Maximizing Your Opportunity for a Cannabis Business License in Illinois
The cannabis business industry is in its early years; meaning that every new law, every new round of applications, every new state that opens its mind a bit farther is uncharted territory. I’m proud to say that Illinois is one of the states that is leading the charge in carving a path for successful, well-thought-out cannabis regulation and legislation.
With the current application window for dispensary businesses open through January 2nd, hopeful cannabis business owners have been scrambling to get their hands on as much information as possible to put together the most powerful application possible.
Recently, the state announced that the next round of applications will be open as of January 7th, 2020 for craft grow, infusion, and transportation licenses.
Now, my team and I at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting are gearing up to host our second Illinois Roadshow to make sure potential applicants have all the tools, tips, tricks, and knowledge they need to submit a power-packed application.
If you’re considering submitting an application, here’s what we learned from our first Illinois Roadshow, the number one thing that makes cannabis businesses fail, and what you can do to give yourself your best chance at winning a license.
Lessons from a Budding Cannabis Community
Earlier this year, from October 23rd through 25th, my colleagues and I at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting hosted our first cannabis business education, panel, and workshop event in Illinois – and I’m grateful to say it was a huge success.
Not only were we able to help aspiring cannabis business owners take pivotal steps toward completing their license applications, but also we were able to meet and connect with incredible men and women who have a true passion for helping others through advancing the cannabis industry.
As we traveled from Chicago to Peoria to Quad Cities, we met business owners, investors, growers, bankers, marketers, and countless others who are passionate about networking with like-minded professionals to set this industry on the right track from its infancy.
Throughout the course of our panels and workshops at each location, aspiring applicants were able to get their questions answered by me and my fellow cannabis business experts at Higher Yields Cannabis.
Social Equity: Pros & Cons
One of the most common topics that came up was the social equity component of the application. Worth a whopping 50 out of 250 points on the application, the social equity section can make or break your odds of winning a license.
Although this section of the application has the potential to truly serve the disadvantaged areas of the state and those who have been negatively impacted by anti-cannabis legislation, there are significant challenges that go along with this initiative.
Unfortunately, most of the people we heard from at our panels were either confused, intimidated, or dismayed by this portion of the application. What we’re finding is that many people who qualify for the social equity portion of the application are being approached by multi-state operators coming into Illinois asking these eligible individuals to partner with them on the application process.
While this is a fantastic opportunity for some who are using these connections as a jumping-off point to launch their dream careers, get the capital they need to apply and launch their own cannabis business, or get their foot in the door in the industry, others feel that these deals are out of integrity with the purpose of the social equity section of the application.
Despite the state’s well-meaning intentions with the social equity portion of the application, some applicants are trying to use social equity individuals merely as tokens to meet the social equity requirements, without providing them with meaningful positions in the company or appropriate compensation.
My suggestion is to keep seeking out applicants who will provide you with a real position on their team or find individuals who will partner with you to prepare your own application and help you fill in any gaps you may have.
It’s our ability to overcome those challenges and those disadvantages to become better ourselves and become stronger. Our company helps individuals find the right people for their team and we work hard to make sure those relationships are legitimate.
The Kiss of Death to a Cannabis Business
The worst thing a potential cannabis business owner can do is see the challenges in front of them and just give up. Yes, the application process is long and daunting and arduous. Yes, there are a ton of sections that need to be filled out to the absolute best of your ability in order for you to win a license. Yes, the process is expensive.
But if you don’t try, you will never succeed. We at Higher Yields Cannabis are here to help you to the best of our ability so you can overcome these challenges. We host our Roadshows to give free information and support to those who can’t afford to hire us as consultants for their applications.
Rather than succumbing to the overwhelm of the process of winning a license and starting a cannabis business in Illinois, the better perspective to take is one of:
- Identifying the challenges before you.
- Breaking each section down into smaller pieces.
- Tackling one section at a time and giving it your absolute best.
- Seeking help and guidance for those areas that you feel you are weakest.
One of the hardest things for me to do is watch smart, ambitious people who belong in this industry throw up their hands and assume there’s no way they can get involved in the cannabis industry for one reason or another.
Rather, as we continue to travel around Illinois and serve the state that gave us our CEO, Cory Waggoner, we are committed to helping people approach these challenges with confidence, clarity, and strength to come out on the other side with the outcome they desire.
Every obstacle is an opportunity. Every day is a chance to get closer to your goals. Every step you take forward has the possibility of bringing your dream into reality.
The January 2020 Illinois Roadshow
The application process in Illinois is an intimidating process. Because of that, many potential cannabis business owners wait to decide if they’re going to apply. However, because the process is lengthy and will almost always take more time than you anticipate, it’s best to start early and take it bit by bit.
The more time you give yourself, the stronger your application can be. And if you need help, we’re here for you.
In January 2020, I’ll be traveling back to Illinois with my team of experts at Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting to host our second Illinois Roadshow. Our panel and workshop topics will be focused on applications for craft grow, infusion, and transportation licenses.
So many aspiring cannabis business owners can’t afford to hire consultants to do the application for them so we want to do all we can to help. Our goal is to empower people, make the cannabis industry more accessible, give back to the Illinois community, and give as much value as possible to help forge the strongest first-generation cannabis businesses we can.
Not sure where to focus your time and questions while you’re at the Roadshow? Get in touch with us to get a pre-application assessment to see exactly what you need to do to take your application to the next level.