Are you an entrepreneur or investor who wants to start a cannabis business in Alabama? You’re in the right place. In this article, our Alabama cannabis license consulting firm provides you with an overview of the license application process, including a guide on how to win a marijuana business license in Alabama.
However, if you prefer to speak with our Alabama cannabis consultants directly, feel free to click the button below to schedule a call.
Alabama Cannabis License Consulting Firm
Laws and Rules
To begin, reading the laws and rules of the Alabama medical cannabis program will significantly increase your chances of success. Both in winning a license and becoming operational.
So, you’ll want to read the following:
- Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission Bill (SB46);
- Administrative Rules Governing Physician Certification and Recommendation for the use of Medical Cannabis; and
- Administrative Rules Governing Medical Cannabis Cultivation;
You should also read the recently published rules:
- 538-X-1 General Provisions, Scope and Construction of Rules
- 538-X-2 Regulation of Patients and Caregivers
- 538-X-3 Applications and Licensing Requirements – Generally
- 538-X-4 Licensee Requirements – Generally
- 538-X-5 Regulation of Cultivators
- 538-X-6 Regulation of Processors
- 538-X-7 Regulation of Secure Transporters
- 538-X-8 Regulation of Dispensaries
- 538-X-9 Regulation of Integrated Facilities
- 538-X-10 Regulation of State Testing Laboratories
Also, be aware of the following governing bodies:
- The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (“the Commission”) will license and regulate all aspects of medical cannabis in Alabama (excluding cultivation licenses); and
- The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries will govern cultivation licenses.
Don’t have the time to read several hundred pages of laws and rules? No problem. Our marijuana business consultants in Alabama summarize everything you need to know as an applicant below.
Timeline for License Applications
So when can you apply for a marijuana license in Alabama? Beginning September 1, 2022, you may apply for an Alabama cannabis business license. Afterward, the deadline to submit your Alabama cannabis license application is December 30, 2022. The commission will issue licenses to the winners by July 10, 2023.
Our cannabis application writers in Alabama recommend starting on your license applications now. The more time you have to prepare your application, the greater the chances are that you’ll receive a higher score from the State.
In the step-by-step guide below, we’ll discuss actions you can take now, but first, let’s go over the types of Alabama cannabis licenses available and the application process.
Types of Alabama Medical Cannabis Licenses
If you plan to operate a cannabis business in Alabama, you must choose the license you would like to apply for. You’ll have six types of Alabama marijuana business licenses to choose from, including:
- Cultivator License (12 max)
- Processor License (4 max)
- Dispensary License (4 max)
- Secure transporter License (no limit)
- Integrated Facility License (aka Vertically Integrated License) (5 max)
- Testing Laboratory License (no limit)
Our Alabama cannabis application writers define each of the license categories. But for the sake of space, I’ve moved the definitions to the end of this article.
Before you begin applying for an Alabama medical cannabis business license, make sure that you are eligible and meet all requirements. For instance, here are some requirements for applicants:
- Your proposed business must have majority ownership by an individual or individuals with proof of residence in Alabama for no less than 15 years preceding the application date;
- Integrated license facilities and cultivators require majority ownership by individuals or entities with cumulative business experience in the field of commercial horticulture or agronomic production for at least 15 years; and
- None of your owners, directors, board members or individuals with controlling interest have been convicted of a felony or a controlled substance-related misdemeanor (not including traffic violations).
Feel free to schedule a call with our cannabis business consultants in Alabama to determine if you qualify. But for now, let’s discuss the license application process in Alabama.
Alabama will publish the actual applications on October 24, 2022. However, the rules (Chapter 3 subchapter 3.05) do provide some insight into what the application will require. To win an Alabama marijuana business license, make sure you prepare the following:
- Financial Statements (balance sheet, P&l, statement of cashflow, etc.)
- Tax Plan
- Employee Handbook
- Policies and Procedures Manual
- Facility Information for each site
- Site map of website and social media web address
- Roster of all personnel, including name, address, social security number, etc.
- Business Plan
- IT Plan
- Maintenance and Storage Plan (including access control)
- Quality Control/Assurance plan
- Contamination and Recall Plan
- Criminal Activity Plan
- Emergency Procedures/Disaster Plan
- Alcohol, Smoke, and Drug-free workplace policies
- Employee Safety Plan
- Confidential Information and Cybersecurity Plan
- Waste Disposal Plan
- Security Plan
- and more
As shown above, you’ll have to write several hundred, if not thousands, of pages of technical narratives describing your plans to operate a compliant medical cannabis business in Alabama. You’ll also have to pay a non-refundable application fee of $2,500 (more info on application and licensing fees below).
So why risk submitting an application that won’t win? Keep reading for expert advice from our Alabama cannabis license consulting firm that will help you win.
You need to know what you’re being scored on if you want to receive the highest score.
Thus, in addition to the plans described above, Alabama’s commission will score your license application on the following:
- Integrity and moral character of the applicant;
- Financial Ability;
- Sources and the total amount of capitalization;
- Whether the applicant’s team has disqualifying conventions;
- Ability to capitalize and conduct compliant operations;
- Ability to obtain a minimum $2,000,000 liability and casualty insurance;
- History of related business activities; and
- The proposed location.
If the commission identifies a deficiency in your application, the commission will provide you with a reasonable period of time, but not more than 60 days, to correct the deficiency.
Have any questions about the Alabama marijuana license application process? Click the button below to speak with our Alabama cannabis consultants today.
Now, on to the step-by-step guide created by our Alabama marijuana consulting team.
Step-by-Step Guide on how to win a license
Below are steps that you can take right now to improve your chances of winning an Alabama cannabis business license.
Step 1: Read the Laws and Rules
First, you should begin by reading the laws and rules governing the medical cannabis program in Alabama. By doing so, you’ll understand what it takes to successfully obtain a cannabis license.
Step 2: Choose a Marijuana Business License type
As shown above, Alabama will issue 6 types of medical cannabis business licenses. Choose the license type that matches the type of business you’d like to conduct.
The six types of Alabama cannabis licenses are found here and the definition of each license is found here. Since the licenses are limited in number, keep in mind the level of competition when choosing.
Step 3: Engage a consultant
Once you’ve read the laws and chosen a license, you should consider engaging an Alabama cannabis consultant. A consultant can write your application for you and guide you through the entire application process, from facility design to team recruitment to SOP development.
Click the button below to schedule a free consultation with our Alabama cannabis consulting firm. Learn how we can save you time and money while helping you win a license. We have one of the highest success rates in the industry when it comes to winning cannabis licenses in extremely competitive markets.
Step 4: Form a business entity
At this point, it’s a good idea to form a business entity for your proposed cannabis business Our Alabama cannabis license consulting firm most commonly finds applicants forming limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations.
However, speak with your attorney to decide the best business entity type for you.
Step 5: Choose a location
Now is a good time to choose a location for your Alabama cannabis business.
You can begin identifying potential locations and checking if they are compliant with State and local laws. Check with the city government to determine if your facility is zoned correctly. If the facility meets the requirements, you should secure the site and begin building local support (see Step 9 below).
Step 6: Build a team
The team you list on your application for your proposed Alabama cannabis business will have a major impact on your score. Alabama wants to know that your team has the experience and expertise needed to operate a compliant cannabis business.
Would you like help to build a strong team for your application? Quantum 9 offers talent acquisition services. Our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting firm has a network of cannabis industry experts in every vertical.
Equally important, the bill requires that at least 25% of the licenses be awarded to minority-owned businesses. Thus, it may benefit you to build a team where the majority ownership is held by minority groups (click here for a definition of minority groups).
Step 7: Develop Business Plan
With your team in place and a location in hand, you can begin putting together a business plan. Your business plan will help you continue to recruit top talent, raise capital, build your brand, garner local support, and more.
As an added benefit, you can use portions of your business plan in the actual license application in Alabama.
Step 8: Raise capital
Starting a cannabis company will cost you millions. Depending on the type of cannabis business you intend to start, the costs range widely. Retail operations are the least capital intensive, whereas cultivation or integrated facility operations will cost significantly more.
Not to mention, raising capital can be lengthy. It’s best to start raising capital and getting your finances in order as early as possible.
Reach out to our Alabama cannabis business consultants for help with raising capital. Our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting firm has helped dozens of applicants raise millions to fund their operations across the globe.
Step 9: Garner Local Support
Having the support of your city and local organizations will drastically improve your chances of winning an Alabama cannabis business license. In fact, some cities may require you to apply for a separate, city-level permit.
In the end, the City decides who gets to operate within its borders. Thus, building support at the local level is critical. Start now because building relationships takes patience.
Step 10: Write and submit an application
Lastly, you can now sit down and begin to write your Alabama cannabis license application. While the application isn’t published yet, you can still begin writing portions of your application (please reference the Application Requirements section above for details).
Like I said, your application can easily reach hundreds of pages of technical writing. You’ll have to describe the procedures, equipment, policies, and more that you will implement in your cannabis business.
I understand how frustrating it can be to apply for a license. It requires hundreds of hours to craft a competitive application. Do you have spare time to write hundreds of pages of technical narratives?
Let our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting manage your application from start to finish. You’ll save time and increase your chances of winning by allowing the pros to write your application.
Conclusions from our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting firm
I hope you found the information useful!
As Alabama continues to release more information on its medical cannabis program, I will update this post. Keep an eye out for further information and tips on cannabis license application writing in Alabama.
In the meantime, please feel free to reach out and set up a phone call with our Alabama Cannabis Consultants. We can provide further guidance and help you best position yourself for winning a cannabis license in Alabama.
Below, our marijuana consultants in Alabama, provide supplemental information that is related to cannabis licensing in Alabama.
Additional information on Alabama Cannabis Licensing
Alabama has not released the official licensing fees, but the act states that the fee shall be not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), depending on the category of license. License fees are only paid if you are awarded a license, and need to be renewed either annually or bi-annually.
On the other hand, the application fee is non-refundable and must be paid for each application you submit. According to the Medical Cannabis Compassion Act (SB46), a nonrefundable application fee of $2,500 shall be paid at the time of filing to defray the costs associated with the background investigation conducted by the commission.
Social Equity In Alabama
Like most States, Alabama will implement some measure of Social Equity into its medical cannabis program. Specifically, 25% of all licenses must be issued to business entities that are 51% owned by minority groups.
Minority groups mean individuals of:
- African American;
- Native American;
- or Hispanic descent.
Thus, applying as a minority-owned business may increase your chances of winning a medical cannabis business license in Alabama.
Municipalities have the authority to restrict the operation of dispensing sites within their corporate limits. Work with our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting firm to start building support from your municipality’s governing body.
If you’d like to sell or buy a cannabis license in Alabama, you must apply to the Commission and have the license transfer approved. The Commission will verify that the party receiving the license qualifies and meets all requirements set out by Alabama.
You must pay a non-refundable fee of $2,500 to transfer your licenses.
Are you interested in selling your Alabama cannabis license? Learn how our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting firm can help you.
Description of Alabama Cannabis License Types
Alabama’s medical cannabis cultivator license authorizes all of the following:
- The cultivation of cannabis;
- The sale or transfer of cannabis to a processor; and
- If the cultivator contracts with a processor to process its cannabis into medical cannabis on the cultivator’s behalf, the sale or transfer of medical cannabis to a dispensary.
Important to note, that the cultivator license authorizes the cultivator to transfer cannabis only by means of a secure transporter. In other words, cultivators must use a licensed secure transporter (see below for a description of Secure Transporter Licenses) to transport their cannabis when it is sold to a processor, dispensary, and also testing laboratories.
Our Alabama marijuana business consultants wrote an article describing how to apply for an Alabama cannabis cultivator license.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Processor License allows a business to:
- Purchase or transfer of cannabis from a cultivator.
- Processing of cannabis into “medical cannabis” shall include properly packaging and labeling medical cannabis products, in accordance with this section.
- Sale or transfer of “medical cannabis” to a dispensary.
Put simply, the Processor License in Alabama permits a business to buy flowers from cultivators and process the flower into medical cannabis products which can then be sold to cannabis retailers.
In other words, a marijuana processor license in Alabama does not allow you to produce vape cartridges, concentrates, or cannabis-infused foods.
Similar to the Alabama cultivation license, a marijuana processor license in Alabama requires a business to use a secure transporter licensee to transport your products to and from your facility.
In either case, please feel free to reach out to our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting firm to learn more about business opportunities for processors in Alabama.
The cannabis dispensary licenses in Alabama authorizes a business to:
- Purchase or transfer medical cannabis from a processor.
- If a cultivator contracted with a processor to process its cannabis into medical cannabis on the cultivator’s behalf, the purchase or transfer of medical cannabis from the cultivator.
- Purchase or transfer medical cannabis from an integrated facility.
- Dispense and sell medical cannabis only to a registered qualified patient or registered caregiver.
Again, a dispensary license authorizes the dispensary to transfer medical cannabis only by means of a secure transporter, including transport between its dispensing sites.
As stated in the act, a secure transporter license authorizes the licensee to store and transport cannabis and medical cannabis for a fee upon request of a licensee. A Secure Transporter license in Alabama does not authorize transport to a registered qualified patient or registered caregiver.
Integrated Facility License
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Integrated Facility License is essentially a vertically integrated license. More specifically, the Medical Cannabis Integrated Facility License in Alabama allows you to:
- Cultivate cannabis.
- Process cannabis into medical cannabis, including proper packaging and labeling of medical cannabis products.
- Dispense and sell medical cannabis only to a registered qualified patient or registered caregiver.
- Transport of cannabis or medical cannabis between its facilities.
- Sell or transfer medical cannabis to a dispensary.
However, there are stricter requirements and qualifications for those applying for an Alabama Cannabis Integrated Facility License (aka vertically integrated cannabis license).
For instance, the licenses must be awarded to entities whose majority ownership is attributable to an individual or individuals with proof of residency in this state for a continuous period of no less than eight years preceding the application date and who provide records indicating continuous, full-time business experience in the field of commercial horticulture or agronomic production for a period of at least eight years.
Does the Alabama Medical Cannabis Integrated Facility License fit your goals? Do you prefer a vertically integrated cannabis business license? If so, reach out to our Alabama Cannabis License Consulting firm to speak with our marijuana application advisors. Learn why or why not a cannabis integrated license in Alabama may be right for you.
Testing Laboratory License
Finally, the last license type is the Alabama Medical Cannabis Testing Laboratory License.
The Marijuana Testing Laboratory License allows you to possess and test cannabis and medical cannabis products cultivated or processed at licensed facilities in Alabama. In addition, an Alabama cannabis testing laboratory license authorizes the licensee to do all of the following without using a secure transporter:
- Take cannabis or medical cannabis from, test cannabis or medical cannabis for, and return cannabis or medical cannabis to only a respective licensed facility.
- Collect a random sample of cannabis or medical cannabis at the premises of a cultivator, processor, or dispensary for testing.”
Importantly, to be eligible for an Alabama state testing laboratory license, the applicant and each investor with interest in the applicant must not have an interest in any licensed cultivator, secure transporter, processor, or dispensary. Alabama created this provision to prevent a conflict of interest between medical cannabis businesses.
Products Allowed for Medical Cannabis
The types of medical cannabis products that you can sell in Alabama include:
- Oral tablet, capsule, or tincture.
- Gelatinous cube, gelatinous rectangular cuboid, or lozenge in a cube or rectangular cuboid shape.
- Gel, oil, cream, or other topical preparation.
- Transdermal patch.
- Liquid or oil for administration using an inhaler.
However, you cannot sell any of the following:
- Raw plant material.
- Any product administered by smoking, combustion, or vaping.
- A food product that has medical cannabis baked, mixed, or otherwise infused into the product, such as cookies or candies.
Cannabis Jobs in Alabama
Here is a list of cannabis job openings in Alabama:
Feel free to reach out if you would like an introduction to the hiring manager.
Related articles from our Alabama Cannabis License Consultants:
- Win a Marijuana Transporter License in Illinois
- Cannabis Application in Arkansas: Win a License
- Get an Adult-use Cannabis License in New York
- How to secure a transporter license in Alabama