How to Start a Legal Cannabis Cultivation Facility

So your state recently passed legislation for legalizing cannabis or is about to open the application process? (Here's looking at you Maryland, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.) Whether medicinal marijuana or recreational cannabis, if you are thinking about applying for a license, there are a few important things to keep in mind, especially if you plan on cultivating.

October 29, 2015

So your state recently passed legislation for legalizing cannabis or is about to open the application process? (Here’s looking at you Maryland, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.) Whether medicinal marijuana or recreational cannabis, if you are thinking about applying for a license, there are a few important things to keep in mind, especially if you plan on cultivating.

The legislation process is going to be long
It may be a year or more before your state is ready to start accepting applications, or even has guidelines for what to include on the application. Be patient and keep up to-date on the process.

Look into reliable consultants to help with the application process
Consultants are experts at wading through the application process and helping their clients submit the best possible application available, Do your research before hiring one though as, with any service, there are reputable consultants and not-so reputable consultants.

Know the rules
The quickest way to get an application denied or lose a license is to break the rules. Talk with local lawyers and become familiar with all the rules regarding how and where to run a cultivation operation.

You will need a license
The application process can be long and arduous, but it is critical to being able to legally grow cannabis at the state level. Without a license, it is not a legal cultivation center. (Some exceptions include home grows and caregivers, the latter of which is being phased out in many places.)

Consider all the factors when choosing your location
Most states require an address to be listed on the application. Once listed and approved, it can be difficult to relocate the business. Before deciding on the location of your cultivation operation consider things such as labor costs, neighborhood zoning, real estate value, cost of living, neighborhood security, desired facility size and location. All of these can have huge impacts on the day-to-day operations and costs associated with the facility.

Gather all the information
Look into what other states have required their applicants to submit and start gathering as much information as you can early on. This will allow you to ensure all pieces are accounted for and nothing is missing. Do not put off the application until the last minute as most applications are very involved, some applicants have even reported completed applications that run more than 60,000 pages.

Be realistic about cost
Gone are the days when a cultivation center could be started for a minimal cost. If you want to be successful, it is important to think about creating an efficient operation from the beginning. This costs more upfront, but will save money in the long run.

Know what you can do and what needs to be contracted out
Some things can easily be completed through a do-it-yourself project. But others, especially electricity, should be entrusted to the experts. Know the difference and plan to hire help when necessary.

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