Cannabis Business Licensing Opportunities Amidst COVID-19

By Jerrico Perez

May 13, 2020

Even during times of crisis, there is opportunity. Currently, many states have issued stay-at-home orders affecting millions of employees and thousands of businesses across our country. And yet, numerous states, including California, Colorado, and Michigan have designated cannabis businesses as “Essential Services.” As the nation recovers from the economic, physical, and emotional scars left in the wake of COVID-19, the cannabis industry will continue to foster the explosive growth we have all been a part of.

Vicente Sederberg LLP continues to identify exclusive licensing opportunities for our clients. With more winning merit-based applications than any other law firm in the country, our team’s work ethic, dedication, and experience can help elevate your application above the competition. See below for current and upcoming national and international business opportunities.


National Opportunities

Iowa

Iowa currently has a Request for Proposal open for up to two new medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Final applications must be submitted by June 8, 2020. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact us as soon as possible.

California

American Canyon, Napa County

American Canyon will accept applications for non-storefront retail, cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and testing from May 1, 2020 through June 15, 2020. Regardless of the number of business permits required, the City will issue permits to the top six businesses. The submittal requirements include various plans in a multi-phase application process as well as an interview.

King City, Monterey County

The City of King will allow up to two cannabis storefront retail businesses. Verified eligible applicants meeting a minimum required score will be entered into a lottery, with the first two winners eligible to proceed through the City’s cannabis permitting process. The Notice of the Pre-Application Process is anticipated to be released on May 11, 2020, and the deadline is tentatively scheduled for July 9, 2020.

Tulare, Tulare County

Tulare will permit five storefront retailers in the City, permitting only three to be operational at this time. As the existing two medical operators have been grandfathered in the City’s adult-use program, the City will initially issue only one additional permit. The merit-based application process includes the submission of required plans as well as an interview. Required plans include a business plan summary and budget, site location and development plan, proof of capitalization, management team, proof of existing successful retail cannabis dispensary operation, summary of security practices, community benefits, product safety and labeling, and hiring and employment practices. The selection committee will be the City Manager, City Attorney, and Chief of Police. City staff has indicated the Request for Proposal will likely be released in the next 2 – 4 weeks.

Concord, Contra Costa County

On February 5, 2020, the Planning Commission adopted a resolution to recommend that City Council amend the Concord Municipal Code to allow for three storefront retailers, three non-storefront retailers, five manufacturers, and would remove the limit on testing facilities. All of which would then be open for adult-use permits. Staff is proposing a competitive process, pending City Council review, and approval. Retail businesses, including microbusinesses, will be selected through a competitive RFP. The City’s ordinance is tentatively scheduled to become effective in June 2020 with the RFP for retail uses issued shortly thereafter.

Tracy, San Joaquin County

The City Council adopted ordinances allowing commercial cannabis activity including storefront and non-storefront retail, indoor cultivation, distribution, non-volatile manufacturing, microbusiness, and laboratory testing. Storefront retailers are limited to four operators. The City is still finalizing its merit-based application process, but it will likely include community benefits requirements as well as points for local ownership and social equity business practices. Tracy anticipates accepting applications between July 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020.

Fresno, Fresno County

The City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical and adult-use cannabis businesses that limit storefront retail licenses to 14 citywide. The City also allows cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and testing. Together cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution licenses cannot exceed 16. The City is currently working on an Environmental Impact Report pursuant to CEQA Guidelines which must be completed prior to the City accepting retail applications. The City expects competition of its application in Summer 2020.

Massachusetts

The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) will open up licensing applications to prospective Delivery-only Marijuana Establishments and certain Microbusinesses seeking Delivery Endorsements starting on Thursday, May 28, 2020. In accordance with Commission regulations, the new adult-use license types will be exclusively available to certified Economic Empowerment Applicants and Social Equity Program Participants for a minimum of two years.

Michigan

Crystal Township

Crystal Township, MI, will accept applications for four available medical provisioning centers and four adult-use retailers through Monday, July 20, 2020, at 4:00 p.m. Applicants are required to submit a Business Plan and Site Plan as part of their application.

Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids will begin accepting license applications for medical provisioning centers and adult-use retailers starting October 20, 2020. On or before September 15, 2020, the City Commission will consider and vote on final amendments for adoption.

Maine

The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy announced that it will no longer be enforcing the state's residency requirements that limited out-of-state participation in the adult-use marijuana program. The residency requirement had been challenged in a lawsuit alleging that such residency requirements were unconstitutional. A joint stipulation for dismissal was filed in federal court stating that relevant sections of state law and administrative regulation would no longer be enforced. If you are interested in upcoming opportunities in Maine, please contact us


International Opportunities

New Zealand

License application forms and guidance material are currently available as of April 2020. There will be a single, overarching medicinal cannabis license to cover all medicinal cannabis activities. At the time of application, the applicant will apply for a medicinal cannabis license and specify at least one activity that they wish to do.

Germany

The deadline for Germany’s sole distributor of domestically grown medical cannabis has been extended from April 28 to May 26, 2020. Companies with substantial experience distributing narcotic drugs and controlled substances are encouraged to apply.


Vicente Sederberg LLP will continue to closely monitor merit licensing opportunities across the country to provide up-to-date information for our clients. We are here to be your trusted partner through these difficult times. If you are interested in new opportunities in cannabis, please contact us.

This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. This material may be considered attorney advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.