4 Steps to Get Started in New Cannabis States

Recommended Actions Early on the Path to Cannabis Licensing

“My state is expanding or implementing a cannabis program. What can I do now to properly prepare and position myself to obtain one of the licenses?”

Bob Wagener, our VP of Business Development, hears this question on a daily basis and shares his tips for getting started early.

As soon as a ballot initiative or legislative bill begins to gain momentum, interested parties should reach out for guidance. While each state’s program is different, there are steps you can take, even before a program is defined, to establish a foundation on which your eventual licensing application effort will be built.

Step #1:  Educate Yourself

Learn as much as possible about the potential program. Whether your state is implementing its first limited medical marijuana program or expanding to an adult-use program, you need to become an expert.

Read the pending legislation or ballot initiative. If there is an existing program, learn as much as you can about the existing regulations.

Step #2:  Become an Industry Advocate

Given the history of cannabis in the U.S., it’s not always easy to step forward as an industry advocate, especially in states implementing their first program.

Once you begin talking openly about your intent, you’ll be surprised how many of your friends and family members are supportive and equally surprised at the ferocity of those opposed.

In any case, your advocacy will provide multiple benefits towards your efforts. First, you will be on the front lines helping to build support for the program. Secondly, you will meet like-minded people that may become team members or supporters of your efforts.

Step #3:  Identify your Goals

The cannabis industry can be broken down into three primary business functions: 1-Cultivation, 2-Manufacturing, and 3-Retail Sales.

Many states break down the licensing even further adding licenses for distribution, transportation, and delivery. What licenses you pursue may be dictated by your state’s program. Some states only issue vertical licenses which allow a business to cultivate, manufacture and retail their products. Other states prohibit entities from being vertically integrated.

In any case, each business function is different. You will need to identify your resources and where your passion lies to proceed accordingly.

Step #4:  Start your Business Planning

Like any other business, a vision will only take you so far. At some point, you will need a well-written business plan with detailed financial modeling to make your vision a reality.

The business plan is probably the one concrete item entities can begin assembling early on.

A good business plan can help you recruit business partners, secure local support, secure a location and begin pursuing investors.  And ultimately, the business plan will become the focal point of your application materials.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about getting started.  At Canna Advisors, we’re not just experts, we’re also industry advocates who can help you take the first steps towards building a strong cannabis business.


bob wagener


Related Posts


Boulder, CO


P: 720-708-3154info@thinkcanna.com

Keep In Touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.