3 Tips To Ensure You Get Your Cannabis Cultivation License

By Aaron M.
Find out what every licensed cannabis producer wish they knew before applying for a producers license. This article goes over what team members every cannabis cultivation license applicant needs to win a license.

It’s a long road from marijuana producer application to making big money in the cannabis industry. Many sadly just won’t make it. Wish you knew how to make sure cannabis cultivation license application is accepted? We’ve got you covered!

This article is going to give you helpful tips for winning a marijuana cultivation license in the United States or Canada. The cannabis and hemp industry is tough and full of big competitors. Make sure you do these 10 things to get ahead of the game so you can get your weed to market before the competition.

Make Your Cannabis Grower's Application Standout


Everyone wants to get into the cannabis industry now. That means your application needs to stand out. More than just having a passion and talent for growing marijuana, your operation has to have an edge. Otherwise, your application might just get tossed into the pile of other lackluster producers.

What makes a cannabis cultivator’s license application stand out? Beyond having a great outline and business plan, you need a great team, adequate facilities, unbeatable products, and socio-community benefits. 

The committees reviewing your application are going to be thorough. They’re going to vet every aspect of your business. Regulators want to know things like – 

  • Are your equipment costs realistic
  • Do you have sufficient working capital
  • How will you manage your inventory
  • What’s your marketing plan and is it legal
  • Will the business plan be successful, and more importantly, is it believable

Cannabis Producer Licensing Processes Vary By Region

Every state, province, and even city issues a different application with different content requirements and submission periods. For example, there may only be a small window of opportunity to apply for a marijuana cultivator or processor license. 

If you’re not ready with everything in place by the time that frame of opportunity is over, you’ll miss the bus. For example, Maryland gave a 30-day window, while Illinois had only a 3-week window.

Understanding your local cannabis cultivation regulations for commercial growers is vital to getting your license. Some states may require that a cannabis business be completely vertically integrated, while others don’t.


Vertical integration is when a cannabis grower also processes, and retails their products, as opposed to supplying a wholesaler or other licensed cannabis processors and retailers. States that don’t mandate this type of model offer other licenses for processors, retailers, and more.

Working With Pot Growers, Lawyers, & Regulators

Canadian marijuana farmers seeking a cannabis cultivation license apply under the ACMPR. They require you to provide

  • Standard operating procedures
  • Quality assurance processes
  • Security plans and protocols
  • A solid business plan
  • Details of seed to sale record keeping and tracking solutions

In the U.S. it’s not much different for most states. To manage all of these points you’re going to need a great team. This is an absolute must that can make or break any business. 


First, your cultivation team needs to be on top of their game. Having true commercial experience is going to make your application stand heads above others who don’t. Much of the cannabis industry is filled with “scaled-up” home growers. 

While these types are often great cultivators, these models and concepts don’t always transfer to a large horticultural commercial operation. This portion of the team is vital, but don’t overvalue it compared to the rest of your team.

You need folks who know how to get permits and how to get facilities built and ready for compliance. You’ll need an attorney who knows state regulations and can help you interpret them appropriately.

Having your lawyer review your application prior to submission will be extremely valuable. Much of what defines an application, as having potential success is the preparing it to be focused on the law and the regulations written by the legislature and controlling agency. This might be Health Canada, or a Department of Agriculture, etc.…

Vet every person in your team before the application review committee does. A lot of applications are denied due to a felony drug record of someone listed on the application. If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, the last thing you want is to get denied for criminal background.



You want to be able to recruit PhD-level horticulturists or PhD-level chemists to your team. These members having experience will set your application apart from the rest.

You will most likely have to pay for top-level professionals to be on your team. This is what will have the biggest influence on your application’s success or failure. It takes pros to execute a great business plan, and review committees want to see that your team has what it takes.

Many chemists, horticulture specialists, or doctors that you seek might already be employed elsewhere. You can try recruiting a specialists employment on the contingency that an application is rewarded and compensate them for their time and willingness to be a part of the application. 

Here are a few bonus tips that will help make sure your cannabis cultivators license is accepted.

  • Don’t put anyone with a history of growing weed illegally on your application
  • Don’t put a small time grower on your multi-million dollar license application
  • Prepare and start early
  • Budget anywhere from $150,000-$250,000 just for the application process. You’ll also need capital investment and working capital to see you through to profitable operations


Thanks for reading! Good luck with your application. There’re many business and consultants ready to offer you their services in every aspect of applying for your commercial cannabis producer’s license. Research the market, make a plan, build your team, grow great weed!

You can learn more about the cannabis industry, get breaking legalization news, and find out more about the hemp and cannabis industry in our other links below.


1.Joshua S. Bauchner, Esq. & Anthony J. D'Artiglio New Jersey’s Cannabis Industry Is Growing: Where Does It Grow from Here?. Retrieved August 09, 2018 from https://hightimes.com/news/new-jerseys-cannabis-industry-is-growing-where-does-it-grow-from-here/

2.David Hodges Hydropothecary cannabis expansion plans to put it among top producers in Canada. Retrieved August 09, 2018 from https://www.680news.com/2017/12/12/hydropothecary-cannabis-expansion-plans-to-put-it-among-top-producers-in-canada/

3. Cannabis Growers Think Scientists Want to Steal Their Shit. Retrieved August 09, 2018 from https://merryjane.com/culture/cannabis-growers-think-scientists-want-to-steal-their-shit

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About the author: Aaron M.

Aaron is a freelance cannabis writer for Slyng, covering medical marijuana, cultivation and other cannabis culture topics. He's also an independent musician and songwriter releasing his debut album one single at a time.