Part One: Put together the right team
Putting together a winning application is a complicated endeavor that involves a lot of moving parts. It shouldn’t be underestimated, and neither should the importance of putting together a versatile team on which you can rely. This means that one of the first things you should think about when considering an application for a State (or Municipal) Cannabis License is who is on that team. Who are your resources? You need to think about the skillsets that are needed, but also how will these professionals work together. You need to cover many required skillsets yet maintain a cohesive working group, capable of all collaborating on a superior final product.
Lawyer: Often times, this will be the first person you reached out to, and for good reason. A knowledgeable lawyer in the industry is a great place to start the conversation about kicking off a license application. You’ll need them to set up legal entities and help develop the corporate structure needed to apply. However, there is one more key task that they should be made aware of. You want your most trusted lawyer to be the very last eyes on your application before submission. They should know the applicable regulations inside and out and should be reviewing for anything non-compliant. You can draft the best application ever, but if it doesn’t make it through an initial compliance review then the scorers will never even read it.
Consultant: In comparison with the importance of regulatory compliance, it is also paramount to involve an experienced consultant to among other things, demonstrate an expertise in the operations in which you are targeting. Use their experience to display not only that you will operate in a compliant and successful manner, but the exact processes of how you will do so. An application is equivalent to building a business on paper, but by demonstrating precisely how the business will operate, such as procedures and SOPs, shows forethought and planning.
Security: Without seeing an application, I can tell you one thing; it will have a security section. Without fail, this will be a critical section of any application in any state. Get yourself a solid security professional who has both the reputation and the skillset to provide scorers with the confidence that any security risks to your company will be taken care of before they even arise. You also need to make sure this vendor has experience with security services and procedures such as delivery and transportation, as well as camera and equipment layouts, specs, and quotes.
Architect: Most likely, if you are applying for a state license, you will need to demonstrate what your facility will look like. Whether a retrofit of an existing building or a new build, you need an architect onboard to draft floor plans and layouts to be submitted along with the application. You can even use these assets to demonstrate capability in other sections of the application, for example demonstrating that you know the flow of foot traffic through a dispensary or where certain rooms should be located within a cultivation facility.
Marketing, Branding and Graphic Design: While the marketing regulation in most states are more related to compliance than they are the marketing strategy itself, it helps to have a professional in the category onboard. Show the scorers you’ve planned ahead for the success of your business by developing a brand ahead of time. Use their visual and design skills to make the business look “real” and will make your application aesthetically appealing. No one likes looking at a boring black and white application if they don’t have to.
Technical Writer: A technical writer can play a smaller but important role in the application process. You may not need this person until closer to the end, but they are there to make sure the writing itself is airtight. You want this professional to ensure you haven’t miswritten something, used an incorrect term somewhere, or referenced an incorrect regulation. They should also be able to improve the flow of each application section for the reader, which won’t go unnoticed by the scorer.
Project Manager: Did I mention an application has a lot of moving parts? This professional is your quarterback. They are in charge of coordinating everything. They are holding status calls, managing timelines, and keeping everyone accountable. You want your skilled team to be able to better focus on their own specialties and let a project manager handle the rest.
For more information, please contact:
Nucleus One- Cannabis Business Consultants
Phone: +1 207 619 1899