Medical Cannabis Grower - License and cultivation Explained
Growing marijuana plants has now become a big business in the United States.
As public support for legalization increases rapidly, more states are approving laws to legalize recreational marijuana and medical cannabis– despite the crop being illegal under federal law.
Although the cannabis industry is growing at an exceptional rate, the main caveat is the federal government drug laws, which still hold marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug.
Hence, the cannabis industry is heavily regulated, and laws regarding marijuana cultivation are tangled up in a web of frequently contradicting federal, state, and local laws.
But the legal cannabis industry is booming in terms of growth. And more specifically, cannabis cultivation, albeit seemingly a ‘risky venture,’ is highly profitable.
Hence, entrepreneurs are willing to ignore the legal issue, abide by the strict regulations, and cultivate cannabis legally to make their mark in the industry.
This article covers the basics of becoming a licensed cannabis grower, obtaining grower licenses, and the basics of a cannabis cultivation business plan.
Becoming A Licensed Marijuana Grower
Unlike growing industrial hemp, you must obtain a cannabis cultivation license to grow recreational or medical cannabis legally.
Despite many state laws allowing the cultivation and use of cannabis under various circumstances, the crop remains illegal at a federal level.
Because of this disconnect between the state and federal laws, an operation like this requires a cannabis grow license to protect you from federal legal repercussions.
Even though many states have permitted cannabis cultivation for recreational and medical use, others still deem cannabis illegal, and its possession, consumption, and cultivation are prohibited by law.
To complicate matters even further, every state has set its unique marijuana laws to regulate the industry.
In addition, specific states allow cities and towns to set their marijuana laws within their jurisdictions.
Therefore, becoming a legal marijuana grower requires you to be up-to-date with all the state and local laws.
That said, there are two main ways to become a licensed cannabis grower: By starting your own business or joining an established business. Let’s look at the two options in-depth.
Starting Your Own Licensed Cannabis Cultivation Business
Have you successfully obtained your grower license, and are looking forward to setting up your legal marijuana business?
The most important thing to remember is that any type of marijuana business (cultivation, manufacturing, or distribution) is subject to numerous regulatory requirements and legal considerations.
Additionally, you’ll need to learn more about approaching the venture as a business rather than a fun activity.
That’s because, being the fastest growing industry, competition in the legal medicinal and recreational markets is fierce!
Therefore, you must afford creativity and innovation to stay competitive in the cannabis workspace.
Joining An Established Cannabis Cultivation Business
The legal cannabis industry is massive, and it continues to expand daily.
If you’re interested in becoming a legal cannabis grower but can’t start your own cultivation business, there are many ways around it.
And joining an established cannabis business is perhaps the simplest and most inexpensive option. This means gaining direct employment in well-established legal cultivation cannabis businesses.
But for your dream to come true, you must meet the company’s hiring prerequisites. Luckily, there is a huge demand for workers in the cannabis industry.
Perhaps you don’t meet the required skills?
That’s fine because this demand for talent has resulted in the creation of many cannabis-centered colleges where you can enroll in a master’s degree course focused on cannabis growing, distribution, or selling.
Programs like these are a great way to get the credibility required in the cannabis industry.
Although you may not reap big financial rewards as opening your own business, note that this option saves you operation costs and solely being responsible for compliance with the ever-changing cannabis laws and regulations.
Additionally, the vast experience, best practices, and thorough knowledge you’ll gain in the cultivation business makes you a more credible candidate for acquiring a cannabis grow license later on and becoming a business owner if that’s your ultimate goal.
How To Get A Cannabis Growing License
As stated earlier, becoming a legal cannabis grower demands that you understand the frequently changing marijuana laws at the local or state level.
Besides that, you must operate within and around these regulations to remain on the legal side and stand out from other license seekers.
You must also be able to accommodate every requirement of the licensing board to stand higher chances of obtaining a license.
Below we have discussed in detail the most vital things that you must do to obtain a cannabis cultivation permit and become a legal grower:
Drafting A Cannabis Business Plan
A business plan for your cannabis cultivation business is a necessity. Note that you must submit the complete business plan with your application for a license.
Another goal of your business plan is to show potential investors your detailed plan for success.
In that breath, you should consider hiring an attorney to give legal advice and do background checks like expunging all your records to ensure you qualify.
Note that a cannabis cultivation business plan is unlike any other industry business plan.
For instance, you must dive into the details of compliance as well as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).
You will need to invest some decent time to research, plan and develop a business plan that is specific to your unique operations.
Consider laying out your new procedures in a way that instills confidence in both investors and regulatory agencies.
Bud Behaviors 4 Step Business Plan
When creating a step-by-step guide to the core of your marijuana cultivation business, consider these very vital components:
1. Facility map: Provide a detailed overview of your entire growing facility, like the size of the facility, number of rooms, HVAC, and how many plants you plan to grow.
2. Security plan: Describe your surrounding environment like property, neighborhoods, and even parking areas.
3. Packaging and Labeling: For instance, cannabis products must be packaged in an immediate and child-resistant container. In addition, the labeling on all marijuana products must include clearly displayed health information and safety warnings.
4. Compliance requirements: You must describe how your cultivation business will meet and operate within the compliance requirements.
Note that these are just but a few of the vital components of a cannabis cultivation business plan.
You may need to do thorough research when putting together your business plan to show exactly how it will become successful and highly profitable.
A well-written plan will make a huge difference when obtaining a license and funding.
Hiring A Team For Growing Cannabis
Whether you plan on operating a sole proprietorship business or not, you will need an experienced and competent team for your operations to run smoothly.
Ensure that you employ someone with proven experience in the commercial cultivation space to guarantee top-shelf cannabis for recreational or medical purposes.
It doesn’t matter whether their experience is in the flowers or vegetable cultivation sector.
But you’ll want to pick someone with a college degree in the related field.
Because this employee has obtained knowledge and skills throughout the years, they will be your master grower, aka the head grower.
Keep in mind that growing cannabis for personal use is an entirely different business entity from growing cannabis for the commercial market on a large scale.
What Type Of Employee?
This operation involves numerous activities like planting, transplanting and cloning, watering and feeding, controlling pests and diseases, harvesting, drying and curing, and more.
All these activities require some level of skill for the best results. You will need to hire employees such as:
- Harvesters and bud trimmers
- Cultivation technicians and dispensary staff
- Assistant growers and Post-harvest managers
- Quality control specialists and Director of operations
- Pest controllers and warehouse technicians
Obtaining Funding To Grow Cannabis
Cannabis cultivation businesses, whether small, medium-sized, or big, require funding.
You will need to pay your employees and keep operations running smoothly.
Currently, banks and other financial institutions cannot lend money to new growers or any cannabis-related businesses as cannabis is still federally illegal.
Licensed growers are therefore left to seek funding or obtain loans from private investors.
You can consider private lenders or even venture-capital to meet your financial needs.
Remaining Compliant With Cannabis Regulations
You must stay up-to-date with state and local regulations.
Note that the cannabis industry is still relatively new, and having been illegal for decades, laws and regulations are subject to regular changes in an effort to meet and address the emerging variables.
Failure to thoroughly understand all state, local, and city/town laws may have your license application denied. And not complying with the law will have your license revoked if you already obtained it.
Applying For A Cultivation License
The application process of a cannabis cultivation license is a long one that requires proper planning, hard work, investment, and patience.
Consider taking your time to lay out procedures that have not been practiced before. The goal is to make your business proposal superior and unique from those of other applicants.
You must stand out from the crowd and instill confidence in the regulatory agencies to attain a cannabis business permit.
Note that there are different types of business marijuana licenses, so you must decide which one you need.
A medical marijuana grower license permits businesses to cultivate cannabis for medical uses legally.
Legal growers can sell their cannabis to licensed dispensaries or even licensed processors.
A medical marijuana processor license is a form of a license certificate that permits businesses to process marijuana legally and sell it to licensed dispensaries.
Processor licenses also allow businesses to process concentrated forms of marijuana and sell them to patients with a medical license.
You must be 21 years of age to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes.
On the other hand, a medical marijuana dispensary license permits businesses to legally distribute medical marijuana products strictly to patient license holders, legal guardians named on a minor’s medical marijuana card, or caregiver medical license holders.
Finally, a medical marijuana transportation license allows businesses to transport medical marijuana legally.
Recreational cannabis cultivation license types vary depending on the number of plants you plan to grow, how big or small your facility is, and whether you are growing indoors or outdoors?
The variations don’t stop here- license costs also vary dramatically from state to state based on refund policies, renewal applications, licensing fees and application fees.
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