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Licensing

Vicente LLP is a national leader in cannabis business licensing. We have helped clients obtain all types of licenses — cultivation, processing, retail, testing, delivery, etc. — including many through highly competitive application processes. We also routinely help clients secure licenses through non-competitive state and local processes, and we have been doing so for over a decade.

Vicente LLP started helping entrepreneurs obtain cannabis business licenses back in 2010, after firm leaders helped establish the nation’s first state-regulated cannabis market in Colorado. Since then, our attorneys and professional staff have developed extensive experience navigating state and local licensing processes across North America. Their active participation in shaping state and local cannabis laws and regulations provides them with unique insights into these complicated licensing systems. As a result, we have an unparalleled track record of success: Vicente LLP has helped clients successfully obtain licenses in 30 states and hundreds of localities across the U.S. and Canada (see the "Experience" tab below for details).

Vicente LLP provides assistance with all types of state and local licensing applications, including applications for new business licenses, license renewals, social equity and economic empowerment programs, changes of ownership, changes of location, modification of premises, and occupational licensing. We oversee the application process, create work plans, draft narratives, and play a critical role in the production of business plans, financials, and operating manuals, providing confidential legal and strategic advice related to all facets of the process and your business. We have also developed comprehensive industry-specific manuals and intellectual property to assist clients when applying in new markets. From the initial completion and review of applications to complex processes involving existing facilities, our team can quickly assess a client's needs and provide them with the guidance and practical knowledge necessary for continued success.

LEADERSHIP

Founding Partner

Services

  • Assistance with all types of state and local licensing applications, including applications for new business licenses, license renewals, changes of ownership, changes of location, modification of premises, and occupational licensing

  • Assistance with finding of suitability applications and other financial disclosure applications

  • Development of standard operating procedures and implementation of industry best practices

  • Obtaining required state and local tax permits

  • Development of business plans, including market analysis and financial projections

  • Regulatory reviews of licensing applications and supporting documents

  • Representation at state and local licensing hearings

  • Development of community engagement and outreach plans and establishing of local support
  • Renewal tracking and assistance for all license types

Experience

Vicente LLP has assisted clients in obtaining all types of cannabis licenses:

  • Cultivation
  • Delivery
  • Hospitality
  • Processing / Manufacturing
  • Retail / Dispensary
  • Testing
  • Transport / Distribution

We have helped clients successfully secure licenses in the following 30 states, as well as dozens of localities across the U.S. and Canada:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Vicente LLP has helped clients obtain licenses through some of the most competitive state and local application processes in the country. The following is a sample of our track record:

  • California — Helped a client obtain approval for local storefront and delivery licenses in West Hollywood, where over 300 screening applications were submitted by more than 120 different applicants, and the city awarded only eight authorizations to proceed for each license type.

  • Colorado — In the city of Aurora, helped a client win one of 27 local adult-use cannabis business licenses, receiving the highest score of the 57 applications submitted.

  • Connecticut — Helped clients win almost 30% of all available adult-use cannabis licenses in the first-round lottery. Also helped a client win a state medical cannabis dispensary license, when just nine were awarded and 73 applications were submitted. 

  • Florida Helped a client win one of the first state medical cannabis cultivation/distribution licenses, when only five were awarded and 28 applications were submitted.

  • Georgia — Helped a client win a Class 2 Production License, when 4 were awarded and 48 applications were submitted. Vicente LLP’s client received one of the top three scores of the submitted applications. 
  • Hawaii — Helped a client win a state medical cannabis dispensary license, when only eight were awarded and 66 applications were submitted.

  • Maryland — Helped a client win one of 15 state medical cannabis cultivation licenses and one of 15 medical cannabis processing licenses, when 145 cultivation applications and 124 processing applications were submitted, respectively. Also helped win three state medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

  • Michigan — In Northfield Township, helped a client win a local adult-use retail license and a medical provisioning center license, when only three of each license type were awarded.
  • Minnesota — Helped a client win one of only two state medical cannabis cultivation licenses that were awarded. 

  • Missouri — When the state awarded 24 medical cannabis dispensary licenses in each congressional district, Vicente LLP helped clients win a license in District 5 (where 182 applications were submitted), District 6 (where 168 applications were submitted, and District 7 (where 141 applications were submitted). Also helped clients win four of the 86 state medical cannabis manufacturing licenses awarded (415 applications were submitted) and one of only 10 state medical cannabis testing licenses, receiving the highest score of the 17 applications submitted. Additionally, Vicente LLP helped a client win one of 60 state medical cannabis cultivation licenses (554 applications were submitted) to achieve vertical integration.

  • Nevada — Helped clients win four of the 60 state cannabis businesses licenses awarded, receiving the highest and second-highest scores of the 109 applications submitted.

  • New Jersey — Helped a client win a medical cultivation license, when 10 were awarded and 40 applications were submitted. Vicente LLP's client received one of the top five highest scores of the submitted applications.
  • New York — Helped clients acquire conditional cultivator and conditional processor licenses, the first adult-use cannabis license types available in the state. Also helped a client win a state medical cannabis cultivation license, when only four were awarded and 43 applications were submitted.

  • North Dakota — Helped a client win one of only two state medical cannabis cultivation/manufacturing licenses, receiving the highest score of the 19 applications submitted.

  • Ohio — Helped a client win one of only 12 large medical cannabis cultivation licenses awarded by the state, receiving the highest score of the 109 total applications submitted. Also helped win one medical cannabis processor license and three dispensary licenses.

  • Pennsylvania — Helped a client win a state medical cannabis dispensary license, when only 27 were awarded and 282 applications were submitted. In Erie and Pittsburgh, helped a client win local clinical registrant dispensary and grower/processor permits in a highly competitive application process that saw only one permit awarded in each locality.

  • South Dakota — Helped a client acquire local and state applications to become one of the first licensed dispensaries in the state. Submitted one of the only applications without a single deficiency. 

  • Utah — Helped a client win one of eight state medical cannabis cultivation licenses (81 applications were submitted), as well as a state medical cannabis processing license.

  • Virginia — Helped a client win a vertically integrated state medical cannabis license, when only five were awarded and 51 applications were submitted.

  • West Virginia — Helped a client win state cultivation and processing licenses, when only 10 of each license type were awarded and dozens of applications were submitted. Vicente LLP also helped a client win six of the initial 100 dispensary licenses awarded by the state. 

People

Data Analyst

Director of Licensing – Northeast Region

Senior Associate Attorney

Associate Attorney

Director of Regulatory Policy

Director of Licensing - California

Founding Partner

Director of Regulatory Compliance

Licensing Project Administrator

Licensing Project Manager

Licensing Specialist

Associate Attorney

Vice President of Eastern Markets and Business Intelligence

Director of Licensing - Colorado

Founding Partner

News

Washington, D.C. Medical Cannabis Program Update: Open Application Periods for Retail Licenses and Increased Enforcement Against Unlicensed Operators

By David M. Ullian
Feb 26, 2024

Washington, D.C. will soon be accepting applications for new medical cannabis retail licenses. The application process is divided into two periods, with Social Equity Applicants getting priority and an earlier application window. This blog details the two available license types, eligibility requirements, and the application process. Additionally, it outlines new enforcement actions against unlicensed I-71 cannabis “gifting” businesses.

Missouri Updates and New Licensing Opportunities

By Colleen Mitchell
Feb 14, 2024

Missouri's cannabis market is expanding rapidly, offering a new opportunity for microbusinesses. The state plans to issue 48 microbusiness licenses in summer 2024, allowing smaller players to enter the cultivation, processing, and dispensary sectors. However, applications are competitive and require careful preparation, including team building, business formation, and real estate acquisition. This Insights post provides key details about the licensing process and eligibility criteria.

New Funding Opportunity for Maryland’s Social Equity Cannabis Business Applicants

By Meg Nash, Bridgette Nikisher
Feb 7, 2024

Maryland's Cannabis Business Assistance Loan/Grant Fund is offering grants to help social equity applicants cover costs associated with obtaining a cannabis business license. The program reimburses up to 50% of eligible expenses, with a maximum of $5,000. Applications open February 19th and close March 20th. Read this Insights post to learn more about eligibility, qualifying expenses, and how to apply.

Minnesota Cannabis Regulators Announce Plans to Launch Adult-Use Dispensaries by Summer 2024

By Jason Tarasek
Feb 2, 2024

Minnesota dispensaries could be a reality by summer! The OCM unveiled an ambitious plan to speed up the launch, proposing temporary regulations and licensing reforms. Focusing on social equity, product availability, and education, they are streamlining the process by removing initial premise requirements, local government involvement, and even suggesting a new social equity classification. Read this Insights post for the latest update on Minnesota’s cannabis business regulations.

Social Equity and Interstate Competition: Maryland Cannabis Regulation Under Scrutiny in Federal Court

By Meg Nash, Bridgette Nikisher
Jan 31, 2024

A recent lawsuit filed against the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) threatens to delay the highly anticipated cannabis business license lottery. The lawsuit alleges that the MCA's social equity licensing program unfairly favors Maryland residents, potentially violating the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This blog post explains the specifics of the lawsuit, its potential impact on the licensing process, and the broader legal questions surrounding residency requirements in cannabis licensing.

Maryland Cannabis Business License Application Submission Guide

By Meg Nash, Bridgette Nikisher
Nov 6, 2023

Maryland’s first adult-use licensing round is almost here! Do you have what you need? We’ve prepared a list to help guide you toward submission.The 30-day application period opens next week on November 13, 2023, at midnight ET and closes on December 12, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.

Maryland Releases New Cannabis License Application Information

By Meg Nash
Oct 24, 2023

The Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA) recently released new information about the upcoming licensing round, including application instructions, an evaluation worksheet, and application templates. MCA also published an FAQ page. Read on for a summary of key information.

New York Cannabis Business Applications Are Live and the Deadline is Extended: What We’ve Learned

By Bridgette Nikisher
Oct 18, 2023

New York’s adult-use regulations are effective and the first application period for certain adult-use licenses is underway! At the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) meeting on October 17, 2023, CCB announced that they are extending the deadline for applications by two weeks. Read this Insights article for details related to Social and Economic Equity Applicant applications, how many licenses will be awarded, the review and selection process, property control and proximity protection, and true parties of interest disclosures.

[Vicente LLP Event] Minnesota Hemp & Cannabis Seminar

Sep 18, 2023

Join the Vicente LLP team in Minneapolis for another can’t-miss hemp and cannabis legal and business seminar on October 19, 2023. The event will feature Vicente LLP hemp and cannabis business attorneys Michelle Bodian, Travis Copenhaver, Jeremy Shaw and Jason Tarasek, along with special guests Sen. Lindsey Port and cannabis accountant Angela L’Esperance of Ms. Jane Accounting.

[Webinar] Preparing for New York Cannabis Business Licensing

Sep 14, 2023

New York's adult-use cannabis licensing is set to open in the fall, and members of Vicente LLP’s New York team and a special guest from Dutchie provide answers to the “who, what, where, when and how” questions on the minds of prospective Empire State cannabis licensees during this webinar replay.

Cannabis Business Licensing Opportunities in Southern California

By Emily Hackman, Ashley Davies
Sep 12, 2023

Cannabis storefront retail and microbusiness license opportunities in Southern California have largely been few and far between. However, the City of Redondo Beach and the City of Santee are two great opportunities to expand or establish a foothold in the Southern California cannabis retail market. Read this article for a summary of the current status of each jurisdiction's application and licensing process.

Maryland Cannabis Administration Releases Social Equity Verification Tool in Preparation for Cannabis Business Licensing

By Yolanda Clarke, Meg Nash
Sep 1, 2023

The Maryland Cannabis Administration and its Office of Social Equity took another step toward the first round of adult-use social equity licensing in the state with the announcement that their social equity verification portal will go live on September 8. This first round of adult-use licensing will be for standard or micro grower, processor, and dispensary license types. Only social equity applicants are eligible to take part in this first round and to qualify, you must first be officially verified as a social equity applicant.

[Webinar] Washington, DC Cannabis Business Licensing Update

Aug 24, 2023

Washington, DC's Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022 overhauls the existing medical cannabis program, significantly expands access for registered patients, and creates a variety of new business opportunities for operators. Watch this session to learn about DC’s new medical cannabis statute and new license opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Oklahoma Cannabis Operators Should Be Alert of Increased Enforcement and Heightened License Application Scrutiny from OMMA

By Genevieve Meehan, Emily Hackman
Jul 26, 2023

As cannabis markets mature, regulatory agencies typically increase compliance enforcement through inspections and audits. It has become increasingly clear that The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has shifted toward increased and escalated enforcement and heightened license application scrutiny. Learn more about this shift and review the updated OMMA inspection forms by reading this Insights article.

[Webinar] Maryland Cannabis Licensing: What We Know, What We’re Waiting For, and How to Get Started Now

Jul 19, 2023

With Maryland’s regulated cannabis industry opening up new opportunities for licensees and ancillary businesses in the coming months, questions remain about the Old Line State’s adult-use cannabis regulations and their impact on licensing, where licensed cannabis businesses can and will be located, MCA’s upcoming license lottery process, and more. Watch this recorded session for a deep dive into what we know, what we’re waiting for, and how to start smart now in Maryland.

Washington, DC Medical Cannabis Expansion and New Licensing Opportunities

By David M. Ullian
Jun 28, 2023

The Medical Cannabis Amendment Act of 2022 is a new law that overhauls Washington, DC’s existing medical cannabis program, significantly expands access for registered patients, and creates a variety of new business opportunities for operators. This article provides a high-level overview of some of the Act’s key provisions and new business opportunities.

Cannabis Microbusiness Licensing Opportunities in Missouri

By Alex Solome, Colleen Mitchell
Jun 6, 2023

The Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation’s microbusiness dispensary application instructions and sample application form are now live! Applications will be accepted from July 27 through August 10. If you’re interested in applying for a cannabis microbusiness license in Missouri, read this article for more details and reach out to our licensing team to get started.

Upcoming Cannabis Business Licensing Opportunities Across the U.S.

By Jerrico Perez
May 22, 2023

Opportunities for growth across the nation are currently abundant for cannabis businesses, and our experienced team is here to help you navigate these increasingly complex and competitive licensing processes. With more winning merit-based applications than any other law firm in the country, our team’s work ethic, dedication, and experience will help elevate your application above the competition and set your business up for long-term success.

Revised New York Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations: What You Need to Know

By Michelle Bodian, Elliot Choi, Brandon Kurtzman, Charles Alovisetti
May 11, 2023

On May 11, 2023, New York’s Cannabis Control Board voted to approve the revised adult-use cannabis regulations. The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has indicated adult-use cannabis applications will open up in the fall, meaning these revised regulations will function as our roadmap. This article outlines key changes in the revised regulations.

Key Takeaways from Maryland’s Adult-Use Cannabis Implementation Bills Awaiting Governor Moore's Signature

By Sahar Ayinehsazian, Sam Kovach-Orr
Apr 26, 2023

Maryland's adult-use cannabis implementation bills are currently awaiting Governor Wes Moore's signature after the House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee collaborated to create alignment between the two pending bills, HB556 and SB516. Read this article for key takeaways, including who will oversee cannabis regulation, revised definitions and limits, and important changes to licensing.

Cannabis License Types and Timelines in Maryland Adult-Use Regulation Bill Awaiting Governor's Signature

By Jen Flanagan, Meg Nash, Sam Kovach-Orr
Apr 12, 2023

Roughly two months after the introduction of cross-filed bills relating to regulating adult-use cannabis in Maryland, HB556 and SB516, the General Assembly passed a final version of the bill and sent it to Gov. Wes Moore for his signature. Read this article for highlighted proposed provisions affecting current and future licenses, including license types and timelines.

Michelle Bodian Will Discuss Connecticut Cannabis Licensing and Regulatory Updates at Xpocanna Cannabis Convention

Mar 15, 2023

Are you ready to jump into the Connecticut cannabis market? Attend this Xpocanna session with Vicente partner Michelle Bodian on March 25 for reflections on the Nutmeg State’s 2022 licensing lottery process, guidance for applying in 2023, and insight into what’s might be coming during this year from the legislature, Dept of Consumer Protection, and the Social Equity Council.

Oregon Psilocybin Services Releases New Proposed Rules and Public Comment Period

By Yolanda Clarke, Jamie Greenwood
Nov 16, 2022

In another exciting step towards implementing psilocybin services, the Oregon Psilocybin Services Section issued updated proposed rules under the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act this month, making significant changes to the previous iteration. Make your voices heard! The public comment period is open through November 21, 2022.

Ocean State Cannabis Update: Municipal Approvals for Adult Use Retail in Rhode Island Provide Ample Opportunity for Interested Applicants

By Jen Flanagan, Sam Kovach-Orr, Meg Nash, Bridgette Nikisher
Nov 16, 2022

Widespread support for allowing cannabis retail sales in Rhode Island municipalities significantly expands opportunities for potential applicants seeking to obtain one of the 24 cannabis retail licenses expected to be available in 2023. Read this article for insight into what to expect next and how to prepare.

Tax Credits Available for Investing in Connecticut Cannabis Companies

By Michelle Bodian, Bridgette Nikisher
Nov 15, 2022

Who wants free money for investing in a Connecticut cannabis company? CT's Cannabis Angel Tax Credit Program provides a way for investors to receive a 25% tax credit against the state income tax when they invest at least $25k in an approved social equity cannabis licensee.

The Evolution of the Cannabis Industry in Massachusetts

By David Ullian, Jennifer Flanagan
Nov 2, 2022

This Bloomberg Law article by David Ullian and Jen Flanagan explores the evolution of the Massachusetts adult-use cannabis industry and how lawmakers, regulators, and industry advocates contributed to key recent legislative and regulatory developments.

New York Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Retail Dispensary Regulations Will Fast-track Licensing and Prioritize Justice Involved Individuals

By Michelle Bodian, Jennifer Cabrera, Bridgette Nikisher
Aug 16, 2022

On August 12, 2022, New York state announced the application window for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary Licenses (CAURD), which will be the first batch of adult-use retail licenses released in New York. CAURD applications will be available starting August 25, 2022 and close on September 26, 2022.

How to Get Started on Your New York Cannabis Business License Application

By Brandon Kurtzman, Bridgette Nikisher
Jul 5, 2022

To beat the summer slump, VS’s New York team created an eight-part series of VS Insights to help you prepare for your New York cannabis business license application. Read the first article of the series, which focuses on helpful tips to put your best foot forward for the licensing process.

Mississippi Legalizes Medical Cannabis: Key Takeaways from the MMCA

By Sally Kent Peebles
Feb 3, 2022

The Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA) is poised to achieve what no other southern state has yet to accomplish—the development of a refreshingly non-competitive licensed program that should allow for greater patient access and lower barriers to entry for those interested in participating in this exciting industry.

10 Updates on New York’s Cannabis Market

By Charles Alovisetti, Michelle Bodian, Brandon Kurtzman
Jan 18, 2022

While we still don’t have draft or final cannabis regulations, applications, or a definitive timetable, plenty of new information has come out since legalization. Read this article for ten key updates about New York’s market in the past year.

5 Years of Legal Cannabis in Massachusetts

By David M. Ullian, Gabriel Amatruda
Nov 8, 2021

Five years in, the Commonwealth has seen the most significant growth in both the number of cannabis businesses and sales, and the market continues to expand and provide new opportunities.

[Webinar] Cannabis Real Estate Considerations

Oct 12, 2021

Watch this recorded session where members of VS’s real estate practice discuss cannabis real estate issues, including lease considerations, financing, and local jurisdiction laws that may affect your business. 

Can't-miss Cannabis Business Opportunities in New and Growing Markets

By Jerrico Perez
Aug 21, 2020

Vicente Sedeberberg LLP continues to identify exclusive licensing opportunities for our clients. With more winning merit-based applications than any other law firm in the country, our team’s work ethic, dedication, and experience can help elevate your application above the competition.

Cannabis Business Licensing Opportunities Amidst COVID-19

By Jerrico Perez
May 13, 2020

Vicente Sedeberberg LLP continues to identify exclusive licensing opportunities for our clients. With more winning merit-based applications than any other law firm in the country, our team’s work ethic, dedication, and experience can help elevate your application above the competition.

Public Companies Can Now Own Cannabis Licenses in Colorado

By Charles Alovisetti, Jessica Scardina, Ben Leonard, Carl Werner, and Justin Johnson
Nov 18, 2019

HB-1090 is live and Colorado's cannabis industry is officially open to publicly-traded companies and out-of-state investors. Find out what we've learned so far about this brand-new system.

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