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Marijuana Business: Licenses, Permits, and Planning

Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated October 18, 2019

An ever-increasing number of states have passedВ legislation for theВ legalizationВ ofВ marijuana for medical uses and some states have even legalized the herb’s recreational use. State laws determine who may cultivate or sell marijuana and under what conditions they may do so. At the outset, it should be noted that the cultivation and sale of marijuana are still considered federal crimes, and whatever efforts are made to comply with state and local laws will not prevent you from being prosecuted under federal law. Regardless, those starting a marijuana business can avoid most serious problems by closely following state and local rules.

The type of licensing and documentation your cannabis business requires will depend on both the location of your operation and the sort of business you are conducting. For example, someone growing and marketing marijuana to retail businesses may require different licensing and permits than someone operating a dispensary.В ProspectiveВ business ownersВ can expect to create anВ executive summary,В cannabisВ businessВ plan,В marketing plan,В financial plan,В business modelВ andВ real estateВ plan for anyВ cannabis companyВ or cultivation. See FindLaw’s Marijuana and Other Highly Regulated Businesses section to learn more.

The following state’s licensing programs show the range of different approaches to the regulation of marijuana businessesВ and yourВ marijuana industryВ business plan:

The state’s Department of Health is responsible for the Medical Use of Marijuana Program. In order to operate a Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD), an applicant must apply for an RMD Certificate of Registration. The application process requires that an applicant first file an application of intent.

In order to obtain a license in compliance with the state’s Adult Use of Marijuana law passed in 2016, you must apply through the Cannabis Control Commission.

Many states and localities have restricted the number of dispensaries and cultivators or limit their size. Common barriers to starting a marijuana business include high application fees, strict regulations, and stringent financial reporting and management requirements.

Starting a Marijuana Business? Get Legal Help Today

It’s critical to check on current licensing requirements with both your state and local governments before getting your marijuana business off the ground. Because this industry is heavily regulated and can still run afoul of federal laws, you should also consider meeting with an experienced business law attorney who can advise you of the laws in your jurisdiction while guiding your business through the red tape.

A guide to marijuana business requirements, including each state's licensing and permit requirements and procedures. Learn more at FindLaw's section on Marijuana and Other Highly Regulated Businesses. ]]>