A cannabis business begins with the community interest and the public process of government public hearings, community meetings, staff and attorney regulation development, actions leading to deep discussion of policy development. Each of these steps are critical to having “collaborative adult cannabis” operating policies that afford operators a chance to collaborate successfully with the overseeing agencies. If these initial steps are not measured by intentional outcomes, the final compliance document (Conditional Use Permit, Development Agreement, or similar compliance tools) will hinder both the governing body and the cannabis operators.
Five ways a Cannabis Operator can get involved in early Cannabis Policy Development
Understand the Stakeholders
Research shows communities who handle all the licensing and oversight create a high level of success for stakeholders. Conversely, those who did not meet this standard jeopardized the operators as well as the community. Measurement of success for the stakeholders will be determined by investigation, understanding, and focus. The stakeholders are commonly:
- The community (who may or may not have expressed an interest in adult cannabis)
- The proposed operators (generally seeking profits from legal cannabis sales)
- Policymakers (City Councilmembers, Aldermen, County Supervisors, or State Oversight Committees)
- The City, County or State oversight staff who are ultimately responsible for compliance and audit duties.
The paid governmental administrative staff can make or break your operations; Early and deliberate involvement in policy development is the key to cannabis operations success. This creates the crucial foundation for the ongoing oversight relationship with the adult cannabis licensees.
Establish and guide the stakeholder discussions and the public process of cannabis policy development early on. Skipping this step could be a missed opportunity as the policies, taxation, zoning, hours of operation, and other pertinent cannabis policy developments will already be determined.
A typical, but not suggested approach: a community is ready to move forward but does in relative isolation, devoid of input from successful operators, cannabis advocacy groups, or those with deep understanding of best practices of communities that are doing it well. In this popular but risky model, proposed operators or would-be licensees come to the party late, flash lots of cash, and try to connect with the policy makers’ charities or community groups of choice in hopes of opening the right doors. Perhaps it works, but it is unduly impacting profitability and making financially viable operations more elusive than necessary.
The most advantageous, recommended route: Get involved. Help guide the conversation and policy with facts, data, open and honest dialog.
Research, share, repeat.
Use and share the data at your fingertips. This is the Wild, Wild West and those who are smarter, faster and wiser will reap the rewards. Here are a few samples of data sites and trade associations with significant amounts of research, and academic organizations to study and understand to help open lines of communication and cannabis policy development:
- The State of Cannabis Policy in California’s Cities & Counties
- The State of Cannabis: Local Scorecard Provide Glimpse into California’s ‘Wild West; Patchwork or Cannabis Policies
- San Diego may create California’s fridt city-sanctioned cannabis trade association
- The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations: 2021 Update - Crime
- The Voice of Main Street Cannabis
Get in on the ground floor
Ground-up cannabis policy development will have an impact on taxation rates & use, licensing, oversight, compliance, democratization of the process, social equity inclusion, social impacts, driver safety, and hundreds of other impacts that come with the adult opportunity. Educate your teams, the policy markers with third-party verified data, and engage in the process. The industry will prosper by avoiding poor taxation policies, complicated oversight models, and invasive compliance exercises. The community will benefit financially from strategic collaboration, and licensee relationships with government will be transparent, open, and mutually beneficial.
Build Trust and Communication
Leveraging technology to foster communication and stay organized in a cannabis business benefits licensees and oversight groups. Utilizing a project management tool will positioned a cannabis operator to build trust with the governing body through transparency and collaboration. GreenSpacePro and its affiliate, GreenGovPro, are simple and low-cost tools utilized to organize all licensees’ critical information and compliance requirements in one place, easily accessible by the entire team as web-based SaaS products. They offer electronic guardrails that protect your licenses and an unlimited number of locations. In addition, they offer secure and attested responses to government oversight departments in an auditable and documented environment. GreenSpacePro and GreenGovPro take the fear and pressure out of compliance. It democratizes the language and the process, and includes licensees, attorneys, accountants, operation teams and site managers, making the compliance process seamless and less invasive.