As new states legalize and regulate cannabis, prospective business owners looking to set up shop in these new markets must first navigate the license application process. How can entrepreneurs craft winning licensing applications to set their business plans in motion?
While all eyes are currently on Illinois’ adult-use market, which is set to launch Jan. 1, there are many similarities across all states’ licensing application processes, and core strategies can be carried over and modified based on a specific state’s application, according to Derek Sigman, director of licensing for SIVA, a full-service cannabis business development firm that provides full state license application support, among other services.
Here, Sigman outlines his top tips for securing a cannabis business license in Illinois and beyond.
1. Perform a self-assessment of the team.
The first step of the license application process should be an honest assessment of the team members that make up the group of applicants, Sigman says. This includes identifying everyone’s unique skillset, as well as the team’s overall vision.
“Part of this process is making sure that you guys have a well-rounded team, that you have people who have experience in cannabis, compliance, marketing [and] operations,” Sigman says. “What you’re going to do when you put the application together to stand out is not just demonstrating, ‘Look, we want to open up a retail facility. Here are our SOPs. Here’s our environmental plan.’ You want to be able to tell a story about your group, what you represent and what you want to accomplish within the community.”
While the most important area of a business license application used to be a company’s operating procedures, over the past year or so, that’s been supplanted by the question of who the applicant actually is.
“What’s your professional experience? What have you done for