How to Apply for a Cultivation License in Alabama

Winning a License in AL Will Take Deep & Broad Cannabis Expertise

Since the release of the Alabama medical marijuana license applications on October 24 and the clock has started ticking on the December 30 submission deadline, questions of how to prepare a winning application have mounted. 

The short answer on how to apply for a medical marijuana cultivation license in Alabama: Don’t try to tackle it on your own. 

You will want a full team of experienced license application experts to make sure you win every point possible.

Our cannabis consultants have analyzed every detail of the application and have provided an overview and tips that apply to all 6 license types in blogs and other sections of this website. 

Here, we will dig into our top tips on how to apply and when to apply for a cultivation license in Alabama, which is one of the heftiest applications we have seen in a long time.

The Basics of Cultivation Licenses in Alabama

A cultivator license authorizes all of the following activities:

  1. The cultivation of cannabis.
  2. The sale or transfer of cannabis to a processor.
  3. The sale or transfer of medical cannabis to a dispensary, If the cultivator contracts with a processor to process its cannabis into medical cannabis on the cultivator’s behalf.

No more than 12 licenses will be awarded.

The non-refundable application fee for all license types is $2,500 and the annual License Fee is $40,000

The application content requires an extreme breadth and depth of cannabis business expertise, with 16 detailed sections that include multiple subsections each. A complete application will be literally thousands of pages. 

When to Apply for Cultivation Licenses in Alabama

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) started accepting applications on October 24. But, that does not mean you should race to submit your application at the earliest date. For all license types, including cultivation, grading will only start after the application window closes on December 30.

Take advantage of the remaining days and weeks to prepare an application that exceeds requirements. The objective is to win a cultivation license, not submit first. You will be competing against the other 123 applicants who requested cultivation application forms from the AMCC for the 12 cultivation licenses that will be awarded. 

To win a license, you will need to score every point possible. Be sure to hit the submission deadline, but take all off the time you need to do it right the first time. There are no second chances and there are no points for submitting early.

Cultivation License Requirements

To win a cultivation license, applicants must understand and be able to prove that your cultivation business team meets the requirements for ownership residency and experience, plus facility, insurance. Alabama license applications also include a unique requirement:  evidence of business relationships.

Ownership – Residency: 15 Years as an Alabama Resident

Applicants must provide records indicating “that a majority of ownership is attributable to an individual or individuals with proof of Alabama residence for a continuous period of no less than 15 years preceding the application date.

Ownership – Experience: 15 Years of Horticulture or Agronomics

We have covered the horticultural experience requirement in other sections, but it bears repeating. Alabama cultivation license applicants must provide records confirming that a majority ownership is “attributable to an individual or individuals with cumulative business experience in the field of commercial horticulture or agronomic production for a period of at least 15 years.” 

Ownership – Minority

25% of cultivation licenses must be minority owned at 51% or more.

Facility – Location and Property Secured

Applicants must have a facility locked down for the approved use of cultivation.

Insurance – Minimums

Licensees must maintain at least $2 million in liability and casualty insurance coverage. Meeting this  requirement entails finding insurance companies that will cover cannabis cultivation businesses.

Evidence of Business Relationships

Applicant for all licenses types in Alabama must provide copies of all contracts, contingent contracts, or memoranda of understanding with other potential licensees. 

For cultivation applicants, the requirement to make agreements with other potential licensees is  especially important. Examples include documenting relationships with processors, transporters, and testing labs. To gain maximum points, applicants will need to show that their supply chain is lined up already. 

We have helped numerous clients navigate ownership, residency, vendor, and location/facility hurdles in other states by leveraging our relationships, making introductions, and building powerhouse teams that not only meet the requirements, but strengthen the application and business overall.

What Information is Required for the Cultivation Application?

First to know: Do not underestimate the amount of cannabis knowledge, content, and time required to submit a high-scoring application. The operations plan, alone, includes 25 subsections.

To win a cultivation license in Alabama, your application must include details such as number of plants, approved cultivars, and method of cultivation. Along with details for these cultivation basics, careful thought and planning must go into details for completing sections in meticulous detail. 

Sample Cultivation Application Details

Just a few examples of content details  are provided below. If you start to glaze over or feel overwhelmed, no worries.

Just pause and contact our team who know these application requirements inside and out and have helped clients in 36 states win licenses and start cannabis businesses.

Application Content Overview

In total, the application will require completion of 25 exhibits spanning 12 categories:

  1. Resumes / CVs of ownership
  2. Residency of ownership
  3. Commercial Horticulture or Agronomic Production Experience of Owners
  4. Criminal Background Check
  5. Financial Ability
    • Sufficient Capital
    • Financial Statements
    • Tax Plan
  6. Business Management/Approach
    • Business Formation Documents
    • Business Licenses and Local Authority Authorization
    • Business Plan (11 subsections)
    • Evidence of Business Relationship with other [Prospective] Licensees
  7. Operational Plans & Procedures 
    • SOPs and Procedures (14 subsections)
    • Policies and Procedures Manual
    • Machinery and Equipment (contracts, receipts, manuals)
    • Receiving and Shipping Plan
  8. Facility Stability & Infrastructure
    • Facilities (9 subsections)
    • Engineering Plans and Specifications (13 subsections)
  9. Security Plan (14 subsections)
  10. Personnel
    • Personnel Roster
    • Leadership Credentials (including CV, explanation of role, 5-year hiring plan)
    • Employee Handbook
  11. Quality Control & Testing
    • Quality Control & Quality Assurance Plan (3 subsections)
    • Contamination and Recall Plan (9 subsections)
  12. Marketing & Advertising
    • Marketing and Advertising Plan (5 subsections)
    • Website and Social Media (2 subsections)

Sample Subsection Details: Business Plan

Among other details, the business plan details must include these items: structure, goals, 3- and 5-year plans, organization chart, and job descriptions with authority/qualifications/duties,. It must also include executive summary with mission statement, leadership qualifications, business style/philosophy, and key personnel. The plan must  identify the location and functions, include a description of products to be cultivated including pricing, lifespan, benefits to consumers, and any proprietary technology. This section must also address advertising/marketing analysis and strategy, community engagement plan, environmental impact statement, and insurance plan.

Sample Subsection Details: SOPs and Procedures

The 14 subsections of the Standard Operating Procedures must cover IT, storage, QA/QC, contamination and recall, criminal activity, emergency/disaster, employee safety, and  waste plans. The SOP section must also provide specifics for  security, the grow plan, engineering plans and specifications, and  chain of custody/inventory tracking, among others.

Sample Subsection Details: Security Plans

Security plans must clearly address each point of requirements, including perimeter barriers and visibility restrictions, type of structure used for growing, access limits, and premises monitoring. Cultivation applications must address additional protocols such as alarm systems, identification and badging, access logs, and video monitoring specifics.

Sample Subsections Details: Engineering Plans

Engineering plans must provide specifications of the entire cultivation facility for 13 extremely detailed sub-section: including detailed plan, and elevation drawings including very detailed specifications. Engineering plans must also include cross-sections that show construction details, non-production areas, verification of construction materials, biosecurity measures, and ventilation systems.

Application Evaluation and Scoring for License Award

The application scoring is complex and understanding every nuance is critical. Some sections are pass/fail. Some are scored. Some criteria can make an application ineligible. Don’t risk getting your application disqualified or missing out on points that matter. Given the number of form request, winning applications will need to be in the top 10% range.

Our license application consultants and cannabis regulatory experts have worked in 36 states and can guide you through maximizing your cultivation application score.

Administrative Details

Once the application has addressed each and every detail to ensure maximum points, additional attention must be given to administrative details that are equally important. These details include submission via the online portal, payment, and delivery requirements for physical/USB copies. Other watch-outs for the submission phase induce formatting, page limits, labeling, redaction, and using the various required forms appropriately.

Rely on a Winning Team for you Alabama Cannabis Cultivation Application

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point, you should be! You will need a proven, experienced team with expertise in each of the specified areas. Contact our team today to get our help with your Alabama cultivation application. The clock is ticking. 


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