Amanda Connor
Jul 16 2018 . 4 min read



Those hoping to enter the retail marijuana business may be in luck because the Department of Taxation (DOT) is gearing up to issue the latest round of marijuana licenses. This includes licenses to operate retail marijuana stores (and possibly other retail stores). It is anticipated that the DOT will announce when they will accept the applications for new retail stores sometime this month.

This announcement will tell us in which 10-day period the Department will begin accepting these applications. Those who do not meet the requirements this time could potentially have other chances in the future. However, those hoping to earn big in the state’s newest industry may find that obtaining a license to operate a retail marijuana business is quite prohibitive.

First, only existing medical marijuana establishments are eligible to apply for the new round of licenses. To clarify, the applicant for the new retail store must be the company who has the medical marijuana registration certificate to operate the medical marijuana business. Any operational medical marijuana business in good standing is eligible to apply for these new retail stores – including cultivation, production, laboratories and dispensaries. The application must include the proposed name of the marijuana business, as shown in the medical marijuana registration certificate, along with the articles of incorporation, and, of course, any applicable fees.

Although capable of yielding large returns, marijuana licenses can be costly. In addition to a non-refundable $5,000 application fee, applicants must pay additional licensing fees depending on the establishment:

Marijuana Cultivation Facility- $30,000

Marijuana Distributor- $15,000

Marijuana Production Manufacturing Facility- $10,000

Marijuana Testing Facility- $15,000

Dispensary- $20,000


People who do not have medical marijuana registration certificates will not stand a chance of obtaining a license until November 16, 2018 at the earliest, but DOT would have to determine that there is an insufficient number of licenses and open an additional application period.

 For the upcoming retail store applications, pursuant to law, the applications will be merit based. This means they will be ranked and scored. In addition to assessing information about the actual business, DOT will take the owners, officers and board members affiliated with the business into account as well. Applicants must provide the proposed name of the establishment, the type of business (corporation, LLC, partnership, etc.), business registration, and operating hours.

A proposed business plan must address the size of the establishment, floor plans, a “seed to sale” inventory tracking system, testing procedures, how the product will be transported and security procedures. All businesses must demonstrate that adequate funds and resources are available to sustain operation. An education plan must provide education and training to the business’s staff. And lastly, a business must show their operation will not negatively impact the environment and the community.

Additionally, the Department requires information about those individuals who plan on being part of the business. The application must include a chart showing the organizational structure of the business. Further, a list of every owner, officer and board member must be provided, along with a substantial amount of information about each. This includes their title and role in the company, race, ethnicity, gender, any affiliation with another medical marijuana business, past agent card revocation and financial investments in other medical marijuana businesses.

As well, the DOT will consider other factors designed to measure such individual’s qualifications and suitability. These key businesspersons must not have been convicted of a felony. They must also provide a short biography highlighting experience with government agencies, community service, previous business experience, knowledge about the marijuana industry, along with a resume. Current government employees, government contractors, and law enforcement officers should also identify themselves in the application.

Marijuana licenses are highly coveted, as only a limited number are available. This is sure to create a lot of competition for the upcoming licensing period and other licensing periods in the future. DOT will rank applications by factoring the operating member’s relevant experience, diversity, educational achievements, philanthropic ventures, taxes paid, and direct experience in the marijuana industry.

DOT will also rank applications based on the applicant’s financial plan and resources. To discourage monopolies, DOT will not allow the same individual or group to operate more than one retail marijuana store, or more than ten percent of the retail marijuana store licenses allowed in the county, for counties with a population of 100,000 or greater.

It is possible that future rounds of licensing will be available to those who are not already in the industry, however, only a set number of licenses will be available. For now, marijuana, by law, belongs to those already in the industry.