State Licensing

Brief Overview of the Process

With the emergence of various marijuana and cannabis based use laws is a very complex, elaborate, and detailed regulatory scheme for every state that includes various application requirements, the involvement of multiple agencies and government offices, significant due diligence in terms of documentation and compliance requirements, financial and capitalization requirements, and in some cases, extensive coordination with federal marijuana use compliance and regulatory requirements.

Typically, such a business or party seeking a state license or registration for a marijuana or cannabis must initially submit an application with the governing state agency assigned the authority to review and otherwise approve or grant such applications. In many states, such as Colorado, such governing state agency is referred to as the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). Although the approval requirements differ from state to state, the general criteria that such government agencies will consider regarding approvals or denials of such applications include:

  • Applicants age (typically must be over 21)
  • Years of residence
  • Any public or child support obligations
  • Any controlled substances criminal charges, convictions or history
  • Any criminal history that may be relevant to an applicant’s moral character
  • Financial relationships
  • The type of marijuana or cannabis based business seeking whether medical marijuana center, medical marijuana manufacture, marijuana cultivator
  • Other personal background information, employment history, etc.

Upon review, the governing state agency will either approve or deny such application, and typically in the agency’s discretion, may impose additional criteria or conditions to approval, or in the case of a denial, set forth the specific deficiencies or the reasons for such denial. In many cases, there may be an actual hearing, where the applicant must demonstrate that such approval criteria has been met, and that he or she possesses the necessary qualifications, application documentation, and in many cases, the moral character for approval of such marijuana or cannabis business application. The state agency as part of the approval process may require the payment of certain fees or other approval costs, that must be paid in full in advance of such licensing or registration. Additionally, the state agency may conduct its own investigation, including ensuring that such applicant has met all of the necessary criteria including the financial and other capitalization requirements.

To the extent that there is a denial and again, depending on the specific state process involved, there will often be an opportunity for the applicant to appeal, or revise and resubmit such application. Depending on the complexity of such approval issue, and whether or not the process allows for Court review, in some states and under certain circumstances, an applicant upon denial may seek recourse of further application review through the civil court systems.

With any legal issue, in particular with respect to the emerging use of marijuana and cannabis, the various regulations for production, manufacturing, use and distribution are increasingly becoming very state specific (including in California) and therefore, require very state specific and localized knowledge of such laws, statutes, and regulations, including understanding how such relates to the overall larger federal scheme.

Contact a Riverside Cannabis Attorney

The Nassiri Law Group, Cannabis Law Group, in Orange County, Los Angeles, and Riverside California, are available to assist with the licensing, registration, and approval process to assist in your marijuana and cannabis based business. For a free case consultation call 949-375-4734 today.

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