3 Key Steps to Securing a Marijuana Manufacturing License

It’s a tough nut to crack, but once you are doing you will be facing far less competition.

In recent years, the California adult-use industry has seen a boom in consumer demand, but surprisingly only a blip in manufacturers.

As of January 2019, there have been roughly 5,000 licensed cannabis-based businesses in California. However, there are only about 400 manufacturers with temporary licenses to service the industry, consistent with the California Department of Health (CDPH). With more businesses diving into the market and therefore the rise in consumer demand, why are there still so few licensed manufacturers?

The issue stems from the rigorous licensing process itself, also because of the unforeseen obstacles manufacturers may face when trying to secure the right authorizations from state and native municipalities.

When looking to line up a producing operation legally, it’s important for operators to think about the licensing process beforehand and proactively decide to meet and exceed compliance and safety standards, also as navigate unforeseen circumstances that will arise during the method.

Want to secure a cannabis manufacturing license the proper way? Here are the steps.

1. Get local approval

Prior to obtaining a license from the state, operators must first seek approval from the local municipalities to conduct business at their current locations. For cannabis-based manufacturers, the method often goes beyond securing approval of land use and zoning permit(s) and business license(s) from cities and counties, the first land-use regulating authorities. To assist make sure the safety of employees and adjacent tenants or properties, often, the operator will work with local fire and police departments additionally to town planning to satisfy compliance and safety standards.

In addition, local municipalities are required to guage whether the project could have negative implications on the encompassing environment. In most instances, a cannabis manufacturer will take over an existing facility or commercial property, which can require only minor updates which will likely not impact the encompassing area. However, for manufacturers that are looking to interrupt ground on a replacement site or creating a replacement facility, it’s going to require the municipality to conduct an environmental review, which can end in a supplemental cost.

2. Secure building permits and certificate of occupancy

After securing approval from the local governments, a manufacturer will likely get to obtain a license to form improvements to the power, including building out lab-grade rooms, installation of operating and safety equipment, and updates to fixtures and furnishings. Once the updates are complete, the building must be inspected and secure a Certificate of Occupancy, so as to be deemed suitable to be used.

3. Fill out all licensing applications

Each state has its own governing agency that oversees the licensing process. In California, commercial cannabis manufacturers must obtain licensing from the CDPH’s Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB). Applications for annual licenses are often submitted online

The application requires information about the business, its owners, financial interest holders, operating premises, and procedures for waste disposal, inventory and internal control, transportation, and security. Additionally, the operator should have several documents available, able to upload, including business formation documents, proof of performance bond, written statements by the landowner, premises diagram, evidence of compliance with California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQUA), among others.

In terms of timing, it depends on the local municipality, but generally, it’s safe to assume that the entire process to get a producing license are often achieved within 12 to 24 months, with the waiting period being longer in newer markets like California (applicants should plan for 18-24 months), and a minimum of 12 months in established markets like Colorado.

Ultimately, when it involves securing a cannabis manufacturing license, knowledge is vital, so it’s important that operators keep a sensible outlook on the method and plan accordingly beforehand.

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