Cannabis Industry

Cannabis is currently the fastest growing industry in the United States of America. While there are hundreds of ways to get involved in the industry, licenses to grow, sell and/or create Cannabis-infused products have become the most coveted vertical in the industry. If you are interested in getting involved in starting a Cannabis business but don’t know where to start, make sure you conduct your own research.  There are a number of trade organizations and industry experts that could help guide you in the right direction.  Agilite Consulting Group can also assist you in making sure you are compliant and your operations are cost-effective.  We understand that this process could be tedious and overwhelming so our goal is to make sure you have weighed all options and considered the best course of action for long term success.  We offer practical,and validated advice to help you find your way.  Contact us for a free initial consultation. In the meantime,take a look around our website!  Best of luck to you, and remember We Are Your Silver Lining.

Things to consider before starting a Cannabis related company

Step 1: Assess your commitment and eligibility

Considering the money you will spend opening a dispensary, trying to operate one illegally is not worth the risk.

Step 2: Do your research

To be successful as a dispensary owner, you must understand not only the existing laws around marijuana cultivation and sales, but also the proposed laws and changes that will go into effect in coming years.

Step 3: Find a rental property

It’s important to remember that, because of the ever-changing environment of the Cannabis industry, a property that is compliant now might not be in two years.  Make sure that when you do access a property that it will be consistent with new laws.  Additionally, make sure you don’t purchase property that is not conducive to growing nor complies with zoning laws.  

Step 4: Write a business plan

When an industry is saturated in the way the cannabis industry is, it’s all the more important that you appear professional and prepared with a solid business plan.

Step 5: Determine your budget

This is the most important item in determining if your are ready to start a Cannabis Business.   Besides your product costs, there are other considerations for your budget: Rent cost, Cost of license, Licensing application fee,Employee salary, Transportation and storage of product, Security

Step 6: Get Licensed

Getting licensed to open a Cannabis dispensary is usually difficult and expensive. You can easily spend thousands of dollars in legal expenses to get their license.  It would be wise to get verifiable assistance in this area.  Be prepared to spend a lot of time on compliance and have a lot of resources ready for that,.  One item of note, once compliance, you still need to stay compliant.

Step 7: Obtain Product

Depending on what type of product or service you intend to offer will determine your course of action.  Obtaining a good product for your Cannabis business, and ensuring you do it legally, will be a central part of being successful. Many cannapreneurs want to grow their own cannabis, and in some states this is mandatory. However, there are a significant amount of legalities surrounding cultivation facilities.  

Step 8: Market your business

Marketing through social media accounts like Instagram, encouraging customers to give Google reviews, and keeping your website updated with proper SEO strategies.  It’s also important to check into the regulations around marketing your dispensary. There are many methods that can’t be used in  certain states. 

Step 9: Stay informed

With Cannabis legislation changing often, it is important to stay abreast of new information even after you’ve launched your venture, to ensure you are operating in a safe and legal manner. Refer to the resources below for more information.

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Extraction Techniques

Extraction techniques are used to separate the components of cannabis and remove them from the plant matrix. Various methods can divide cannabis plant material into parts, or extracts, that contain different chemicals. With cannabis, extraction techniques are often used to isolate specific desirable compounds, and cannabis contains at least 113 cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). On the other hand, a producer may seek to create a single extract with many desirable cannabis compounds; sometimes called whole plant extracts. Including the better-known cannabinoids, scientists have identified more than 550 chemicals in cannabis in general including components like terpenes. Extraction techniques are also used to concentrate chemicals of interest.  Before embarking on the journey of manufacturing Cannabis products, it is important that you consider the various types of extraction techniques and weigh cost-effectiveness and quality. 

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Research and Development

While many producers and applicants are keen to have an R&D department, few seem to understand what this entails.  Companies should ask themselves what they want R&D to do for them– i.e., what is the desired end result? To create a unique finished product and the manufacturing technology required? Or to create a unique nutrient formula and test this on live cannabis plants? There are many reasons why a company may want to achieve an R&D Licence, and at the end of the day if they want to be in possession of cannabis material or live plants (for whatever reason), the R&D Licence is the vehicle to achieve this.

Within the context of an R&D Licence, a company would likely be setting up an experimental laboratory for the purpose of research and development. This requires a considerable amount of forethought and planning, not to mention procedures, validation work and equipment sourcing. Agilite Consulting Group has expertise from Cancer Research institutions, pharmaceutical and other sectors related to R&D in order to design a laboratory facility, achieve the R&D Licence, sourcing/qualifying/installing equipment, software validation, SOPs, security system design/implementation and general research support.

Contact us today to start the conversation around achieving a Research & Development Licence within the Cannabis industry.

Quality Assurance

A “readiness program” is a complete set of customized policies and procedures which are customized to our client’s operation, building on the foundation of the Quality Management System.  Readiness programs are designed to prepare a facility for real-world operations ahead of “switching on the lights”. It is common for our readiness programs to cover the following:

  • Documentation procedures
  • Production-related procedures
  • Quality assurance procedures
  • Quality control procedures
  • Sanitation procedures
  • Record-keeping procedures
  • Security procedures
  • Equipment maintenance-related procedures
  • Material handling procedures
  • Post-licence obligations by the Licensee
  • Material/genetic sourcing

The journey of obtaining a licence starts with an application and a foundation of policy and procedures. The real work around becoming operationally ready involves customizing and fine-tuning these to a specific facility that has been fully built out and prepared to operate. Throughout the application stages, our clients’ plans often change, but once their facility is completed and their initial team is hired, a readiness program takes their business from concept to reality.

We help cannabis producers implement readiness programs, including the collection of compliance evidence with regards to security and quality. Our team of dedicated full-time compliance experts can create a readiness program to get your facility up and running and firing on all cylinders. Contact us today to start a conversation.

What Citizens Need to Know about Georgia’s Medical Marijuana Law

Georgia’s medical marijuana law allows certain qualified persons to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil,” which is derived from the marijuana plant. It authorizes the Georgia Department of Public Health to issue a “Low THC Oil Registry Card” to qualified persons, which will prove that they are authorized to have the oil and protect them from arrest.

How does Georgia’s law compare to laws in other states which have adopted medical marijuana?

Georgia’s law is much more limited than some other states’ medical marijuana laws. For example, it does not legalize the sale or possession of marijuana in leaf form and it does not authorize the production or sale of food products infused with low THC oil or the ingestion of low THC oil through vapor. It does not authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. It is intended solely to protect qualified persons from criminal prosecution for possessing low THC oil for medicinal purposes.

Who is eligible for the “Low THC Oil Registry Card”?

There are three categories of persons who may apply for the card:

an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;

legal guardians of an adult who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law;

parents or legal guardians of a minor child who has one or more of the diseases specified in the law.

What conditions or diseases are covered by the law?

The law lists the following conditions and diseases which qualify for the Low THC Oil Registry:

  • Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness or recalcitrant nausea and vomiting
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
  • Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Mitochondrial disease
  • Parkinson’s disease, when such diagnosis is sever or end stage
  • Sickle cell disease, when such diagnosis is severe or end stage
  • Tourette’s syndrome, when such syndrome is diagnosed as severe
  • Autism spectrum disorder, when (a) patient is 18 years of age or more, or (b) patient is less than 18 years of age and diagnosed with severe autism
  • Epidermolysis bullosa
  • Alzheimer’s disease, when such disease is severe or end stage
  • AIDS when such syndrome is severe or end stage
  • Peripheral neuropathy, when symptoms are severe or end stage
  • Patient is in hospice program, either as inpatient or outpatient
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from direct exposure to or witnessing of a trauma for a patient who is at least 18 years of age

What if more than one person is caring for the child or adult?

If there is more than one parent or legal guardian, then each may apply for a separate card.

How do I apply for the Low THC Registry Card?

The application is actually sent in by the physician who is treating the patient. There are two forms. First, there is a waiver form which must be signed by both the applicant and the physician. Second, there is a physician certification form. The physician will keep the original waiver and certification form in the patient’s medical records. You may request a copy. The physician will electronically submit the information from these forms to the Georgia Department of Public Health, which will review the information and create a Low THC Oil Registry Card for qualified applicants.

Where will I get my Low THC Registry Card? Will it be mailed to me?

You will be notified when your card has been printed. A representative from DPH’s Office of Vital Records will contact you to establish which of 20 Public Health Offices across the state is most convenient for you to pick up your card. A representative from the Public Health Office selected will notify you when your card is available for pick-up.

How much does the card cost? How do I pay for it?

The fee for a Low THC Registry Card is $25 per new card, which is the standard fee used by the Office of Vital Records. You will be asked to pay for your card when you pick it up from the closest of the 20 Public Health Offices approved to distribute them.

How long is the card valid?

The card will be valid for two years from the date it is issued. The expiration date will be printed on the front of the card. After that time, you will need to again consult with your physician and request that they update and confirm your information into the registry. Please plan to allow 15 business days to process your information, print your card and have it ready for pick-up from the closest of the 20 Public Health Offices approved to distribute them to the address you list as your residence in the registry.

What happens if I lose my card?

If you lose your card, please contact the State Office of Vital Records at 404-679-4702 option 4. If your card has not expired, your physician will be contacted to confirm you are still under their care. Once confirmed, a replacement card will be provided to you. Please plan to allow 15 business days to process your information, print your card and have it ready for pick-up at your closest Public Health Office. Replacement cards will cost $25.

The information on my card is wrong or outdated. How do I correct it?

If the information on your card is wrong or outdated, please contact the State Office of Vital Records at 404-679-4702 option 4. Vital Records will verify the information provided by your physician on your order. If the information on the order is incorrect, you will need to contact your physician and ask that they update the information. At that time a new card will be issued.

Can I alter or laminate my card?

Cards can be laminated; however, a card is void if any changes are made to it.

Where can I buy low THC oil?

Under House Bill 324, the Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, which is administratively assigned to the Secretary of State’s Office, will oversee the growing, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Public Health does not prescribe or dispense low THC oil.

Is marijuana now legal? Where can I buy it?

No. The law only authorizes the legal possession of up to 20 fluid ounces of low THC oil by qualified persons. It does not make the sale or possession of all types of marijuana legal in Georgia. Possession of any form of marijuana by an unauthorized person is and remains a violation of state and federal law.

Can I now sell medical marijuana?

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission will issue a limited number of licenses for the growing, manufacturing, and dispensing of low THC oil in Georgia. It is a violation of state and federal law for unauthorized persons to sell any form of marijuana.