David Hodes and Helen Stone of Cannabis Business Times says they reached out to six licensing consultants, growers and cultivation-business owners who have a record of winning licenses for their tips on how to create a winning marijuana-license application.

They report that Founding Partner of Canna Advisors Jay Czarkowski says, “Passion for the industry is not enough to win a license. It’s getting … a lot more competitive.” Czarkowski says businesses need three things to make their application stand out compared to the rest: a great team, strong local support and excellent application narratives and financial modeling.

He goes on to further explain what these three indicators entail. He says a great team includes members that are well-rounded and show expertise in multiple areas including finance, facilities management, controlled environment horticulture, manufacturing, retail, health care and security.

President of Cultivation and Co-founder of MJardin James Lowe says he believes a good cultivation team is an absolute must. He says your team should have true commercial experience, not grow-in-your-basement experience because a lot of concepts that apply to home growing don’t apply to a true horticultural, commercial operation.

Czarkowski also says businesses should have strong local support, meaning cannabis businesses should have a strong positive relationship with the community. He says this could involve implementing a program or programs that will benefit community members.

Lastly, Czarkowski says excellent narratives include details regarding how you intend to build, run and maintain your business along with containing strong financial governance.

For example, COO of Clear River, LLC Van McConnon says it’s important to raise enough capital and maintain good cash flow. He says, “Your budget per application in a regulated market should be about $200,000 to $250,000. And part of it is just paying professionals to get it done.”

He also says businesses applying for a license should have a consultant or partner with experience in the marijuana business, one or two attorneys, an architect, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and state and local lobbyists. He says businesses local partners and professionals will influence success just as much as their marijuana consultant.

Overall, McConnon says to make sure your business has a complete plan before applying for a cannabis business license because most competitive license applications require one.