For the past several months, many hopeful businesses and entrepreneurs have been waiting for the results of three separate lottery drawings that will determine the winners of the newest Illinois cannabis licenses. Winners of this rather unusual lottery will have the chance to enter one of the hottest cannabis markets in the U.S. that hit a record $128 million in sales in July 2021.
With so much at stake for the winners of the Illinois cannabis license lotteries, it helps to have a gameplan in place should you be one of the lucky recipients. Let’s talk about what you should do after you’re awarded a license.
Review Illinois Cannabis License Regulations
The first thing you’ll want to do is familiarize yourself with current Illinois cannabis regulations. Keep in mind that there are some differences in the regulations surrounding medical cannabis and adult use cannabis, and since adult use cannabis is relatively new to Illinois, it’s important to review the new guidelines even if you’ve been awarded a medical cannabis license in the past.
Speaking from experience, we know that as states’ legal cannabis programs mature, the regulatory requirements can change quite frequently. It’s good practice to regularly review the rules and regulations, and ensure that your policies and procedures are up to date.
Most importantly, make sure that your staff is properly trained and knowledgeable about key regulations. Employees play a vital role in the overall compliance of a business and a comprehensive employee training program is imperative to safeguarding your license.
Seek Out Commercial Real Estate
With the natural uncertainty that comes with the lottery process, it’s understandable that you may not have selected a location for your actual business yet.
For recipients of Illinois Dispensary Licenses, location selection is a key component to your business’ success. Many factors come into play when selecting the right location, but an experienced commercial real estate agent should be able to guide you through the process and understand the unique requirements associated with operating a successful dispensary.
Illinois Cultivation License winners on the other hand have a completely different set of criteria when looking for a space to operate.
Whichever license type you receive, there are existing resources available that can help you secure a viable and profitable location. Below is a short list that can help you start your research.
Select the RIght Software Partner
The primary focus of every business decision you make in the cannabis industry should take into consideration one thing above all else; compliance. Adherence to Illinois regulatory requirements is crucial to avoiding hefty fines and keeping your cannabis license in good standing. The software system that you choose to help you run your business has to be built with a focus on compliance.
For dispensaries, this should include sales limits, customizable inventory tracking and hardware integrations, while cultivators should focus on tracking plants through the various stages and plant lineage identification in case of recalls.
When vetting vendors, make sure you are partnering with companies that have a proven track record in the industry, and remember most of the time you get what you pay for. Be wary if a deal sounds too good to be true.
Not only has BioTrack been a trusted seed-to-sale tracking software provider in the cannabis industry since 2010, it is also the official Illinois Cannabis State Traceability System.
Configure Your Hardware Stack
It’s important to understand both the physical limitations inside your business’ location, and the optimal hardware you need based on the software you choose before you purchase the computers, printers, barcode scanners and other tech that you’ll need to effectively run your operation.
The cannabis industry can present unusual challenges when considering hardware specs, especially in cultivation environments. High humidity or exposure to prolonged outdoor usage are important factors to consider when selecting equipment.
Being awarded a cannabis business license is a big win, especially in a state as competitive as Illinois. Once the initial celebration of winning a license is over, however, that’s when the real work begins.
The decisions that you make early on will play a key role in the success of the business and it’s critical to align yourself with the right industry partners.
So, if you’ve been fortunate enough to be awarded a license, let us be among the first to congratulate you. Now do yourself a favor and let the experts at BioTrack help you run an efficient and compliant cannabis business.