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Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors has helped many start-ups with successful cannabis license applications, including their public consultation presentations. There are many LCRB and municipal requirements that must be met. Incomplete applications and sub-par public consultation can delay a retail hopeful’s application unnecessarily, or worse, result in application failure.
In BC, the list of application requirements is lengthy. Applicants must:
- Check municipal or indigenous government requirements
- Purchase or lease a property that meets LCRB requirements
- Provide business financial and business structure information
- Submit floor plans and site plans to LCRB
- Undergo security screening
- Register the business
- Submit the application and be granted approval in principle
- Get approval from local government, which usually entails public consultation
- Meet property and business security requirements
- Schedule inspections
For a complete list of requirements, see “Apply for a Cannabis Retail Store license” at LCRB.
Main Causes of Retail Cannabis License Delays or Rejection
In our experience, the main causes for application delay or failure are: a lack of community research on land use, including municipal regulations, submitting an incomplete application, and a lack of public consultation that lacks community engagement.
1) Lack of community research
Connect with a retail cannabis consultant early in your process and conduct inquires with your local government. Often, applicants apply to the province without checking in with their planning department. Applying for a cannabis license can have very particular criteria such as distancing requirements, land use requirements and even specifics around size. When community research is done in advance of an application, licensees understand what challenges they need to overcome. Because we’ve managed hundreds of applications for many proposed licensees since legalization, Thrive can streamline your process and get ahead of challenges that may arise during an application intake.
While our understanding of licensing requirements is often the most helpful aspect of the work we do, so is the time we save our clients.
2) Incomplete Applications
Incomplete applications cost time and money. It takes only one piece of missing information to delay your application. Thrive works with licensees in advance to prepare a comprehensive and robust submission that provides as much information as possible to the LCRB at the time of submission. The summary of application steps listed above provides a great road map for proposed licensees to understand all that goes into an application.
3) Lack of Public Consultation Presentation
After submitting a complete application to LCRB and meeting all of the initial requirements of submission, your application will be forwarded to local government. Local government is required by the province to conduct a public consultation to gather the views of the surrounding community. It is this public consultation that determines if you will receive an Approval In Principal Letter (AIP) from the province to move your application forward. It is Thrive’s experience that getting out to canvas the community to understand objections or support for the proposal is extremely helpful. Licensees can then provide details to those who could be misinformed or raise concerns during a public meeting. Thrive works with its clients to develop site specific strategies, including your presentation to the community and council that highlights the value your proposed business brings to the community.
As the saying goes “You only get one chance to make a good first impression”. Developing a strong public consultation package including talking points and a PowerPoint slide presentation or PDF is important. Off-the-cuff presentations are rarely adequate. Your presentation needs polish and focus and should succinctly address the concerns and questions of public and local government.
For a real world example of public consultation preparation and presentation, read the Avenue Cannabis case study.
Questions About Retail Cannabis License Applications? Thrive Has Answers!
If you’re considering starting a retail cannabis business, have questions about the process, licensing, public consultation, or operational strategy, talk to a cannabis consultant at Thrive Advisors. We help start-up businesses and cannabis licensees succeed!