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In Canada, the retail cannabis license application process is complicated. Public consultation by local government is a crucial step along the way. Local government refers to the municipality or Indigenous Nation where a proposed cannabis store will operate. Without public support, and ultimately local government support, a cannabis license will be denied.
When Does Public Consultation Occur?
When applying for a cannabis license in Canada, public consultation happens after a business submits the cannabis license application to the relevant provincial authority. In BC, the steps are as follows:
- Review local government requirements and prepare for public consultation
- Review BC Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) store location requirements
- Complete a Business Financial Integrity form
- Gather documents of store details (i.e., floor plan, site plan, store name, location)
- Gather business information documents
- Gather information on business partners and get their consent to undergo security screening
- Upload documents to the BC Cannabis Licensing portal
- Pay licensing fee
- LCRB conducts an initial review of the application and once completed, notifies local government
- Local government accepts the application for consideration (or denies it). If accepted for consideration, local government reviews the business information in detail and may gather the views of residents and neighbouring businesses in written form, during a public hearing, or both.
- Local government submits its recommendation to LCRB.
Visit the LCRB cannabis license application portal for detailed information.
Step 1 above, “Review local government requirements and prepare for public consultation”, is arguably the most important part of the journey. Once an applicant knows local government requirements, a public consultation strategy should be created. As part of our cannabis license application services, the consultants at Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors usually help devise a strategy, offering recommendations and suggestions for a strong public consultation presentation.
Anatomy of a Successful Cannabis Licensing Public Consultation Strategy
A winning public consultation strategy meets (or surpasses) all local government requirements. An example of a well-executed strategy is described in our Avenue Cannabis case study.
A public consultation package satisfies local government requirements and addresses any public concerns. The package may include:
- Letters of support from neighbouring businesses
- Letters of support from local residents
- Cannabis store employment information: how many employees, number of employees who will reside locally, salaries, standard of living
- Benefits to the community
- Benefits to the local retail sector
- Community involvement of the business
- Artist’s renderings of the store architecture and floor plan
- Brief bios of owner(s)
- Mission statement
The information above is usually presented in written form and as a visual presentation (e.g., PowerPoint slideshow or PDF). The visual presentation often has one over-arching focus, such as benefits to local residents and community. Photos, architectural drawings and artist’s drawing of the cannabis store are usually included.
View the Avenue Cannabis public presentation PDF.
Thrive Makes Cannabis License Public Consultation Easier Than You Think!
If you’re applying for a cannabis license in Canada, get the cannabis licensing consultants at Thrive on your side. Thrive will keep you on track, guide your team and help you create a winning public consultation package.