As the use of cannabis continues to become more mainstream, the industry will almost certainly evolve, piquing the interests of new users and turning casual consumers into connoisseurs. Many cannabis consumers are already well-versed in their favorite flower, but for those that want to take their hobby to the next level or turn their passion into a business, getting a marijuana growing license is a great place to start.
Just as starting any new business, getting a grow license takes a lot of time and research. Each state has different requirements an individual must go through before they are permitted to become a commercial grower. To find out more about how to get a growing or dispensary license, read our considerations for new growers:
What Is a Marijuana Growing License?
Currently, in the United States, 46 states have legalized marijuana in some form while it remains illegal at the federal level. A marijuana growing license is a state-issued license that grants citizens permission to grow a certain number of marijuana plants in an approved location.
Due to the disconnect in legality between state and federal law, a marijuana growing license is a great way to keep individuals who grow marijuana protected from federal legal repercussions and ensure the practice of growing cannabis continues to provide benefit to the community in a way that is safe.
Guidelines, regulations, and marijuana growing license costs vary from state to state, but there are general paths that one can follow in order to get permission to grow marijuana and enjoy aspects of this powerful plant beyond just consumption.
Understanding Grower Licenses by State
Cannabis is consumed in many different ways for many purposes. Some use cannabis to relax, while others turn to medical marijuana to treat various conditions. In spite of this, marijuana legality still varies from state to state. Recreational marijuana use, for example, is currently only legal in 11 states, while medical marijuana use is legal in 33. In states like Wyoming and Wisconsin, meanwhile, marijuana use remains fully illegal.
In the states with legalized medicinal and/or recreational use, citizens seeking to grow or distribute marijuana can apply for a cannabis business license. It’s important to note that, like legality, these business licenses all vary by state and determine how you can get a dispensary license or grower license based on local law. In Illinois, for example, citizens can apply for a Craft Grower License, which allows a business to grow, dry, cure, and package cannabis for sale.
Conversely, in Minnesota where recreational use is still illegal, individuals can apply for a Medical Marijuana Business License to produce cannabis for medicinal purposes and sell only to individuals with a legal prescription. In states where all cannabis use remains unlawful, such as Indiana, marijuana growing licenses pertain strictly to the production of CBD products (no psychoactive THC) for medical use.
How Much Does a Growing License Cost?
Understanding the differences in grower licenses at the state level is important when getting started as a grower due to different levels of legality. Unfortunately, variation doesn’t stop here. Marijuana growing license costs also vary greatly by state in terms of refund policies, application fees, licensing fees, and renewals.
Like starting out in any business, an application fee is usually the first phase in incurring marijuana growing license costs. In California, for example, individuals must pay a $5,000 bond to the state to apply for a business license in any category, including Cultivation and Retailer Licenses, as well as Manufacturer and Distributor Licenses.
Getting a sense of your state or city’s marijuana growing license costs will help you prepare for additional fees farther into the process.
Drafting Your Business Plan
Getting a dispensary license is the next step if you hope to rent, lease, or buy retail space to sell your product. This is the step of the process that arguably required the most action, planning, and research; after all, it requires drafting a business plan and assembling a team. Many licenses even require prospective producers and distributors to draft a plan for recycling, facility space planning, safety procedures, a potential cultivation plan, a cannabis odor control plan, even an inventory control plan, in some cases.
While the idea of finding a team and drafting a business plan may feel a little like putting the cart before the horse, planning in advance will help you get a better sense of the type of growing business you can afford and support. That’s not to say, however, that you have to go at it alone.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, consultants, legal experts, and contractors will step forward to provide professional guidance to individuals looking to get started with their own marijuana growing operation. If you’re interested in getting started in this industry, learn about the marijuana laws in your state, and stay in touch with Cannabolish 421 Club Newsletter for regular updates about the cannabis industry.