Frequently Asked Questions
At Cannabis Solutions Law, we support the cannabis industry, and our goal is to help each state emerge as an entrepreneurial leader for those who want to start a cannabis-related business. As with any other industry, a successful business venture must be rooted in accordance with the law as well as tried and true business practices. The cultivation, processing, and dispensing of cannabis products, as well as vital business activities, are subject to many federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Having the knowledge of these laws and applying them accordingly can be a monumental task for a business to take on. That is where we come in.
What Other Types of Marijuana Businesses can You Form?
Each state has its own laws and regulations about what types of cannabis businesses can be opened and run. The following types of marijuana businesses are allowed:
- Medical marijuana dispensaries
- Medical marijuana cultivators
- Medical marijuana product manufacturers
- Medical marijuana delivery services
- Medical marijuana testing facilities
If you are interested in pursuing one of these business ventures, your first step should be to consult with an experienced cannabis attorney.
What are the Steps to Opening Dispensary?
Opening a successful and legal marijuana dispensary begins with hiring a knowledgeable cannabis attorney and learning all that you can about this industry and the applicable laws. The next step is to set up a corporate business structure and create a retail business plan, which an attorney can also help you with. You will also need to research potential locations for your business to find out where licensing is legal.
Next, obtain the necessary licensing to operate your cannabis business and ensure that your operational infrastructure follows all laws and regulations. If you are not growing or producing your products yourself, you will need to contract with cultivators and product manufacturers to supply your business.
What types of documents do I need to form a business?
Before you begin the process of applying for a cannabis license, you need to establish a business from which to apply. The state will not consider an application from an individual; instead, the applicant must be a business entity in good standing with the state.
Your business will begin when you choose a legal entity and file the appropriate paperwork with the Secretary of State. After that, you will file with the IRS and obtain a taxpayer identification number.
You would start with articles of incorporation and include other key corporate provisions in the bylaws that state how your company will be governed. If your business is a partnership or limited liability company, you will need an operating agreement. Depending on your line of business, you may also need other licenses to operate.
In addition, you will also need other corporate documents that the Department of Health will want to see when they are considering your cannabis application. Of importance here, your application would ask you to provide:
- Your articles of incorporation
- Corporate bylaws
- Certificate of good standing
An attorney can help you both choose the appropriate business entity and draft and file any necessary documentation. When you are seeking to enter the cannabis field, it is important to get your business formation process right to make the best possible impression on the Department of Health. Doing so will allow you to devote as much time as possible to your cannabis-related business arrangements.
What are the required business licenses for a Cannabis business?
As a precursor to even being able to apply for state approval of your cannabis business, you must have a properly formed business entity. As a result, the first documentation you must file is the documentation establishing your business.
Next, you will need to obtain a tax identification number by registering with the IRS. In addition, the licensing application also asks you to provide your current state business license registration.
Beyond your general business licenses, you would also need specific permission to operate a cannabis business. This involves a very strict registration process where the state will closely scrutinize your application. You can expect the state to review each of the licenses that they request since it wants to be sure that your business complies with laws before they are granted the right to operate in the cannabis industry.
What are some ways to prepare my cannabis business for compliance?
Compliance means making sure that you follow the myriad of laws that apply to your state’s cannabis businesses. Further, the regulatory landscape is fast-changing as the state gains more experience overseeing the businesses.
What this means for you is that knowledge is one of the most important things that you can have. Not only do you need an expert in the current laws, but you also need to be able to anticipate future changes in the law. This means that each business needs an expert who understands the laws and can advise them as to the best means of following them.
Also, compliance also means that you have sound policies and procedures in place that govern your business. The Department of Health is already looking at your policies when they evaluate your initial application. However, they reserve the right to audit and inspect your business to verify that you are complying with the law. You should always be ready for an inspection by documenting how you are following the regulations.
The best way to show compliance is by keeping your paperwork organized and conducting your own internal audits. The Department is interested primarily in your safety procedures, so you should be ready to show how you are following your own procedures. Further, you should always reevaluate your own policies to see if there are any weaknesses or changes that can be made to strengthen them.
How does Cannabis Business licensing differ based on business category?
The major thing that the Department of Health is interested in is the safety of both the product and the operation. As a baseline, the state wants to know who all of the owners are and the people who will be working in the operation.
While there are common documents among all the application classes that the Department is seeking, there are also special requirements for each of the categories.
For example, when the Department is evaluating a manufacturing application, it will pay close attention to measures that your business takes to ensure proper hygiene and testing methods. The Department also will pay attention to the manufacturer’s procurement practice and the security of its inventory.
With regard to laboratory submissions, the focus is partially on the testing processes and equipment that the business will use. The Department wants technical, scientific details of the exact tests and the quality control that the laboratory will use for testing. The emphasis is on ensuring product safety.
For courier businesses, the Department will scrutinize the safety and security of the delivery process, including the vehicles and the delivery routes that are used. The emphasis is on the safety of qualified patients, primary caregivers, and courier staff in light of the product being delivered. In addition, since there is interaction with patients, the Department wants to see how the applicant plans on protecting patient privacy.
What are the different types of cannabis legalization?
Cannabis legalization often works in a series of steps. Broadly speaking, cannabis policy reform occurs in the following stages:
- Prohibition: Criminal penalties apply for the possession or use of cannabis.
- Decriminalization: Low-level criminal penalties are removed for cannabis usage (e.g., personal possession) and criminal penalties may be replaced with civil fines.
- Medical legalization: Full medical legalization with commercial licensing and testing may come straight away or in a series of stages.
- Legalization: State laws are changed to make any cannabis activity a crime no longer. Cannabis must be removed from the Controlled Substances Act and new rules added for the legal commercial cultivation, distribution, testing, and sales of cannabis.
What are the tax responsibilities for a cannabis business owner?
Find Business Success with a Cannabis Attorney
No matter what type of cannabis business you own or want to start, partnering with a cannabis attorney will aid in your success. The last thing you want to do is start your cannabis business only to find out that you are not in compliance with the current laws. Our staff will help ensure that you are in compliance with state and local laws as well as conducting your business in ways that make good business sense.
At Cannabis Law Solutions, your cannabis business success is also our success. We can help you every step of the way. To set up your consultation, contact Cannabis Law Solutions by booking a consultation today.
How will our cannabis services help you?
Cannabis business entity formation
Whether you are looking to form a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, our experienced business lawyers can discuss the pros and cons of both and help you incorporate your business with the optimal structure to achieve your goals.
Cannabis business licenses
If you want to run a cannabis business, you will need a valid business license issued by your state authority as well as local permits. Eligibility criteria are likely to be stringent and we can help you navigate the often-complex license application process.
Cannabis corporate documentation
Whether you need to prepare for a license application, transfer of business ownership, change of corporate structure, transfer business location, or another business process, we can help you identify and draft the documentation you need to operate legally in your state.
Cannabis administrative law
State authorities watch licensed and unlicensed cannabis businesses closely. If you violate regulations, you could face an administrative penalty. Our attorneys can provide representation or help you prepare for an administrative hearing, settlement conference or appeal.
Cannabis disputes and litigation
Whether you have a dispute with another business, a legal issue with one of your partners or a licensing or administrative issue, you may need legal assistance to help resolve it. We are adept at alternative dispute resolution methods as well as civil litigation.