[updated October 2023] Would you like to submit a winning and compliant adult-use business application in Massachusetts? Look no further. Our expert team of cannabis consultants in Massachusetts can help you succeed in all of your cannabis business endeavors. We’ve won licenses for clients in competitive applications in 27 states across the U.S. and in six countries worldwide.
In the article below, we’ll outline the steps necessary to submit a complete and worthy application. Additionally, you’ll find tips for marijuana business licensing from one of the best cannabis consulting firms in the world, Quantum 9.
Cannabis Consulting Massachusetts
As in many states, the application process is long and tedious, requiring multiple operational plans demonstrating how your business will operate successfully. As simply one example, you must gain local approval before submitting your state license application. A small, but significant, requirement, it requires many steps in and of itself.
Prepare to possibly spend up to a year for all the application requirements. However, the Commission states that the typical licensing process for adult-use Marijuana Establishments (MEs) generally takes three months from submission to approval (or rejection) of your application.
The submission deadline for Social Equity Program (SEP) applicants is April 30, 2024! Reach out to our Massachusetts cannabis consulting firm to help you submit a successful application! Our experienced team can help guide you every step of the way.
Now, let’s take a look at the current laws and regulations.
Laws & Regulations
Once a medical-only state, Massachusetts now permits adult-use, or “recreational,” cannabis businesses. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked the Cannabis Control Commission with oversight and administration of both adult-use and medical licensing.
To fully understand the new requirements for adult-use cannabis business licenses in Massachusetts, read the current cannabis acts, laws, and regulations. Moreover, doing so will help you understand the types of licenses available, as well as the application process and operational requirements.
Read further below for examples of the scope of services we provided for past applicants to the medical program in Massachusetts. The requirements are similar for both medical and adult-use business licensees.
[Below is an example of the scope of services for the medical program in Massachusetts. It was published December 20, 2018; links have been updated since, but keep in mind that the program requirements have changed, as well as the scope of services required.]
Quantum 9 Scope of Services for Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts
When you initiate a project with Quantum 9, receive extensive executive coaching over a twelve month period to help you obtain approval from local control municipal authorities and organizations, as well as submit for the required state permits.
Quantum, marijuana consultants, project manage the entire submission process from initial idea to acquisition of the permit. Our expert marijuana consulting team can handle the business planning services, facility design, application writing services, and help with your community involvement. We handle executive recruitment of your registered marijuana dispensary agents. Our team can even help handle all of your lobbying and government relations.
Massachusetts State Approval – Guidance for Marijuana Establishment Licensure
First of all, a great business plan can help outline the goals of the organization and help determine the amount of capital required to obtain your goals. This is one of the first steps in the process. Second, the business plan can be used to help the local government understand your intentions. It can also be used to recruit Registered Dispensary Agents and out-of-state operating partners. Lastly, Quantum 9 handles all of the pro forma financial data required for your capitalization narrative. We assist with the location control documentation as well as help organize your formation documentation.
Application of Intent
Above all, one of the most important portions of the local application of intent is the Host Community Agreement. This agreement is required for the state to approve your application. This document is basically a sign off on the local government being satisfied with your location and intentions. This includes the submission of your Community Outreach Attestation Form Collection.
Community Outreach Meeting
Firstly, the Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts suggest setting up the required local community meeting. Quantum 9 offers assistance with the Community Outreach Meeting. The outreach meeting must be approved by the state six months prior to the meeting.
Lastly, our Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts can assist with the Community Outreach Marketing, Municipality Town/ City Clerk Update and Filing, and Mailing of Abutters of the proposed Marijuana Establishment including the compliance with local zoning documentation.
Massachusetts Marijuana Recreational Consulting – Packet 1 Creation
Quantum 9’s Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts can help document the following:
- First, we help create your Community Outreach Plan;
- Second, we help outline the Positive Impact Plan; which includes:
- Hiring Plans;
- Methods for targeting the recruitment of the identified group(s); and
- Skills-based training programs, or a plan to include individuals previously trained by the Commission’s Social Equity Program.
- Third, we help review your team and structure to see if you qualify for the Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants (EEA) designation [updated 2023: the Commission no longer accepts applications for EEA certification]; and
- Lastly, we review your submission locations to determine if they qualify for an Area of Disproportionate Impact (ADI).
Massachusetts Marijuana Recreational Consulting – Packet 2 Creation
Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts at Quantum 9 assists with the following background check items for Packet 2:
- First, the Disclosure and Acknowledgement Form will be published to all team members; and
- Lastly, we help you collect the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Acknowledgement Form, if required.
Massachusetts Marijuana Recreational Consulting – Packet 3 Creation
Above all, for Packet 3, an incredible amount of work is required. For further clarity, the following scope can be provided by the Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts from Quantum 9.
- Firstly, we help with the Facility Design, including the Architectural Plan Review Request Form;
- Secondly, we help determine the Proposed Timeline to be Operational;
- Thirdly, our cannabis consulting team can help you organize your Proof of Liability Insurance or Plan to Obtain Insurance;
- Fourthly, our marijuana consultants will help collect the Formation Documentation Collection; and
- Fifthly, we’ll help create a Staffing Plan.
Marijuana Plans and Procedures from Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts
Our cannabis consultants can document all the Policies and Procedures that will be used within the facility, including;
- Security Plans and Procedures:
- Plans to prevent the diversion of marijuana products
- Lighting, Physical Security, Video Surveillance, and Alarm
- Storage Procedures: Plans to Store marijuana products;
- Transportation Plans, if applicable, or indicate why it is not applicable;
- Inventory and Record Keeping Procedures;
- Sanitation Plan;
- Quality Control and Contaminant Testing Procedures, as applicable under license type;
- Personnel Policies;
- Dispensing Procedures;
- Product Offering Procedures
- Patient Check-in Identification Verification Protocol
- Security Plans and Procedures:
Marketing and Additional Plans and Procedures
Additionally, our team can create your Labeling and Packaging Standards;
- Compliance Procedures including Renewal, Tax Payments, and State Authorization;
- Signage Procedures;
- Policies and Procedures for Maintaining Financial Records;
- Diversity plans to promote equity among women, minorities, veterans, people with disabilities, and people of all gender identities and sexual orientation.
- Set Goals: one or more desired outcomes of the plan; and
- Determine Programs: a detailed process for how to achieve those goals.
Our Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts assist with Setting Measurement and Accountability – metrics to assess whether the goals were achieved. For example, this may include
- Retailer-Specific: a description of the retail applicant’s plan to obtain marijuana products from a licensed Marijuana Establishment.
This plan requires the applicant to provide proof of compliance or ability to comply with Massachusetts laws and regulations, particularly 935 CMR 500.000;
- The Client’s suitability for licensure based on 935 CMR 500.101(1), 500.800 and 500.801, which takes into consideration the suitability of any individual person listed on the application;
- Form 4506-T Collection;
- Release Authorization Form Collection.
In addition, each municipality will require different information. Here, our cannabis consultants Massachusetts have provided an example for the City of Springfield :
- Phase I: Up to 15 Licenses Available (Moratorium ended September 30th, 2018)
Buffering Write Up
Our services include a Buffering Write Up which includes the following;
- Provide documentation to Police Department, Fire Department, Board of Health, Building Commissioner, Zoning Administrator and the City Council – with the names, phone numbers and email addresses of all management staff and key-holders, including a minimum of two (2) operators or managers of the facility identified as contact persons to whom one can provide notice if there are operating problems associated with the establishment; and
- Annual Reporting Documentation.
Local Documentation Collection
- The Quantum 9 Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts come onsite to help with the onsite state inspection and provide Inspection Protocol Documentation, including the following:
- Collection of Host Community Agreement
- Proof of Liability Insurance Collection
- Site Control Documentation Collection
- Evidence of Community Outreach Meeting
- Collection of Notarized Documentation
- Security Measures Documentation.
Detailed Floor Plan
The floor plan includes the following layers:
- First. we create the Limited Access Layers;
- Second, our security team provides a Vault Design;
- Third, all the Camera Lines of Sights are visually shown;
- Forth, we indicate where all Motion Detector placements; and
- Lastly, where all the Panic Buttons are Located.
Operational Plans and Procedures from our Massachusetts Cannabis Consultant
The Quantum 9 operational plans include the following:
- Odor Control Plan;
- Detailed Sign Plan, including a Traffic Impact Study;
- Management Plan, and much more!
The following Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts expert operational procedures can be provided.
- Operating Procedures:
- Including, Marketing and Advertising Plan;
- Also, Waste Disposal Plan and Transportation Plan;
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan;
- Security Plan; and
- Decommissioning of the Adult Use Marijuana Establishment Plan.
- City of Springfield Application Packet Assistance:
- Assist with Building Permit Acquisition;
- Tax Compliance Review;
- Site Plan Creation Assistance:
- Community Outreach Plan;
- City Council Review Prior (65-93 Day); and
- City Council Meeting Assistance.
Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts Dispensary Operational Consulting
Once you have acquired your local and state approval, the Cannabis Consultant Massachusetts experts can offer operational assistance to get your recreational marijuana store up and running. Our team can help run your facility for up to 2 Years once operational. Our services cover:
- Firstly, Management Recruitment;
- Assistance with Marijuana Establishment Agent Registration.
- Secondly, Marijuana Industry Best Practices Consulting;
- Thirdly, Security Design Support;
- Fourthly, Technology Planning;
- After that, our technology team puts together a Technology Diagraming;
- Metric Training.
- Then, our cannabis consultants provide Employee Dispensing Trainings;
- Onsite and Offsite
- Patient and Employee Education Plan.
- In addition, we help with an Accounting and Sales Forecasting;
- Tax Prediction and Compliance.
- After that, we do a comprehensive Legal Compliance review; and
- Lastly, a Marketing Plan.
Pricing and Budgeting
In conclusion, if you are interested in completing a project like this, a ridiculous amount of capital is required. Expect to pay between $350,000 to $1,000,000 on permit acquisition services, including all services outside of Q9. The range depends on the area you are submitting in and the level of competition. For example, the largest cities have the largest population which in turn means the market size and opportunity is higher.
Therefore, with high interest, the more capital will need to be deployed to get what you want. Here is a quick overview of what you should budget for these operations. Investments include, Cultivation $3M-$6M, Extraction $750k-$2M, Retail: $400k-$1M. Lastly, there are so many factors that will affect the price, the range we have provided are based on the projects we have done and seen through completion.
Other areas within the United States you can submit outside of Massachusetts include the following.