Getting a cannabis business license is no easy task. For starters, your state has to allow cannabis licenses in the first place, which is obviously not always the case. You also have to be able to afford the cost of the cannabis license, which is not always refundable if your application is denied. And of course there is still the application itself, which can be confusing, and usually require the assistance of an attorney.
There is also license quantity limitations to consider. For instance, Illinois is in the process of accepting applications for cultivation centers and dispensaries for it’s medical marijuana program. There will only be 22 dispensary licenses and 60 cultivation licenses up for grabs to start. That’s for the entire state. Competition will no doubt be fierce, which is leading to at least one Gubernatorial candidate, Republican Bruce Rauner, calling for an auction for those licenses. Per the Sun Times:
The former venture capitalist said the lucrative licenses should go to the highest bidders.
Rauner proposed having an auction for medical marijuana licenses.
“Then we can actually make money from the process. Why not?” Rauner said. “Our taxpayers in Illinois deserve a break.”
Democrats and medical marijuana advocates roundly criticized Rauner’s auction suggestion, saying it would benefit the rich, hurt seriously ill patients and potentially cut out the best qualified license applicants.
While a ‘winner takes all’ auction might sound nice, it’s bad for the Illinois cannabis industry, as well as patients. As the Illinois Democrats suggested, licenses should be granted to the most qualified candidate(s), not the candidate(s) who simply are willing to offer up the most money. In order for the Illinois cannabis industry to be successful, an auction for licenses should be avoided at all costs.