You’ve Applied: What’s Next?
You’ve finished your Retail Cannabis Store Licence Application, all of the paperwork is filed, and everything is now in the hands of the Provincial Regulator. What do you do now?
In short: Now, you do everything else. Your work has just begun.
Among other things, you will likely have to finalize your Lease, prepare your construction designs, obtain your building permits, hire your contractors, apply for your Business Licence, apply for your Master Business Licence, arrange your financing, enter into a Shareholders’ Agreement, and start the process of hiring and training your staff.
Let’s go through some of these in greater detail.
When it comes to the Lease Agreement for your premises, one of the most important considerations to take into account is to ensure that you meet the Zoning Bylaw requirements and that you are properly zoned for your intended use; namely, as a Cannabis Retail Store. This is an often-overlooked problem, and it can become an unexpected impediment for many would-be Operators who are caught unawares. Whether their intention is to open a Nightclub, a Restaurant, a Bar, or even something a bit more innocuous like an Art Gallery or a Food Truck, the last thing an entrepreneur with a great concept wants is to sink their money into an exciting, new space, only to find out that they can’t open. Potential Cannabis Retail Operators will have to be doubly as cautious. In this market, failure to Lease the right premises won’t just mean that you will have to apply again once you’ve found the right space - it will also mean that another Applicant will get the Licence that should’ve otherwise been yours.
With respect to the construction of the premises, a lot of the same concerns we’ve highlighted above will apply. You’ll not only have to ensure that your premises are designed in compliance with the applicable Building Code requirements, but also that your premises are designed to comply with any and all of the policies, procedures, and structural aspects that you’ve drafted.
Once your construction is completed, you will be required to obtain your Clearance Letters from the City in order to obtain your occupancy.
Management of the Corporation that will hold the Retail Store Licence will be governed by a Shareholders’ Agreement, which will set out the rights of the Corporation’s Officers, Directors and Shareholders. The Agreement will provide a general blueprint for how the business will operate. While these kinds of Agreements can be made to be fairly straightforward, this will really always depend upon the particular minutiae inherent within any given Corporation. Given especially that the Province is entering into unchartered territories when it comes to the Private Retailing of Cannabis for recreational use, stakeholders in the industry will want to ensure that they are afforded as much protection as possible.
Finally, the staff that you hire must be properly trained to understand the responsibilities imposed upon a Retail Cannabis Store by the Province and the Municipality. By virtue of their employment, staff will also be held to certain Laws and Regulations, the noncompliance with which might lead to legal ramifications. According, it is very important to ensure that the operation of the business is maintained in accordance with the policies and procedures you’ve drafted, as well as in the various bylaws that will be enforced by Provincial and Municipal inspectors.
Vassos Law LLP is available to assist you with this very important process to help you become a prudent and professional operator.