Phases To Opening a Legal Grow

The following is a framework that may be useful to determine how mature a cannabis business idea is, and what steps could be taken to move forward.


The beginning of Ideation is with the specific law that passes within a state or country. Some sort of cannabis access law is signed, and people within that state can now begin to mobilize ideas and effort that, hopefully, fit within what a state allows. The idea begins to bubble, and it forms.

The most important part of this phase is not the idea itself, but a team capable of hitting the early benchmarks in while forming.

Key steps

  • Determine a local jurisdiction to host the proposed business
  • Find a location
  • Write a business plan
  • Find key players
  • Establish initial funding source(s)

Every situation and business is different, so the exact pieces to move on to the next phase are unique also. However, when a business is meticulously planned and forecasted accurately and effectively, ideation is complete.


It is tempting to think that once the business plan and the financial forecasts are established, then an entity is ready to apply. Not so! Now, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty details: before beginning the application process.

Key Steps

  • Acquire the site(s) to operate
  • Bring on expert teams
  • Lobby locally
  • Establish granular plans of operation
  • Secondary funding acquired (if necessary)

It becomes apparent when positioning was overlooked or given inadequate attention when the process moves to acquisition.


The most obvious stage of starting a cannabis cultivation site or dispensary is to get a license. The goal is to know the ins and outs of the first year of operations before the regulating body begins accepting applications. This is why it’s the third phase in this construction.

Key Steps

  • License Deadlines Set by State
  • License Application is Written & Edited
  • Corrections are made (if necessary)
  • Deadlines are met


Once a license is awarded, it is often in a provisional way. The license belongs to the company, pending they hit all standards set by the regulating bodies. Building a compliant and approved business is usually necessary to maintain the license before the first sale.

Key Steps

  • License is acquired
  • Construction begins
  • Equipment is purchased
  • Refine all previous planning
  • Approval from regulators
  • Operations begin
  • Approval from regulators
  • Sales begin

Be Prepared

In a perfect world, the categories laid out here happen in a linear fashion, but this is not always the case. It has happened that the first three phases happen during Acquisition. That might not be an effective way to be awarded a license in a competitive environment.

This framework is not comprehensive and does not replace any of the hard work to achieving an awarded license. But, having a general outline from professionals will give a competitive advantage as more people vie for cultivation, dispensary or processing licenses throughout the US.