to create your company; your business plan should also demonstrate how you intend to sustain it and make it stand out. Application evaluators and investors will want to see creativity and strategy on how you will remain competitive and fill gaps in the cannabis market. Your business plan must also prove how you will accomplish all this while remaining compliant with the state’s laws and regulations.

Register Your Marijuana Business and Obtain License

Choose the business entity that is right for you, keeping in mind that the different business entities come with their own taxes and risk levels. Before choosing a name for your marijuana business, check to see if your state has specific rules and regulations when it comes to business names for cannabis businesses. When registering your cannabis business, remember that you may have other requirements that a regular business would not typically have.

The laws and regulations for starting a cannabis business will depend on the state. Therefore, there will be different registration processes, business license types, and requirements. Some states announce specific windows when applications will be accepted; some states will accept applications year-round.

Learn Your State’s Cannabis Laws

Your best chance at becoming successful in the marijuana marketplace is to have an understanding of your state’s cannabis laws. Engage an experienced attorney or a cannabis consultant who will educate you on applicable laws. From the design and construction of the facility to the business permits, a cannabis business can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. A trusted advisor or cannabis consultant will ensure you follow all the state marijuana laws and regulations to ensure you don’t put your investment at risk.

What a Cannabis Consulting Company Can Do for You

The complexities of all the moving parts of launching a cannabis business can be too challenging and confusing for a business owner who only has basic knowledge of the legal marijuana industry.

Cannabis consulting firms help entrepreneurs launch and establish their marijuana business. They not only help startups but also existing cannabis companies that may want to expand. It’s tempting to save money and go at it on your own. Here are the main services that professional cannabis consultants can provide their clients:

Cannabis Business Tours – From cultivation and extraction to retail, there are various types of cannabis businesses. Each type of marijuana business will have different facility designs, daily operational goals, equipment, and so on. So before you spend a significant amount of time conceptualizing your marijuana business, you need an idea of the unique requirements of your facility. The best way to gain a better understanding of the type of cannabis business you intend to launch or invest in is to visit a facility that is already operational.

Established cannabis consultants typically have an extensive business directory and networks in the legal cannabis industry. By giving you access to a cannabis company that has a good track record, operational management, and business model, you gain insight into what it truly takes to operate your own marijuana business.

Facility Design Build – Mistakes in planning and engineering can be costly and set your timeline back, which not only costs time but also money. Without adequate knowledge in facility design, you may be taken advantage of, and construction could go on for much longer than necessary. For example, an outdoor grow facility or a greenhouse will differ from an indoor cultivation facility. Each facility and state will have its own set of zoning and planning laws, safety and security standards, and municipality regulations.

To ensure you’re investing your funds wisely, a cannabis consulting firm can work as the design-build team that will craft a blueprint of your facility, including everything from HVAC systems to environmental controls. The cannabis consulting firm will have their own team of architects and construction professionals, including a project manager, engineer, electrician, plumber, HVAC technician, and general laborers, that specialize in designing and constructing efficient and compliant cannabis facilities.

The beauty of having the design and construction of your facility under one contract is dealing with one project manager. This decreases miscommunications and bottlenecks, which increases organization and productivity and ensures construction is completed according to the timeline.

Cannabis License – You can’t participate in the legal cannabis industry without a business license. Because marijuana laws and regulations differ from state to state, your state will have its own license application process. The requirements will also depend on the type of cannabis business you are applying for – recreational or medical cannabis license.

The cannabis license application process is rigorous. The cannabis industry is highly regulated, and competition is fierce, as each state will likely have a limited number of licenses to award. Therefore, your application will need to stand out. The whole application process will probably involve completing dozens of sections. Some sections will have a word count limit, which makes it crucial to write in a clear and concise manner. You will also need a well-thought-out business plan, proper documentation authorization, contracts with trusting partners, and standard operating procedures. This includes showing that you have a security infrastructure in place to safeguard your legal marijuana business.

Many states use a scoring methodology to rank permit applications. Therefore, your chances of being awarded a coveted license is determined by the quality of your application. Licensing consulting gives you an edge when it comes to the highly competitive nature of marijuana business applications. By utilizing the services of a professional application writer, you increase your chances of being awarded a license significantly. Expert cannabis application writers have an in-depth understanding of the specific requirements crucial for creating a successful application. Their expert writing can help you demonstrate your ability to fulfill claims.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – One of the most crucial requirements of your cannabis application is showing your ability to adapt to regulation changes, stay organized, and achieve compliance. You can do this by outlining your business’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOP requirements will typically involve employee documentation, including training manuals. SOPs should contain processing procedures, safety and health protocols, security measures, and emergency practices. SOPs should also contain procedures on how you will handle cash, maintain financial records, sales processes, marketing, and customer service.

A cannabis consulting company can help you not only create proper SOPs but ensure you are implementing them properly. Cannabis consulting companies have expert technical writers who can create detailed, step-by-step SOPs for your business that display your facility’s ability to operate in accordance with the state’s specific marijuana laws and regulations. An experienced SOP writer will ensure your processes are described in-depth, while remaining easy to read and understand.

METRC and Cannabis Business Compliance – The Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance (METRC) is an elaborate cannabis compliance system required by some states. The system helps you monitor and verify reported cannabis inventories. It proactively analyzes trends and stays on top of cannabis news to assess risk and identify non-compliant behavior. It is currently a requirement for all cannabis businesses of all types in 14 states to follow a product back to its origins, should it become a public health concern. If the METRC system is a requirement in your state, a cannabis consulting company can provide METRC training, reconciliation services, and perform compliance audits.

Not adhering to your state’s established cannabis laws, standards, and policies can result in the suspension, revocation, or cancellation of your business license.  The cannabis consulting agency will have a team of expert compliance consultants that will help keep you on top of cannabis compliance and regulations, which are ever-changing. By complying with relevant laws, your cannabis business stays competitive and on the radar as a reliable and law-abiding cannabis business.

Accounting – Maintaining financials, accounting, and staying compliant with tax regulations can be intimidating. A marijuana consulting firm can help organize your business’s accounting finances, thanks to their knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding cannabis accounting and cannabis tax trends.

Marijuana Business Marketing and Branding – The right cannabis consulting agency wants you to succeed. To ensure you remain competitive and relevant, they can provide marketing services that increase brand awareness and improve brand development.

Because marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, it’s important to remember that your state may have certain restrictions when it comes to marketing marijuana. Because a cannabis consulting company has extensive knowledge in specific state marijuana marketing laws, they will ensure there is nothing illegal about your branding and marketing campaigns. This includes everything from your web design and your social media content to ad campaigns on other media outlets. The marijuana consulting company can also implement your online marketing strategy, while keeping in mind compliance regulations.

Investing in the Rapidly Expanding Legal Marijuana Market

Entering the cannabis industry doesn’t necessarily mean putting up your own business. A way to get started in legal marijuana businesses is by investing in cannabis stocks, cannabis companies, and more. A good place to start is to invest in one of the hundreds of cannabis companies currently on the stock exchange. A cannabis business consultancy can also offer their expertise on how to invest intelligently so you get your return on investment.


Cannabis consulting companies provide a wide range of services. As the business owner, you are in control, running your business the way you planned. However, the right cannabis consultant is there as a strategic partner to ensure your investment is safeguarded and that you ultimately enjoy a significant ROI. Because comprehensive cannabis business consulting agencies have a team of cannabis advisors ranging from professional application writers and facility design teams to branding experts and cannabis compliance officers, they ensure you stay on track, compliant, competitive, and successful in the cannabis industry.

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule an initial consultation.

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Government Collaborations for a More Cannabis-Friendly Community

cannabis government outreach

The government and the cannabis industry have been bitter rivals for decades. Since the days of Woodstock through to the era of CBD-everything, it seems that we’ve encountered increasing instances of opposition, legal strife, and logistical nightmares caused by the tension between these two over time. Now, like Jim and Dwight, the cannabis-friendly town of Edgewater is proving that long-time rivals can become cooperative friends. Hear from the man himself, Kris Teegardin, and pick up his tips for finding harmony in hardship.

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Cannabis Legalization and Emerging States – New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Mississippi

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Cannabis Legalization and Emerging States – New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Mississippi

Lawmakers and policy advocates have been facing tremendous obstacles related to the COVID-19 epidemic and the resulting government closures. Facing budget shortfalls in connection to these public health measures many states and municipalities are exploring their options for additional revenue sources, including establishing or expanding existing cannabis markets. This report addresses the emerging cannabis markets in Texas, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York.

New York – An Emerging Cannabis Market

New York lawmakers were set to consider expanding access to Adult-use cannabis in the Governor’s budget bill 1617-C early on in 2020 until COVID-19 necessitated the closure of government offices and a stay at home order that effectively ended the legislative session early. However, legalization of cannabis for Adult-use in 2020 is not entirely off the table. As the state is now facing a revenue shortfall it may see lawmakers return for a special session to address budgetary shortfalls and the means to address them. As cannabis business licenses and businesses provide additional revenue for the state it is possible to see the legalization issue pop up in these discussions. 1617-C goes into great detail about the framework and requirements for establishing an Adult-use market in the state and whether it is picked up in an emergency session or in the next legislative session, the bill showcases the priorities for the framework for an adult-use market.

Assuming New York keeps most of the language of the bill that deals with cannabis, New York will be establishing the Cannabis Control Board and Compliance Council.

The following cannabis license types would be available if the legislation passes:

  • Cultivation, Processor, Dispensary, Distribution (designed for existing Medical Cannabis Dispensaries)
  • Cultivator Processor
  • Small Business Adult-use Cooperative Adult-use Distributor
  • Adult-use Retail Dispensary Microbusiness
  • Delivery Nursery
  • Adult-use On-site Consumption

Priorities for Processing Privileged License Applications:

  • Is the applicant a social equity applicant?
  • Will the applicant be able to maintain effective control against illegal diversion of cannabis?
  • Will the applicant be able to comply with applicable state laws and regulations?
  • Will the applicant be ready, willing, and able to properly carry on the activities for which the license is sought (including with help from the social and economic equity and incubator program)?
  • The applicant possesses or has the right to use sufficient land, buildings, and equipment to properly carry on the activity the license is for or has a plan to do so if applying as a social or economic equity applicant
  • The applicant qualifies as a social and economic equity applicant or sets out a plan for benefitting communities and people disproportionately impacted by enforcement of cannabis laws
  • Good moral character
  • Labor peace agreement (25 or more employees)
  • Contribute to communities disproportionately harmed by enforcement of cannabis laws
  • Environmental and energy impact of the facility Follows all other regulations drafted by the Board
  • Is a registered organization with the state of New York?

An examination of the language of the proposed bill clearly outlines the importance New York is placing on social and economic equity in its cannabis market.

Texas – Growing Support to Legalize Cannabis

Texas lawmakers are seeing increasing pressure to consider cannabis legalization from groups like Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. Texas officials, now facing budget shortfalls, are gradually considering options for decriminalization and potential legalization. That is not to say that 2020 holds much promise for significant movement toward legalization beyond greater potential interest. Current CBD retailers still face raids from officials even with CBD being a legal product.

New Jersey – Looking to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis in 2020

New Jersey lawmakers placed SCR 183, a ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution to legalize adult-use cannabis. If passed it requires the state to establish a Cannabis Regulatory Commission and would mandate that the tax on retail sales of cannabis not exceed the state’s standard sales tax of 6.625% with municipalities being afforded the option of imposing a 1-2% sales tax. In a healthy economy, the state could potentially see tax revenue of $95 million per year according to projections from Bridge West CPAs, who also note that if the state were to follow in the footsteps of states that expanded access to adult-use before and imposed an additional 10 % excise tax the tax revenues in a healthy economy could potentially be as high as $143.6 million per year.

Mississippi – 2 Deceptively Similar Medical Marijuana Initiatives On the 2020 Ballot

Policy advocates successfully collected enough signatures to get Initiative 65 onto the ballot which would legalize medical cannabis in Mississippi. State lawmakers voted to include Initiate 65A on the ballot which would also legalize cannabis for medical use for significantly fewer qualifying conditions than Initiative 65 while affording the state greater control over the potential medical cannabis industry market the Initiative would establish. Concerns have been raised that Initiative 65A has been added to the ballot to potentially split the vote and defeat both measures by confusing voters, which it has the potential to do. If Initiative 65 passes it is likely to establish a medical cannabis market similar to its predecessors with an opportunity of social equity applicants.

Conclusion – Emerging Cannabis States and Markets in 2020 and 2021

Though 2020 has been a rough year for cannabis legalization efforts it has none-the-less shown that even states that have previously been reluctant to consider legalization are now entertaining the idea. Mississippi could signal a positive shift in the legalization movement and provide opportunities for established multi-state operators to expand if Initiative 65 is successful. New York, though somewhat of a long shot at this point, does indicate with the language of 1617-C that this progressive state is making a concerted effort toward social and economic equity at a time when the call for it has never been louder.

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Stephanie Till - Green Rush Indexed Data

Stephanie Till - Green Rush Indexed Data

This article was written by Stephanie Till of Green Rush Indexed Data with data compiled and provided by Bridge West CPAs. Stephanie is a Compliance Expert as well as a Historian who is currently archiving the Green Rush of the cannabis industry. The mission of her company is help clients by providing quality research services, custom tailored cannabis compliance consulting, dynamic training materials and exceptional customer service for those in the young cannabis industry.

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New Jersey Cannabis Licenses

New York cannabis license applications

New Jersey Cannabis Licenses

Want to Open A Recreational Cannabis Business in New Jersey?

New Jersey legalized medical marijuana in 2010, and although the state is no longer accepting applications for medical dispensaries, the state is on the cusp of legalizing “possession and personal use of small amounts of marijuana for persons age 21 and over.”

If it passes, Senate Bill 830 will make the Garden State a new front for recreational cannabis use. With estimated first-year revenues ranging from $60-300 million, New Jersey is a prime hub for establishing a new marijuana business, or expanding an existing business that operates in another state.

Although the bill is still being considered, recreational cannabis in New Jersey is inevitable and individuals and organizations that take action now will be best positioned carve out a slice of the new market.

The first step for anyone interested in retail marijuana is to become familiar with the various cannabis business licenses that will be available. According to the proposed legislation, four separate licenses will be offered.

Types of Cannabis Business Licenses that may be Offered in New Jersey

Class 1 Marijuana Cultivation Facility / Marijuana Producer License; Marijuana Product Manufacturing Facility / Marijuana Processor License: This license is for an entity that cultivates marijuana and sells to producers, to product manufacturing facilities, and to other marijuana cultivation facilities, but not to consumers. Similarly, it is also for an entity that purchases marijuana; manufactures, prepares, and packages marijuana items; and sells items to other product manufacturing facilities and to retailers, but not to consumers.

Class 2 Marijuana Wholesaler License: a person or entity who sells marijuana items or marijuana paraphernalia for the purpose of resale either to a licensed wholesaler or to a licensed retailer.

Class 3 Marijuana Retailer License: an entity licensed to purchase marijuana from cultivation facilities and marijuana items from marijuana product manufacturing facilities or wholesalers and to sell marijuana and products to consumers.

Class 4 Marijuana Transportation License: an entity licensed to transport marijuana through and within the State of New Jersey and to maintain a warehouse.

Preparing For New Jersey Cannabis Licensing Possibilities

Although New Jersey is not currently accepting applications for marijuana licensing, there are steps you can take right now to be the most prepared for when the new law goes into affect.

Some of these next steps are to create a corporate structure, develop a business plan, and create an economic development plan, which includes working with local municipalities and determining the right location for your business.

The cannabis industry is complex, always evolving, and sometimes very difficult or time-consuming to navigate. At Higher Yields Consulting, we are experienced marijuana consultants providing innovative business solutions to meet all of your needs.

Whether you’re brand-new to the industry, or looking to expand, working with us will give you a competitive edge and increase your success.

Contact us today to skyrocket your business in the cannabis space of New Jersey. 

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Illinois Cannabis Licensing Workshop

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JOIN US to learn from the EXPERTS October 23-25! 3-Day Roadshow: Chicago - Peoria - Quad Cities

Register NOW for a FREE workshop!

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting is a team of cannabis specific industry experts providing services to startups and operational cannabis businesses both domestically and internationally. Higher Yields wants YOU to understand what it takes to become a part of the FASTEST GROWING INDUSTRY in the United States! With success in 13 competitive application states and having written regulations for multiple countries, we are the “Cannabis Start-up Company”, and we will guide you through the process of becoming the next great player in the Cannabis industry!


Limited licenses and fierce competition! This is YOUR CHANCE to get ahead!


“Illinois holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I grew up, it’s where my family grew up. This is an opportunity to bring something back to my home state. An opportunity for those disadvantaged by this plant, to take part in its revolution.”
– Cory Waggoner, CEO, Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting



•Breaking down the regulatory environment
•How to identify the ideal real estate
•How to obtain local approval
•How much it costs to open a cannabis business
•What it takes to complete a stand out Illinois
cannabis application
•How to get discounted pricing for application


•Legal experts specializing in cannabis
•Cannabis-focused real estate experts
•Industry lobbyists and consultants
•Insurance representatives and CPA’s
•One-of-a-kind networking experience!



Saper Law Firm
505 N LaSalle, Ste 350


Peoria Civic Center
201 SW Jefferson Ave., Rm #135


Hyatt House
111 Bend Blvd

Discounted CANNABIS LICENSING Pricing for
Qualifying Social Equity Applicants

An individual who owns 51% or more of the company is an Illinois resident AND meets one of the following criteria:
1. That individual has lived in a disproportionately impacted areas for 5 of the preceding 10 years; or
2. That individual has a parent, legal guardian, spouse, dependent, or was a dependent of an individual who priori to June 25, 2019, was arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense made eligible for expungement by Public Act 101-0027; or
3. Evidence that the applicant employs 10 or more full-time employees, and 51% or more of those employees would qualify as social equity applicants under one of the above criteria, and that they are engaged in full time work at the time of submission of the application.

How to Write a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

Writing your cannabis business plan is a vital step in the licensing process — regardless of what kind of cannabusiness you plan to open. When done right, your business plan will set you up for your best shot at success. 

Since your cannabis business plan will include a lot of information that’s needed on the license application, complete your business plan before you start the application process. You’ll also want to have it done before you ask for any investment money, so be sure to include the information your investors will want to see. 

Higher Yields Consulting How to Write a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

At HYC, we typically have an eight-week timeline for writing cannabis business plans. If you choose to write your own, though, plan on it taking a good three to six months, and have a consultant review it to make sure you have everything you need. 

Read on to learn more about how to craft a solid cannabis business plan that will make you stand out from the crowd. 

Key Sections of a Cannabis Business Plan

While each cannabis business plan is as unique as the business it represents, there are several main sections every business plan must include. 

First, the executive summary and bio plays several important roles, such as:

  • Laying the groundwork for what your business will look like, what your goals are, and what your business’s vision is. 
  • Illustrating your qualifications, character, experience, and strengths. 
  • Letting investors know why you’ve chosen to open this business and why you feel qualified to do so. 

After the executive summary and bios, you’ll need to include market research for the specific state in which you’re applying for a license. Market research shows you know what opportunities are available in that state. 

Next, create a SWOT analysis to illustrate your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as a potential cannabusiness, as well as a business roadmap. Depending on the license you’re going for, your roadmap can vary but should include the real estate, your application, compliance, and design and build. 

That leads into the business development section, where you describe your next steps. After opening your initial cannabusiness, what is your end goal? Is it to sell, become a chain, or be a multistate operator? This section shows your potential as well as your goals. 

Finally, you’ll need to include a financial model summary and an assumption section. 

What Not to Do

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your cannabis business plan is being too vague. If you say you’re coming into the industry to solve a problem, you need to describe what that problem is in detail, along with how you’re going to solve it. 

Many people make the mistake of leaving out information such as the operating plan or bios. Without these, you don’t really get insight into who they are and what their goals and vision are for the company.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Write a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

Err on the side of too much information, but make sure it’s clear and concise. Above all, give the application reviewer a thorough understanding of who you are and where your business has potential to go. 

Stand Out From the Crowd: Cater to Your State

To write a cannabis business plan that stands out from the competition, start by looking at the state and its priorities. Then, tailor your business plan to show exactly how you will meet the criteria the state is looking for.

For example, if your state places a lot of focus on environmental impact, show what you’re doing to operate in environmentally friendly ways. If it’s concerned about compliance — how everything is regulated and tracked. — illustrate how you will set up SOPs and training to ensure your facility is 100% compliant. 

Or, if the state’s main focus is on social equity and inclusiveness, show them how you plan to hire and train and give back to the community. That said, if you are going to be a multistate operator, you’ll be taking on a bigger responsibility to be more inclusive of each state’s goals. 

In that case, you’ll need a cannabis business plan that shows how all of your businesses will be operated similarly throughout the different states — so you have a cohesive brand — but that you’ll also hit the main focus and concerns of each state in which you plan to operate. 

Get Expert Help for a Winning Cannabis Business Plan

Writing a cannabis business plan is a much larger undertaking than anyone foresees. If you’re a multistate operator or just getting started owning your first cannabusiness,, you will likely have blind spots, and missing something a particular state prioritizes will severely hurt your chances of getting a license. 

Working with a consultant and an expert team to write and review your cannabis business plan will ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation and start setting your plan in motion.

How to Expedite the Cannabis Property Selection Process

Real estate often causes cannabusiness owners to spin their wheels. With short application windows and the need to have contingency plans in place, it’s easy to prolong your search for the right cannabis property.

But finding the right location for your cannabusiness doesn’t have to take forever. If you do it right, you can speed up the process and get to building your business faster. That said, a cannabis property must meet very specific zoning requirements and should thus be approached differently than other kinds of real estate.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Expedite the Cannabis Property Selection Process

To that end, we’ve developed an expedited process to help you find a cannabis property without getting blindsided by common real estate roadblocks. 

Here’s our step-by-step process for finding your cannabis property more efficiently.

Start With the Green Zones

The first thing you need to know is how to choose the areas in which to look for your cannabis property. Many people do this by choosing a city, downloading a list of 1,000 or so properties in that city, and narrowing the list down to 100 properties from there. 

But once they start going through those specific properties, they find that none of them actually qualify as cannabis properties because they aren’t zoned properly. 

We created our green zone assessments for this very reason — because no one wants to settle on a location only to find out their cannabusiness isn’t legally allowed to operate there. Instead, our process starts with establishing where the facility you plan to operate is allowed to be, and then choosing from those locations.  

Research the Requirements

Once you know where your cannabis property can legally exist, do your research to find out what requirements it will need to meet, with special attention to regional and municipal setbacks

Usually, a city will determine setbacks based on how far the property is from a dispensary or how many dispensaries and cannabis facilities can be in a certain ZIP code or territory. But they’ll also dictate how far a facility must be from churches, day care centers, schools, and rehab facilities. 

These kinds of facilities are constantly shutting down and opening up, but the city might only update their green zone map once per quarter — meaning the map can become inaccurate within a week. 

At HYC, we use a number of systems and databases to create our own up-to-date green zone maps with all relevant setbacks factored in. From there, we search for addresses within those areas, giving us a narrowed list of addresses we then verify with the city to determine if they truly qualify to be used as cannabis properties.

Get Boots on the Ground

Once we have our narrowed list of potential properties, the next step is to get out there and physically scope out the area. Sometimes you’ll even find a cannabis property that isn’t in the system because it isn’t for sale or lease just yet.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Expedite the Cannabis Property Selection Process

Don’t be afraid to knock on the doors of qualified properties and ask about the company’s lease and when it expires. But be very targeted in which doors you knock on, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time. 

Above all, you need to have a process. A lot of brokers make the mistake of thinking any property will work and end up whittling down the list of possibilities into locations that in fact won’t. 

Protect Yourself From Real Estate Pitfalls

Even once you’ve found the property, you still need to be strategic as you negotiate with the landlord. Some landlords may try to charge more or create a bidding war once they find out you intend to use the space as a cannabis property. 

Protect yourself when negotiating for a cannabis property with a contingency agreement, which keeps you from being bound to the property if your license application is denied. Contingency agreements can be difficult to negotiate because of the risk they pose to landlords, so you may have to explore creative solutions.

In some cases, you can put the landlord’s mind at ease by putting down a deposit or agreeing to a smaller monthly lease until your application is officially approved. You might even have to give up equity in your business to be able to lock down the property. 

If you’re lucky, you might work with a developer who’s early in their career, has a bunch of properties, and is willing to roll the dice on your cannabis property while they get the others up and going. 

Finding a Cannabis Property Doesn’t Have to Take Forever

Choosing your cannabis property can be one of the most difficult parts of opening up a cannabusiness, especially if you approach it like you would any other type of real estate. But with the right process and tools, you can minimize risks and choose your property efficiently. 

To get expert guidance and a tried-and-tested process, contact HYC for a green zone assessment and to find the most lucrative cannabis property for your business.

How Cannabis Genetics Impact Your Business Strategy

Genetics impact everything about your cannabusiness, from whether you focus more on quality over quantity to your revenue and how you position yourself in the market. A successful cannabis business strategy begins with the end in mind and a commitment to quality in the genetics of your plants.Higher Yields Consulting How Cannabis Genetics Impact Your Business Strategy

If, for example, your end product is flower, the approach you take to genetics should be different than it would be if your end products were extracts and concentrates. 

Read on to learn more about the importance of cannabis genetics and how to create a long-term business strategy that places genetics at the forefront of your planning. 

Cannabis Genetics: A Crash Course 

When we breed plants, we cross male and female plants to get seeds. That’s what we call our F1 generation. But half those seeds will be males that we have to throw out. The other half will be females, but some will take on majority male characteristics, some will take on majority female characteristics, and some will be roughly 50/50. 

As we go through that F1 generation, we ask ourselves what characteristics we want to get from each type — like strong and girthy from the male side, and good-smelling produce with a high THC from the female side, for example. 

Once we weed out the F1 plants with characteristics we don’t want, we’ll take the females from the narrowed-down group and cross them again with the males to get our F2 generation. Of the F2 generation, the males will be thrown out again, but the females will be much more consistent in the characteristics we’re looking for. 

If we were to stop at the F1 generation, the plants likely wouldn’t produce the way we wanted them to or have enough potency. That’s why it’s important to put in the time to develop the characteristics we want through multiple grows. 

Quality Assurance: Start at the End

Your end goal and your plants’ genetics go hand in hand. For example, imagine you have two plants. One tests at 30% THC and gets you two pounds of light. The other  plant tests at 20% THC, but gets you three pounds of light. 

If your goal is extraction, the first plant will be more efficient. But if your business strategy is to sell raw flower, the second plant will produce more biomass and therefore be the better choice. When you know what you’re growing for, you know what characteristics you need your plants to have.

Many cannabusinesses have quality assurance (QA) programs for the back end of their product. Once the product is finalized and trimmed, it passes through QA before being brought to the shelves. But many businesses neglect the QA process for their plants’ genetics — and they shouldn’t. 

Know the Data of Your Plants

QA will give you a more accurate idea of not only what crops you can expect to yield but also the timeline they will need. Indoor growing follows an assembly line, so it’s critical to know how many times you can turn over the space and build that into your business strategy. 

If some plants take 14 weeks to finish flowering and others take eight weeks, you’ll end up having a gap in your assembly line. And any time plants aren’t under the flowering lights, your cannabusiness is losing money.

Higher Yields Consulting How Cannabis Genetics Impact Your Business Strategy

When you understand the data of your plant, you have a better idea of what to expect from it and when you’ll need to fill gaps in the assembly line. Then you can more accurately determine if a given plant qualifies to be brought into your facility in the first place.

For example, if you have 10 feet between the table and the light, you need to know that your plants will only grow to be eight feet tall and not 10. In this way, your plants’ genetics impact everything in your facility, from lighting and space to THC and beyond. 

Fit the Plants to the System

Another mistake we see people make is trying to tweak their system to grow a certain strain in their facility. This is dangerous because when you give certain plants special treatment, you open the door for missed or double doses, pests, and all kinds of other issues. 

Instead of adjusting your system to cater to specific strains, only bring in strains that suit your system. It could be a great plant objectively, but if it doesn’t fit your system, it’s going to take up precious time and resources. 

Genetics & Brand Messaging 

The impact genetics have on your brand and messaging really goes back to the question of quality versus quantity. Do you want to be the Budweiser or the Delirium of cannabis? 

If your business strategy is for your product to be accessible and common, then you’re prioritizing quantity — although, of course, quality always matters. If you’re a high-end brand, on the other hand, quality should be your chief concern. You can demand a higher price for a special, stand-out product.

Also consider what you want your brand to be known for: novelty or dependability. Do you want to be known for your staple products or for bringing new strains to the market? Both strategies work, but they have to be well thought-out. 

You need a solid business strategy from the beginning, detailing how you’ll get to your end goal — be it quality or quantity — and how you’ll make your product resonate with the people you’re trying to bring it to.

The cannabis market is maturing. People do want potency, but they also care about cannabinoids and terpenes. When you factor genetics into your business strategy and can explain to your audience how you are controlling the quality of your plants and the traits you are breeding for, you will stand out from the crowd. 

Start Building a Successful Business Strategy Today

A strong cannabis business strategy starts at the beginning with a solid understanding of how genetics impact your entire business. You need to have a plan in place for every part of the process, all leading to and supporting your end goal. 

At HYC, we understand how cannabis genetics impact your planning and long-term success. Contact us today to learn more and start implementing better quality assurance in your business.

How to Win Grants for Cannabusiness Funding

As a cannabusiness — whether you’re a cultivator, an extractor, or a manufacturer — you have the opportunity to solve problems. Procuring your cannabusiness funding through grants will give you greater opportunity to solve those problems, but you’ll have to approach the application creatively. 

At HYC, we’ve developed a procurement process to help clients apply for these grants. We always start the process by establishing the client’s “why” as defined in Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Win Grants for Cannabusiness Funding

If you’re considering applying for cannabusiness funding from grants, start with why you created your business in the first place. Then ask yourself how you can use grants to further that purpose and solve problems in your community or the world at large. 

Read on to learn more about how to apply for and use grants for your cannabusiness funding and the greater good of your community.

Let Your “Why” Guide You

Winning grants for cannabusiness funding is less about the stage of business you’re in and more about your “why.” One of our clients, for example, is still in the conceptual stage of their business, but they have a strong purpose centering their business around education and alternative medicines. 

Figuring out your “why” gives you the opportunity to explore avenues you may not have thought of yet, and also to flex your creativity. 

For instance, consider a company that wants to empower affordable housing and building practices. If they make tiny homes out of shipping containers for homeless people, they would be able to qualify for grants on both the state and federal levels for assisting with homelessness. 

Think about what you have at your disposal and what resources are already out there, and pay close attention to social and economic issues. Then determine what you can do to help solve those issues. 

Creative Partnerships Open Future Possibilities

As you look at social issues around you, listen to different perspectives so you can form a well-rounded opinion. That way, you’ll be able to see the different avenues to try and accomplish your goals.

For example, water will likely become a rare commodity in the future. How do we head that off and make the cannabis cultivation process — which is usually very energy and water intensive — more efficient? 

Get creative in answering these types of questions and identifying people and companies to partner with. Solar panel and battery companies are examples of groups that may not have direct avenues into cannabis but are able to effect change from outside the industry in different ways than you could on your own.

Higher Yields Consulting How to Win Grants for Cannabusiness Funding

And you never know: Down the line, these companies may have the means to take 80% of a cannabis cultivation facility off grid. With increased participation in the market, opportunities for innovation — and cannabusiness funding — also increase. 

How to Apply for Cannabusiness Funding Grants

If you’re looking to gain cannabusiness funding through grants, understand that the process could take 6 to 12 months. Remembering your “why” in times of difficulty and second-guessing will keep you going when you feel discouraged.

While the process varies some and requires a great deal of imagination, there are four basic steps to follow:

  • Understand your “why” and your forward-facing social aspect that allows you to give back to the community.
  • Get clear on the problem you’re hoping to solve and how you plan to solve it.
  • Apply with a greater mission in mind — grants aren’t going to make you rich, but they will enable you to do some good in your community.
  • Get help if you need it, because grants are competitive. 

Keep in mind that what you put out there has to be reflected on the inside, too. If the grants you’re applying for don’t match up with your “why,” then you need to try something else. 

Think Outside the Box

The cannabis industry is not a single pie that everybody is trying to get a slice of; it’s a bakery. The pies are going to keep coming because cannabis is not a limited-time deal. Because the industry is still in its infancy, possibilities for cannabusiness funding are endless — especially with the right amount of creativity.

We had an office space neighbor, for example, who received a substantial grant for small business development. They were brokers working with shipping containers, but they got that grant because their containers could be associated with affordable housing and help solve the homelessness issue. 

Winning grants isn’t about who you are — whether that be a shipping container broker or a cannabusiness. It’s about what you do with your position in the world. 

These days, transparency is everything. If you’re going after grants for your cannabusiness funding, make sure your “why” is at the heart of your business and that it shows in everything you do. 

For help designing a successful business plan that expresses your “why,” contact HYC today.