The multi-million dollar cannabis market in Nevada has great potential coupled with a wide untapped area waiting for cannabis entrepreneurs to elevate the industry.
If you’re one of the many aspiring entrepreneurs needing guidance in navigating the licensing process, you are at the right place.
This article presents a step-by-step walkthrough of the procedure to get your cannabis licenses successfully. We will look into the regulations in Nevada, how promising the market seems to license application fees, and tips on ensuring ongoing compliance once you get the license.
Cannabis License Regulations in Nevada
Cannabis legalization in Nevada goes back to November 2000 when the State legalized medical-use cannabis. Recreational cannabis wasn’t legalized until later, in 2016, when voters of Nevada favored allowing cannabis use for people aged 21 and more.
Since then, the State’s cannabis industry has been booming. Five different types of cannabis licenses are available in Nevada, depending on the type of business you want to operate. They are:
- Cultivation Facility
- Product Manufacturing Facility
- Testing Facility/Laboratory
- Retail Stores
The State’s cannabis industry is continuously facing revolutions through thoughtful measures such as the Cannabis Social Equity Program in Nevada or the recent Senate bill that increases the amount of transparency of the application review process.
Plus, in 2022, cannabis sales in Nevada reached nearly the $700 million mark, accounting for a major part of recreational sales. Considering Nevada’s population, the State shows the second most sales per capita, only dominated by Colorado.
This shows that the State’s not only a promising opportunity for entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry but also a lucrative one.
So, whether you plan to enter the medical or recreational cannabis industry, you will reach success. However, this requires successfully passing through a rigorous licensing process that’s not a walk in the park.
Continue reading if you want to avoid any issues while preparing for your cannabis license applications in Nevada.
How to Obtain a Cannabis License in Nevada?
Obtaining a cannabis license is important for every business, and we understand the confusions you might face in navigating the complex licensing process.
So, here’s a generalized breakdown of steps you must take to prepare for your license application effectively:
Research and Prepare
You can’t expect to make the smartest decisions before conducting rigorous research. As a cannabis entrepreneur, you are responsible for ensuring that your cannabis establishment does not harm anyone and that the users experience the benefits they buy your products for.
This means research regarding the local cannabis market in Nevada is of great significance. Before starting a cannabis license application process, the entrepreneur must study the trends of Nevada’s cannabis market and consumer preferences.
Your research must also include the rules and regulations set forth by the Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB). Your in-depth understanding of the eligibility criteria for multiple licenses, compliance laws, advertisement and marketing restrictions, location requirements, etc., will allow you to choose the right cannabis establishment.
Develop a Solid Business Plan
After clearly understanding the necessary laws and criteria surrounding the cannabis business you want to establish, start developing a business plan.
Despite how great, any idea is complete and effective with a solid business plan. Your business plan must outline your target market, locations you pinned, financial projections, hierarchical structure of your startup, marketing strategies, etcetera.
While you are at it, don’t consider a business plan as a document required for compliance only. A detailed business plan allows investors to make generous investments without constantly fearing losses.
In an industry like cannabis, where regular investment options like banks aren’t accessible for every State, a business plan can help companies easily sort out their financial complexities.
Remember that a business plan should look like a roadmap to your cannabis establishment’s future success. So, it must address the potential risks and how you plan to mitigate them via risk management strategies.
You may want to add specialized cannabis insurance to your business plan making it more foolproof.
Assemble the Necessary Documentation
Required documentation may vary depending on the type of cannabis establishment license you apply for. Keep checking Nevada’s Department of Taxation website for information regarding license applications and the documents required.
However, the following documents are commonly required for all license types:
- Statement of Application & License Fee Paid
- Owner Affiliation Statement
- Owner Agent Cards
- Verification of Medical Certificate
- Zoning Approval Letter
- Distance Requirements Met
- Certificate of Occupancy
- Landlord Approval Letter: A letter or a copy of a lease signed by the property owner approving marijuana establishment operations at the said property address.
- Registration with Nevada Secretary of State Business License
- Local Business License
- Pre-Operating Inspection
Note: Ensure that you consult with an attorney regarding what documents you must submit and how to present the required information the right way. For example, the State of Nevada Department of Taxation forbids the use of the word ‘Marijuana’ on cheques/money orders, etc.
Submitting the Application
Sign up for updates regarding the opening of license application periods. The department usually issues a notice 45 days prior to the opening date.
Ensure that you apply after fully understanding Marijuana laws in Nevada and fill out the application forms accurately.
The information regarding application fees and license fees may change the next time the State of Nevada starts accepting license applications.
However, as of now, a marijuana establishment license in Nevada requires a $5,000 nonrefundable application fee. The application fee covers the costs of inspections, background checks, and other aspects of the application review.
Application Review and Compliance Inspection
You have done your due diligence by following the steps we have mentioned above. Now, let the Cannabis Compliance Board review your application, along with the documents you submitted.
In case of an incomplete application, the Board will take longer to respond and may ask you to submit some forms/documents you missed. Ensure your communication with the Board is prompt so the application review process doesn’t take too long.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be relieved to know about the recent efforts of Governor Steve Sisolak and Executive Director of Taxation Melanie Young in making the application review process more transparent.
As per Senate Bill 32, now the State is permitted to share details of cannabis license applicants, including those who received their licenses successfully, their rankings and scores, and the process of issuing them marijuana establishment licenses.
If your application is deemed complete, the Board will carry out a compliance inspection. This includes location inspections, background checks, and verification of the information you shared on the application.
Ensure that you’re present for inspections whenever the Board contacts you to show your seriousness and readiness for the cannabis business.
Receiving the Final Application
You will receive a final answer if your application gets passed after the final inspections. As discussed, the review process is quite straightforward, so even if you don’t get the license once, you can easily figure out where you lack and improve.
The period between the submission and final application may vary, but you may expect a few month time period. It is best to follow all the steps mentioned in this guide to reduce the chances of rejection and ensure a successful future for your business.
Remaining Compliant with Nevada Regulations
Remaining compliant directly influences your chances of getting success in Nevada’s cannabis market.
Timely update the Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) regarding any changes in your business ownership, location shifts, or more. The Board also requires businesses to submit quarterly physical inventory counts and monthly cultivation/production/dispensary reports in the Accela Cannabis Customer Portal under the issued license to remain compliant.
Stay informed regarding any changes in the legislation or eligibility criteria relating to your license type or the State’s cannabis industry. Maintain a positive work culture within the company, and ensure that your customers are safe too.
While you are at it, don’t forget to abide by the advertising and marketing laws and regulations. Ensure that you don’t overpromise or somehow miscommunicate the effects of your cannabis products. In case of non-compliance, you may face heavy fines or, even worse, get your license suspended.
Get insurance and other professional assistance, such as attorneys, if you’re unable to keep an eye on the ever-changing landscape of cannabis regulations in Nevada.
We hope the process of applying for cannabis licenses in Nevada feels a bit easier now. Ensure that you visit the resources present on the official websites of regulatory authorities and stay updated regarding changes.
The State of Nevada presents a lucrative opportunity no entrepreneur wants to miss. Feeling ready to make your mark in Nevada’s cannabis market? Establish your business now, and take the State’s cannabis industry to new ‘highs’!