The difference between Hemp and marijuana has changed over the years and changes depending on what rules you are seeking to apply. For instance the federal government has passed a new law that allows for HEMP to be cultivated under certain restrictions provided the Delta 9- Tetrahydrocanabidiol levels are below .03. Testing restrictions and methods are still being developed and many labs are ill equipped to follow these standards particularly in CA.
Licenses in CA for commercial cultivation are for the most part still achievable. Given the particularities of your location, a search can be done to ascertain the likelihood of achieving the permission to do what it is you are trying to do. These restrictions are often zoning sensitive and require careful consideration with respect to choosing said location and developing a business plan that can be achieved. Every day we help clients reach for dreams they never saw possible. Having help start some of the largest and first distributors in CA, as well as cultivations, our time is equipped to take yours to the next level. There are resources out there that can help you better understand your local rules, making sure that you are using the most current guidelines both locally and on the state level is critical towards success
As a property Owner in CA there are several challenges faced with when one considers renting or leasing to a cultivator or cannabis operator, irregardless of the licensing aspect. There are protections worked into the new laws that protect property owners whose tenants are operating within the confines of the law. However, both Federally and Locally, these protections can be challenging and are certainly no guarantee.
Other considerations for example is how the property is financed. This is an issue for several reasons. One is that if the property is mortgaged by a bank chances are unless it is a cannabis friendly lender, there are prohibitions within the loan documents that limit the rights you have to leasing to said tenant. Banks routinely appraise their commercial properties, mostly on an annual basis, so even if the loan is given and then the operation begins the loan may be called if violating the loan agreement is discovered. I've had clients who were not even scheduled for appraisals or visits from the bank, but the representative was able to determine the use based on the public record, google earth, or by simply driving by. Once the note is called finding a new lender can prove itself nearly impossible. Understandably, a private lender may have less issues with the cannabis but may seek to charge a premium knowing the restrictions of you going to banks for funding given the intended operation.
Properties that are paid off have their own set of issues, as asset forfeiture may be a choice on the part of the government and not having a lender may tend to make the property more enticing as it may be seen as an easier target for asset seizure.
Talking to a lawyer who understands this industry can serve to mitigate some of these issues in their entirety, and diminish the possibility of property loss.
Another issue a property owner needs to consider is the lease limitations and make sure to lease only the intended area to the tenant. Sometimes counties restrict the number of permits and type of permits allowed on the parcel. So, if a tenant rents to one farmer the maximum allowed to be cultivated as per the county ordinance they can not turn around and lease to another farmer.
Also, counties often link the grow under the license to either a person, or the parcel. This is imperative to consider. If the permit is given to the individual make sure you are protected if that tenant decides to pick up and move to another location, they may opt to take the permit with them, and you need to understand how that could affect your property rights, in that it may prohibit leasing to another applicant in the future.
The cost of starting and operating a commercial cannabis license depends on several factors. The brick and mortar cost of your location needs to be one of the first considerations. Depending on where you decide to operate your local costs and taxes will be determined. Make sure you understand how the local taxes work when they become due, what the penalties for non payment are, and how they are assessed. These are all critical business factors that need to be calculated in your budget and will change with the location.
The size of the operation will vastly change the cost depending on the necessary modifications that need to be made, such as ADA mandated access etc.
The license type greatly influences the process and the cost of the licensing. Even though all license types will need security, the size of the location, and the type of location will change as will the expenses.
The license fees may depend on your gross sales or license type as well. On the more inexpensive side of things an Event license, or a delivery license tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum, where retail outlets, labs, manufacturing facilities and cultivations tend to be more pricey. I have had clients spend anywhere form 50 thousand dollars to bring their license to operation, and over 3 million on the opposite end of the spectrum until licensing is achieved.
There is no specific time frame that is for all locations, every municipality and even the state operate on a case by case basis in order to process license applications. Some of my clients have been able to start immediately under local authorization, until state licensing is achieved. While most counties do not allow for this, the process to achieve a license is typically under a year, and sometimes as little as 2-3 months.
Banking in the Cannabis Industry may be one of a licenses biggest challenge.
If you are facing criminal charges don't feel like you are defeated or alone. The process is likely to be draing on your resources and your energy, but choosing a team you feel confident in I believe is critical to finding a solution you are happy with. Our system is set up to lure first offenders in with a deal that will serve them poorly in the future. Most times they are forced to give up their rights to privacy agree to be searched anytime day or night, and worse of all give up the right to a jury of their peers in taking the deal. Don't get trapped in the probation game if it can be avoided, this means advocating for your rights long before you agree to take a deal. Learn about the courtroom you're being charged in, even attend ahead of time, and observe some of the local lawyers practicing their craft. I strongly encourage interviewing several lawyers before making a decision and realize that the cheapest lawyer may not be the best depending on the resolution you are looking for. Fighting every case like it is a murder trial is a reputation that I cherish. Having been accused by a judge in a DUI case of fighting like it was a death penalty case is an honor, not an insult in my opinion. That does not mean scaring my client into believing that they are facing cverta