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North Carolina is on the verge of legalizing medical cannabis. The bill on the verge of passing will regulate the production and sale of medical cannabis, including the licensing of businesses. Our North Carolina cannabis consultants created this article to help you prepare to submit a winning license application.

What do I mean by a “winning application”? North Carolina will only issue 10 medical cannabis business licenses (Supplier licenses). As such, you can expect heavy competition for the limited number of licenses. But worry not because our North Carolina cannabis business consultants can help you beat the competition.

This article begins with an overview of the program and license application. After that, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to apply for (and win) a North Carolina cannabis license.

We encourage you to read the entire piece. But if you prefer to speak with our cannabis consultants in North Carolina on the phone, please fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

North Carolina Cannabis Consultants

North Carolina Cannabis Consultant

Laws and Rules

Before you do anything, we suggest you start by familiarizing yourself with the laws and regulations of North Carolina’s medical cannabis program. Our North Carolina cannabis consulting firm suggests reading Senate Bill 3 (aka NC Compassionate Care Act) when you can. In the meantime, the essential elements of Senate Bill 3 are summarized in this article.

While Senate Bill 3 has yet to become law, it is widely recognized that this bill is highly likely to become law within the coming weeks.


Given that the bill has yet to be passed, there is no clear, definite timeline as to when the program will begin. However, we can reasonably assume the Commission will accept applications within 12 – 24 months (based on historical data).

However, our North Carolina cannabis consultants recommend you immediately begin working on your application to improve your odds of winning a license. Once issued a license, you must begin cultivating cannabis within 120 days and selling cannabis within 270 days.

Types and Numbers of Licenses Available

North Carolina will issue two types of medical cannabis business licenses:

  • Medical Cannabis Supplier License (maximum of 10); and
  • Independent Testing Laboratory License (maximum of 5).

The medical cannabis supplier license allows you to cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis to patients in North Carolina. As the introduction mentions, North Carolina will only issue 10 supplier licenses.

Each North Carolina medical cannabis supplier license allows you to operate up to eight (8) medical cannabis centers (aka medical cannabis dispensaries) and one or more production facilities (i.e., a facility that cultivates, processes, and produces medical cannabis products).

On the other hand, the independent testing laboratory license allows you to test cannabis and cannabis-infused products. This article will mainly focus on the North Carolina medical cannabis supplier license.


To be eligible for a medical cannabis supplier license in North Carolina, you must:

  • Pay all licensing fees;
  • Be 21 years or older;
  • Have no disqualifying felonies or offenses in the last five years; and
  • Be majority owned by a resident of North Carolina for at least two (2) years before the license application date.

Application Process

Applications for a North Carolina medical cannabis supplier license will be scored and ranked based on merit. You will submit plans, policies, schematics, and more, demonstrating your ability to operate a successful business.

For instance, you must provide narratives that describe your expertise and plans for:

  1. Physical plant requirements.
  2. Odor control and mitigation.
  3. Security, to include video surveillance.
  4. Sanitation and workplace safety conditions.
  5. Employee training.
  6. Record keeping.
  7. Inventory limits and controls.
  8. Quality control.
  9. Reportable events.
  10. Procedures for mandatory and voluntary recall of unsafe cannabis or cannabis-infused products.
  11. Permitted pesticides to be used and in what amounts, if any.
  12. Limitations on the use of solvents or gases exhibiting potential toxicity to humans.
  13. Storage of cannabis and cannabis-infused products.
  14. Transportation of cannabis and cannabis-infused products.

The top ten applicants who receive the highest score on their application will win a supplier license. If issued a license, you must pay a fee of $50,000 plus $5,000 for each facility you intend to operate out of.

Now that you have been introduced to the program and the license application process, the next section is a step-by-step guide to help you win a North Carolina medical cannabis business license (aka supplier license).

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Apply for a North Carolina Medical Cannabis Supplier License

Step 1: Read Laws and Regulations

The first thing you should do is read the laws and regulations governing the medical cannabis program in North Carolina, as outlined above. This will allow you to understand the playing field and how to position yourself best to win a North Carolina cannabis business license.

Step 2: Engage a North Carolina Cannabis Consultant

Don’t have the time or expertise to read through hundreds of pages of laws and regulations? Work with our North Carolina cannabis consultants, who will do the heavy lifting for you. Let us guide you through the application process, draft your technical plans, and help you submit a winning application.

We have the highest success rate in the industry (91%+) for winning cannabis business licenses in the most competitive licensing rounds. We aim for the top score every time and have evidence of our success in out-competing the best law firms, consultants, and multi-state operators.

Reach out today to learn how our cannabis application writers can help you win a North Carolina cannabis supplier license.

Step 3: Form a Business Entity

Once you’ve secured professional help, we suggest working with your North Carolina cannabis consultants to form a business entity for your submission.

By doing so, you can enter into agreements and contracts under your business entity and start building your application.

Step 4: Develop a Business Plan

The next step is to draft a business plan for your medical cannabis supplier business. Your business plan will help you think through and communicate all aspects of your proposed North Carolina medical cannabis company.

A solid business plan goes a long way in this endeavor. You can use your business plan to raise capital, build a team, and garner support. Moreover, portions of your business plan can be repurposed for the application.

Step 5: Build a team

As part of your business planning process, you will build a team for your proposed North Carolina medical cannabis supplier business. A strong team will help you convince investors to invest. It will also help you score higher on your application since the graders want to know you have the personnel to operate a safe and effective North Carolina medical cannabis business.

Work with Quantum 9 to find the talent that’s right for your team.

Step 6: Raise capital 

It’s never too early to begin securing the funds for your venture. You can use your business plan to communicate your idea to investors and convince them to invest in your medical cannabis supplier business in North Carolina.

The costs to start a vertically integrated North Carolina cannabis business can range drastically. Factors that impact the costs include location, purchasing vs. leasing, number of dispensaries, etc.

Moreover, merely applying for a license can be costly. To put together a competitive application, you’ll incur significant costs from attorneys, real estate, equipment, lobbying, marketing, and more. You can easily spend thousands to millions of dollars just applying for a license.

Step 7: Choose a location

Once you’ve ironed out the financing, the next step is to choose locations for your North Carolina cannabis supplier business. Remember, the medical cannabis supplier license allows you to operate up to eight (8) dispensaries and one or more production facilities (i.e., cultivation/processing).

It’s important to note that at least one of your dispensaries must be in a Tier 1 county, as defined by the North Carolina Department of Commerce according to G.S. 143B-437.08.

Step 8: Garner Local Support

Once you’ve chosen your location(s), you should begin building local support for your business in each community. Work with the municipal government and local organizations to build support for your North Carolina medical cannabis supplier business.

Step 9: Write and submit an application

The final step is to write and submit your application for a North Carolina medical cannabis supplier license. As indicated in the Application Process section above, you must write several narratives outlining the plans and procedures you will implement at your proposed business.

By completing steps 1 – 8, you’ve taken all the steps necessary to succeed. Now you have to encapsulate your plans into an application. You must paint a picture detailing why your team is the fittest to own and operate the North Carolina medical cannabis supplier license.

But here’s the catch. Your application will be scored against the merits of competing applicants. Consider for a second the groups you will compete against for the ten (10) North Carolina cannabis supplier licenses.

You’ll want to put forward your strongest application and not leave anything up to chance. After all, you’ll have a significant amount of capital at risk. Work with our North Carolina cannabis consulting team to apply with the highest probability of receiving the top score.


From business planning to team recruitment to application writing, our North Carolina cannabis consultants have you covered. Let us coach you every step along the way to obtaining a medical cannabis supplier license in North Carolina. We suggest starting as soon as possible, as it takes time to assemble a winning application.

Fill out our contact form today to get the ball rolling.

Julio Soriagalvarro

Author Julio Soriagalvarro

As the Managing Director at Quantum 9, I help entrepreneurs and investors win licenses and start cannabis businesses in medical and adult-use markets. I manage teams that continuously produce cannabis business license applications that outcompete the best attorneys and largest multi-state operators in the world. We’ve helped clients become cannabis business owners in 27 US States and 6 countries.

More posts by Julio Soriagalvarro

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Jacob Kalisch says:

    I live in North Carolina, but moved here in 2020 from Washington State. I worked in the cannabis industry there and know what it takes to create not only a successful business but something the entire community can be behind. I have the ability to obtain financial backing from family members but would like to know more in depth about your services (costs) and what guarantees, if any, your company brings to the table. I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing back from you.

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