Taking a Closer Look at Getting Licensed to Sell Marijuana

Now that recreational marijuana use is legal in California for adults age 21 and older, and now that these adults may also possess small amounts of the substance for personal use –  many California businesses are looking for ways they can appeal to this new and growing market.

Just like substances such as alcohol or tobacco, however, marijuana is subject to tight regulations While California’s new recreational marijuana law does create a system for selling recreational cannabis, it’s important to understand the restrictions it places on businesses seeking to expand into this market.

And while the states in which recreational marijuana use has been legalized have yet to face any significant issues from the federal government, it is always important to note that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug in the eyes of federal law enforcement.

With all that in mind, what do you need to consider before getting licensed to sell recreational marijuana in the state of California?

If You’re Not Already in the Business, You May Need to Wait

California’s cannabis laws set a soft deadline of January 2018 for the state to complete final regulations of recreational marijuana businesses and to open the process of applying for a license to sell marijuana products to adults 21 years of age and older. While the law does allow some businesses to continue selling cannabis if they were “in compliance with local zoning ordinances and other state and local requirements” before that date, if you’re still setting up, you’ll need to keep your eye on that January 2018 deadline.

Choose the License Type That’s Right for Your Business

California cannabis law provides for over a dozen different types of licenses for the cultivation, storage, transportation, and sale of marijuana, whether medical or recreational. These include separate licensing requirements and tiers for medical marijuana dispensaries, growers and cultivators, processors, testing laboratories, distributors, and transporters. To ensure you get the right licenses, have a clear plan for your business, including which tasks you’ll take on yourself and which you will outsource to other licensed parties.

Seek Help When You Need It

In many ways, opening a recreational marijuana business in California is similar to opening any other type of business – and in other ways, it’s uncharted territory. Start by creating a detailed business plan that outlines how you want your business to run and what tools and capabilities you’ll need to make that happen. Then, consult with professionals as needed. An experienced accountant can help you ensure your financials are in place, while a lawyer who understands California’s cannabis laws can help you comply with legal requirements and protect your investment.

Cannabis Questions? Speak to a Knowledgeable California Cannabis Law Attorney Today

The legal landscape is changing when it comes to marijuana, both in California and in neighboring states. To understand what your options are and where you stand under these new rules, talk to the experienced attorneys at CKB Vienna LLP today. Call one of our three offices to schedule a consultation, or contact us using this short online form.

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