Learn how to become a licensed cannabis producer with GrowerIQ

How to Become a Licensed Cannabis Producer

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Sherry Ellen Slitts
Sherry has been active in the biotechnology industry since 2010. She is experienced in developing quality management systems and documentation for regulatory compliance under GMP guidelines. Her background in microbiology, cell biology, and aseptic processing provide a scientific context for cannabis production methods. Sherry has a passion for plant science, especially in the areas of tissue culture and bioactive compound extraction.

Many entrepreneurs in jurisdictions around the world are wondering how to become a licensed producer in the cannabis industry. It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that becoming a licensed producer of cannabis can be a long and expensive process. With successful markets like Canada leading the way, there is a lot of incentive to take on this challenging process. Becoming a licensed producer starts with a cannabis business plan and license application.

Cannabis Business Plan

Before you begin your application to become a licensed producer of cannabis, you will want to have a cannabis business plan. Much of the information in the cannabis business plan will also be needed to complete the licensed producer application. Certain jurisdictions also require the plan to be submitted along with your application. The CRA in Canada wants to know that you've got a reasonable shot at being successful. Also a consideration when putting together your cannabis business plan is that it will help you raise the financial backing needed to become a licensed producer.

Licensed producers will have a much easier time finding cannabis banking and cannabis business loans in Canada than anywhere else in the world.

Cannabis Start-Up Funding

Canada offers many cannabis business resources to help licensed producers get their businesses up and running. They also encourage domestic and international growth. Licensed producers will have a much easier time finding cannabis banking and cannabis business loans in Canada than anywhere else in the world. Licensed producers are encouraged to work with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service to take advantage of their many cannabis business resources, especially when it comes to exploring international jurisdictions.

GrowerIQ's cannabis consultants can write custom SOPs for your facility in areas from Cultivation & Production, all the way through to Sanitation. Get started today.
Facility equipment and infrastructure can be one of the biggest line items on your cannabis business plan. We work with licensed producers during the planning stages to ensure appropriate selection of lighting, HVAC, and technology systems.

Licensed Producer Application Process

Step 1: Researching the Target Cannabis Market

As you write your cannabis business plan you will have to familiarize yourself with the local regulatory framework, or the The Cannabis Act and its Regulations in Canada. You will also want to research the market where you plan to distribute to formulate effective business strategies. Targeting relatively new and / or emerging markets like Europe, means you may be able to charge higher prices. However at the same time, this opportunity comes with increasingly stringent quality control standards to pass, like GACP & EU GMP. The licensing process is becoming more and more standardized as new applications are reviewed and approved all the time. Health Canada's market data for 2019 notes:

Licensed indoor and outdoor cultivation area held by licence holders stood at 1,415,869 m2 and 185 hectares.

Part of your research and planning will include determining the type of license you need. In Canada, licensees choose their license based on a blend of activities performed and canopy space. For example, selecting between larger standard cultivation licenses or smaller micro grow license Canada, among other types, can be a key consideration for your business. Once you have finished your cannabis business plan, acquired start-up funding, and designed your facility you will need to complete facility construction before you may apply to become a licensed producer.

Step 2: Creating an Online License Application Account

Health Canada uses a digital Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System (CTLS). The cannabis license holder and any business partners or employees needing security clearance will need to set up CTLS accounts. A corporate account may also need to be set up. The Health Canada licensing process and security clearance process are not too complicated.

GrowerIQ's cannabis consultants can help you plan your operations to ensure you're growing compliant, quality cannabis.
GrowerIQ's cannabis consultants can help you plan your operations to ensure you're growing compliant, quality cannabis.

Step 3: Building a Cultivation Facility

Health Canada requires cannabis license applicants to have a fully built out facility before applying to be a licensed producer. There are ways to build your cannabis facility in stages to reduce costs, but Health Canada requires this to ensure that applicants are ready and able to produce reliable and compliant cannabis.

To complete your application to become a licensed producer, you will have to produce a video tour of your facility. Labeled diagrams will also be required. GrowerIQ's consulting team and resident Master Grower can help plan out your facility with our cannabis cultivation facility design services. From there, you will work with builders, engineers, and local government officials to make your plan a reality. 

Whether you plan to use a cannabis greenhouse, outdoor grow, or indoor grow space, you must consider factors like power, water supply, and site zoning. You will also need to work with the fire department to ensure your site meets safety standards.

Step 4: Submitting an Application to be a Licensed Producer

After all of your hard work to create a cannabis business plan, register with CTLS and local authorities, and build a cultivation facility, you will finally be ready to apply to become a licensed producer. Licensed producer applicants will want to be thorough and complete in filling out their application. Wait times can be very long and any errors will cause further delays or even license denials.

Next Steps

It helps to have a wide scope of knowledge when applying. It wouldn't be this complicated if you were to get help from cannabis consultants who have expertise in this process. If this seems like a tedious process, or you need help with the process, reach out to our team to get assistance from our seasoned experts.

If you're still curious to learn more, we have curated a list of resources to help you learn more about becoming a licensed producer: 

Cannabis Consulting and Application Review

Licensed producers are encouraged to work with experienced cannabis consultants that can review their application for accuracy, and to highlight any red flags. The process of becoming a licensed producer can be a complicated endeavour. Having a consultant to help take on some of that work can be a major benefit.

Cannabis consultants can help new licensed producers get on the fast track to success. They can make sure that you have a solid business plan, a sustainable cultivation facility, and are meeting all regulatory and legal requirements.

Find Out More

Let's discuss your project in order to customize a comprehensive plan to help you become a licensed producer. Our consultants and subject matter experts can simplify the process for you. Find out more by submitting the contact form, or starting a chat to the right.

Cannabis Consulting

About GrowerIQ

GrowerIQ is a complete cannabis production management platform. Ours is the first platform to integrate your facility systems, including sensors, building controls, QMS, and ERP, into a single simplified interface.

GrowerIQ is changing the way producers use software - transforming a regulatory requirement into a robust platform to learn, analyze, and improve performance.

To find out more about GrowerIQ and how we can help, fill out the form to the right, start a chat, or contact us.

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