FAQ

Where do you obtain a cannabis cultivation license?

There is a good amount of information available to you by researching your State’s licensing regulations and process. In Massachusetts the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is the regulatory body. Typically, in Cannabis legal states there is some kind of marijuana control board, but the exact process varies from state to state. The most convenient method is by contacting GreenLight Business Solutions directly, so you can immediately get your questions answered. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.

How much will GreenLight Consulting services cost?

Our prices vary widely depending on each individual’s situation, business goals and needs. The licensing process is very intricate and everyone is at different stages of the process. We carefully assess your situation and identify which GreenLight services are most suited to your needs. Then we identify the most appropriate package we think will help you achieve your licensing goals. We offer 3 month, 6 month and 12 month service management packages closely tailored to meet your needs as well as a la carte services charged on an hourly basis. For an example of our customized packages please look under the Services Tab.

What other permits does my marijuana business need?

Depending on where your business is located and what type of business you engage in, you will be required to gain approval and process permits in addition to a cannabis license. In addition to cultivation and retail licenses to grow and dispense, there are processor licenses for companies like extractors or edibles businesses, research licenses, and transportation licenses. Most locations will also require approvals from the zoning department, fire department, police department, water and sewer department, as well as meeting the requirements of environmental policies. In many instances you will be required to submit to the city detailed policies and plans for approval. Before launching your business there is an extensive education process you must undertake to familiarize yourself with all the requirements of your state and local law and to obtain all necessary licenses and permits before beginning operations. This is where GreenLight services are extremely valuable.

How can I guarantee my cannabis business will be licensed?

Unfortunately, whether you navigate the entire process on your own, or contract with a consulting firm to assist you, there is no guarantee your cannabis business will be licensed. The key to success is in providing all the detailed documentation required by the state and developing a specific plan which convinces the licensing entity that your business is capable of succeeding in the space. Showing a strong team and industry understanding are critical. Also, ensuring that your business plan and financials are realistic, and your funding is adequate enhances your chances for approval. Some states give priority to social justice and diversity applicants, giving priority status to minorities, women and veterans. Identifying the specific priorities of your state’s regulators and tailoring your company and plan to suit them greatly increases your chance of getting a license, however, obtaining a license is never a guarantee.

What are the biggest barriers to getting a license?

Although there may be a variety of barriers to gaining a license the three major barriers are, a lack of financial resources, lack of properly zoned available property and most importantly lack of understanding and applying proper process of licensing. These compose the major reasons why engaging with a well-informed consulting firm is critical.

What does GreenLight Business Solutions actually do?

GreenLight Business Solutions is a multi-dimensional cannabis consulting firm dedicated to assisting cannabis entrepreneurs in every step of the cannabis licensing process. Our team will help you understand the process and provide the tools you need to help your company achieve your goal of licensing. In addition, GreenLight provides assistance in drafting policies, labor recruitment, human resources and operations management to any existing cannabis business whether medical or recreational.

Does GreenLight only help Massachusetts companies?

No, GreenLight can assist companies seeking licensing in other states as well as Massachusetts. It is important to understand that the process and regulations will vary from state to state, even city to city. GreenLight is well versed in multiple states’ regulations and can assist in most states with the licensing process.

What are the Social Equity and EE certificate programs in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has taken pro-active and historic measurers to enhance the number of minorities, women, veterans and disproportionately affected individuals gaining access and entrance into the cannabis industry.

The Social Equity Program (SEP) provides professional training, technical assistance, and mentoring. The Social Equity Program is designed to build a pathway for individuals and businesses that wish to build, enter, and support a robust adult-use cannabis marketplace regardless of their desired level of involvement or area of specialty. The program focuses on those most affected by marijuana prohibition and helps applicants discover how they can contribute to the newly legalized industry. The mission of the program is to encourage full participation by people from communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities by decreasing the disparities in life outcomes for these individuals and improving the quality of life in areas of disproportionate impact.

The Economic Empowerment (EE) Priority Review program is a program which grants priority to applicants who demonstrate three of the following criteria:

1. Majority of ownership belongs to people who have lived in areas of disproportionate impact for 5 of the last 10 years;

2. Majority of ownership has held one or more previous positions where the primary population served were disproportionately impacted, or where primary responsibilities included economic education, resource provision or empowerment to disproportionately impacted individuals or communities;
– At least 51% of current employees/sub-contractors reside in areas of disproportionate impact and will increase to 75% by first day of business;
– At least 51% of employees or sub-contractors have drug-related CORI, but are otherwise legally employable in a cannabis-related enterprise;
– A majority of the ownership is made up of individuals from Black, African American, Hispanic, or Latino descent.

3. Owners can demonstrate significant past experience in or business practices that promote economic empowerment in areas of disproportionate impact.

How much does it cost to open a dispensary?

There are many factors that will determine the cost of a start-up dispensary. Several of the critical factors include location, the total square footage of the space of your dispensary, and your state’s application and licensing process. Opening a cannabis dispensary could be a multimillion-dollar process, while in other circumstances it could cost a few hundred thousand. At any rate opening a cannabis dispensary is a costly investment. Although many believe that securing the investment is an unreachable goal, it is far from an accurate assessment. GreenLight will assist in determining the investment required as well as supporting locating investment capital to fund the operations. If you’re considering opening a dispensary, it is important to line up the right partners, obtain funding and familiarize yourself with your state’s application process. Every state is different. GreenLight’s expert team will optimize your plan based on what the state is looking for in an applicant and support your company through every step of the process.

How do I start a cannabis transport or logistics business?

This area of the cannabis industry is being addressed, but in many cases the process and laws are in flux. To launch a transport or logistics business for the distribution of cannabis and cannabis products, you will likely require a transportation license. In some states, direct-to-consumer cannabis delivery is legal, while in other states it is not yet established. Every legal cannabis company will need transportation for moving harvested product to processing facilities and dispensaries at some point. Therefore, this area of the industry will have to be addressed. Again, every state has its own specific rules and regulations regarding cannabis transport, so do your research and follow all available guidelines.

What’s the difference between Medical and Recreational cannabis?

Although products used by recreational marijuana consumers and medical marijuana patients are derived from the same plant species, they are generally utilized for different purposes (i.e., to get high/alter one’s current state of being vs. symptom alleviation).

Accordingly, recreational and medical users may or may not seek different marijuana products with various characteristics based on the desired effect. Recreational marijuana users may seek products higher in THC, the main psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. And, while medical patients may also choose products with high THC levels they may often seek products high in other potentially therapeutic cannabinoids such as CBD.

What types of financing are available for cannabis businesses?

The complexity of banking and securing finances is a major issue. Traditional loans are rare in the cannabis industry. While conventional loans can be nearly impossible to come by for cannabis businesses, funding sources are available. In addition to angel investors and venture capitalists, cannabis-specific funding companies have launched to fill the gap left by banks. Experienced consulting firms can help. Entrepreneurs should be very careful and only deal with reputable firms since predatory lenders are abundant. GreenLight will assist your company in identifying and securing non-traditional, public and private investment resources until more traditional resources are available.

How can entrepreneurs learn the cannabis laws?

GreenLight can help you sort out any confusion and identify available resources. Also, besides conducting your own research, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, as well as other state resource platforms, provides a multitude of resources and information. Entering the cannabis industry can be confusing and time-consuming especially without proper advice and counsel. Seek out experts in the field to gather current information especially given the ever-changing laws from state to state and the shifting landscape of federal policy.

Where do I obtain a cannabis cultivation license?

To obtain a cannabis cultivation license, you will have to go through the processing and regulatory body in your state. Typically, this is a regulatory cannabis control board, but the exact process varies from state to state. Some states require your operation be vertically integrated, for example, meaning that you cultivate and sell your cannabis products from start to finish. Other states separate cultivation, distribution and dispensary licenses, meaning your company can only do one or are limited to a combination of others.

How can entrepreneurs learn the cannabis laws?

Besides conducting your own research, it is critical to engage an experienced consulting company and attorney when starting a cannabis business. Entering the cannabis industry without these resources prolongs the time of acquiring a license and increases the risks of making mistakes given the ever-changing policies from state to state and the uncertain future of federal policy.

Can you guarantee my cannabis business will be licensed?

The answer to that question is that there is no guarantee your cannabis business will be licensed. A critical element to approval is that you follow your state’s guidelines to the best of your ability. The biggest mistake most often made is not understanding the process to the letter. A strong team and good business plan are a must, backed up by realistic financials and a source of funding that makes your project credible and more likely to be approved. Massachusetts, as well as other states prioritize social justice and diversity, giving a boost to teams led by minorities, women and veterans. Identifying and following the specific priorities of your state’s regulators and tailoring your company and plan to suit them, greatly increases your chance of getting a license.

What is an ancillary cannabis business?

Ancillary Cannabis Businesses are defined as those businesses which support the cannabis industry but do not touch the plant. Some basic examples would include construction, electrical, plumbing, cultivation supplies, lighting, and all other support services that are necessary. These businesses benefit from the industry since they will employ community residents and enhance revenues from the industry. These can be marketing agencies, professional advisors, payment processors, security companies and more. Ancillary businesses tend to provide business to business services to cannabis companies without actual involvement in the industry itself.

These businesses, for the most part avoid the labor and cost barriers or licensing of the actual industry regulatory process and permitting requirements of plant-touching businesses.

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