With 109 approved growers and 500 more in the pipeline, Canada’s field of licensed cultivators is getting more crowded every week.
That makes having a solid cultivation license application and navigating the regulatory process as efficiently as possible all the more important.
David Hyde of Toronto-based David Hyde & Associates, one of Canada’s top consultants on cultivation licensing, has seen it all, from “amazing plans to back-of-the-napkin.”
A longer application process, he said, can often be the result of simply having a bad floor plan.
“Significant delays in licensing can result from an applicant failing to strike the right amount of detail or label their plan properly,” Hyde said.
“Time is money. You want to get your applications in so you can hitch your wagon to legalization as soon as possible.”
Marijuana Business Daily talked with Hyde about some of the biggest mistakes he’s seen in reviewing more than 300 floor plans.
Mistake 1: Failing to get the right people early
Since the application process can take years if it’s started from scratch, getting people with specialized skill sets involved as early as possible is crucial, Hyde said.
Who should be at the table?
A cultivation specialist, processing authority, someone who has operational licensed producer experience, a security expert, a quality-assurance specialist and, of course, a representative from the business end to weigh costs.
Mistake 2: Not adapting to new realities
Hyde spends a lot of time with clients dispelling the myth that altered floor plans lead to delays in processing cultivation applications.
“Often times there is zero delay, depending on where they’re at in the process,” he said. “If they’re later in the process, we’re going to want to massage it in by reaching out to Health Canada first.”
The ability and willingness to update your floor plan is important because a lot can change in the years it takes to process an application.
“If they come up with a design that’s more compliant, more operationally efficient, and will ultimately run for less money and make more cannabis, they should make those changes,” he said.
“I say you’ve got to change that floor plan, because Health Canada under the AMCPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) is very understanding of the evolution of this industry.”
Mistake 3: Wasting time on perfection
The right amount of detail at the right time in the application process is essential.
Since there are over 500 applicants in the pipeline, any delay in the process could be a costly proposition for prospective licensees.
“There are people in front of you, so time is of the essence. Legalization is on the doorstep,” Hyde said. “We don’t want to mess around for a year building the application.”
Companies can spend months getting into the weeds of the structure, instead of submitting an application and making amendments where needed.
Health Canada wants to see an uncluttered, well-labeled and well-laid-out floor plan, Hyde said.
“Get the application in. Once we’re in the queue and we’re moving, pivot to the detail,” he said. “Now you have time while you’re waiting for the application to go through – that’s when you spend time on all the detail.
“Sometimes there’s way too much detail and it takes too long. And by the time you get it in, it might be the best floor plan in Canada, but now you’re another 50 applicants behind.”