Recreational Cannabis Program Development for Small Governments

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Recreational cannabis programs can be excellent sources of tax revenue and job creation for small governments. But if they aren’t designed well, they can also cause massive headaches. Sometimes, small governments simply don’t have the expertise on staff to build a successful program and need to rely on outside assistance.

We at Higher Yields Consulting have been involved in the cannabis industry since 2008. We’ve worked with everything from small communities of Native American tribes to counties and entire nations, and we’ve seen it all — programs that thrive and programs that crash and burn.

Higher Yields Consulting Recreational Cannabis Program Development for Small Governments

Working in every cannabis field — from cultivations to extraction and manufacturing facilities to retail stores — has taught us how harmonizing every stage of a healthy cannabis economy can allow its tax revenue to give back to the community and build police stations, fire stations, and rec centers. It’s also taught us what not to do.

Read on to learn the common mistakes we’ve seen small governments make when developing recreational cannabis programs and how to get expert help setting your program up for success. 

Common Pitfalls of Recreational Cannabis Programs

When building recreational cannabis programs, many governments aim to create jobs and increase tax revenue. Unfortunately, sometimes the way they roll out these programs is counterproductive to that goal.

A common misconception is that the more licenses you issue, the more jobs you create and the more taxes you receive. In most scenarios, that’s not true. Instead, issuing too many licenses at once tends to create bottlenecks in license processing and delays in getting the new cannabusinesses up and running.

This causes a domino effect of problems by:

  • Delaying revenue. When license processing, permitting, and business operations get delayed, so does the tax revenue.
  • Stunting growth. Delays also cause people to become frustrated and leave the program as they find faster avenues to break into the industry elsewhere.
  • Risking sustainability. As people leave the delayed program, they take their experience and knowledge with them, and you lose the ability to build a sustainable, competitive program. 
  • Preventing collaboration. Another result of delays is that you miss out on the opportunity for collaboration between municipalities or state functions.

On the other hand, some governments run into the opposite problem. Instead of being too progressive with handing out recreational cannabis licenses, they’re too conservative. This may not cause the same bottlenecks, but it only creates a few low-level jobs and still won’t result in a sustainable, profitable program. 

When to Bring in Expert Help

Another problem many small governments face is a lack of resources, both monetary and personnel, to support a new recreational cannabis program.

If you don’t have the budget for expert permanent staff, it may be time to augment your existing staff with professional services to support your program’s launch and provide ongoing support for your core administrative team. That way you get the expertise you need without impacting your fixed headcount budget.

This startup period of launching a new recreational cannabis program is critical. Many governments with active programs end up undergoing costly corrective periods to fix issues caused by decisions made years ago, when their programs were first launched.

Higher Yields Consulting Recreational Cannabis Program Development for Small Governments

At Higher Yields Consulting, our goal is to help prevent this from happening. We want to help you go from startup to implementation without needing to make corrections later down the road, so you can see faster revenue and grow a thriving cannabis program. 

Putting Together Your RFP

When it’s time to put together your request for proposals (RFP) from consultants for building your recreational cannabis program, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, know your weaknesses. If you don’t know exactly what you need, you won’t be able to clearly define your scope. Too much ambiguity turns people off, and those who do go to the trouble of submitting a proposal are likely to submit one that isn’t in line with what you actually need.

Second, if you aren’t sure what those needs are, be open to working with consultants with a proven track record who can help you evaluate your weaknesses and then create your RFP for you. 

The Higher Yields 4D Methodology

When working with small governments to develop new recreational cannabis programs or correct existing ones, we use a four-stage process that we call the 4D Methodology:

  • Discovery. The process starts with face-to-face discussions, either virtual or in-person, to determine fundamental problems that need to be fixed and to answer all possible questions — including ones that haven’t been asked yet. 
  • Design. Once we understand the fundamental and outlying problems, we design a unique solution to address those issues. 
  • Development. Using the solution we’ve designed, we develop a project to implement it, curate a team, and orient you on your next steps.
  • Delivery. Finally, we execute the solution and ensure you have the right people tracking the right KPIs, so you can be satisfied by the progress you’re making on a daily basis.

Through this process, we are able to design a solution that suits your municipality’s specific needs and set your recreational cannabis program on the road to faster revenue and greater long-term success. 

Starting Off on the Right Foot

Too many small governments are losing out on opportunities for growth, sustainability, and ultimately revenue because of small but costly mistakes in planning and implementing their recreational cannabis programs.

With the right expert help, however, you can avoid common pitfalls and set your cannabis program up for maximum success right from the start.

Whether you’re part of a large or small government entity, if you need help improving an existing cannabis program or establishing a new one, reach out to us today!


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