Coupe’s statement came as a surprise, given that state law has not been altered to accommodate the new plan. Coupe also stated that the licensing process might switch from a competitively scored process to some kind of lottery. More guidance is expected any day now, and this web page will be updated at that time.
Delaware Cannabis Licensing’s Future and Medical Marijuana Past
Delaware has had an active medical cannabis industry since 2015, but now the adult-use market is opening up. Every state has its own way of rolling out legalization, and in the case of DE, it’s going to be competitive. This has the downside of making it difficult to win a license, but it has the upside of making it a lucrative market for those who win.
We at Cultivation Sector Consulting have been writing licensing documents since 2016, and we have helped cannabis entrepreneurs obtain and maintain licenses in California, Mississippi, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland and New York. We have a good sense of what regulatory agencies are looking for and we have plenty of experience reading and understanding the DE cannabis regulations and licensing requirements.
What sets us apart? We don’t write your application for you. We provide you with sophisticated starter materials for you to do it yourself. This saves you thousands, sometimes 10s of thousands of dollars over using a full-service Delaware cannabis consultant or cannabis law firm.
What are the Delaware Cannabis License Requirements?
From HB 2 we can see that they will be scoring retail, cultivation and cannabis manufacturing applications based on the following criteria (We can help you with the underlined items):
(3) The criteria for the competitive scoring process for all license types must include the following:
a. The applicant’s comprehensive business plan, including an annual budget and pro forma financial statements.
b. The experience, training, and expertise of the applicant and managing officers.
c. The applicant’s plans for safety, security, and the prevention of diversion.
d. The applicant’s plans for operations, training, and staffing, including all of the following:
1. A social responsibility plan outlining diversity goals, including plans to recruit and hire people of color, women, and veterans and to support their ownership and promotion within the organization, as well as the percent of employees it plans to hire from within the respective city or region of the State.
2. A plan to provide a safe, healthy, and economically beneficial working environment with fair scheduling practices, family-supporting wages, and benefits for its employees.
3. Any criminal, civil, or regulatory history encountered by other entities the applicant and managing officers have previously controlled or managed.
4. A plan for the suitability of the proposed location for the facilities.
For applications for a marijuana cultivation facility license and marijuana product manufacturing facility license, an environment and sustainability plan, including efforts it will take to minimize the environmental impact, and resources needs of its facilities and other business operations, such as plans to minimize water usage, employing organic cultivation methods, and adoption of other sustainable business practices.
We provide highly sophisticated templates for ALL UNDERLINED ITEMS ABOVE.
Where Can I Find the Delaware Cannabis Regulations?
The Delaware cannabis regulations are due to be published in the summer of 2024, and we will link to them here when they become available.
What Will A Delaware Cannabis License Cost?
The application fee is $1000 for social equity applicants and $5000 for standard applicants, and biennial license fees (every 2 years) are $2500-$10,000 depending on license type and canopy size.
How Many Cannabis Licenses Will Be Granted in DE and How Do I Start?
First, be aware that one of the scoring criteria is experience (item b above). Without experience, it could be difficult to score as high as other applicants. If you don’t have impressive related experience, you can hire experts to be advisors in your business and use their experience on your application, as if they are part of your inner circle. Experts typically charge around $10,000 for this service. (We do not offer this service, but we can recommend some experts for you).
The following number of DE cannabis licenses will be granted in each category:
Delaware Cultivation License:
Facilities less than 2500 square feet:
* 20 microbusiness licenses
* 10 social equity licenses.
Facilities more than 2500 square feet:
* 20 open licenses
* 10 social equity licenses
Delaware Cannabis Manufacturing License:
* 10 open licenses
* 10 social equity licenses
* 10 microbusiness licenses
Delaware Dispensary License:
* 15 open licenses
* 15 social equity licenses
Delaware Cannabis Testing Facility Licenses:
* 3 open licenses.
* 2 social equity licenses
What’s Different About Social Equity and Microbusiness Applicants?
To qualify for a Delaware cannabis microbusiness license, these are the criteria:
- The business must be 51% owned and controlled by 1 or more individuals who have resided in Delaware for at least 5 of the preceding 10 years;
- The business must employ no more than 10 employees;
- A cultivation business must not operate a facility with a cannabis plant grow canopy area greater than 2,500 square feet and must not possess more than 1,000 marijuana plants each month.
There are no microbusiness licenses for DE cannabis manufacturing or DE cannabis retail dispensary applicants. There are only microbusiness applications for cannabis cultivation in Delaware.
For social equity licenses, you can qualify if you meet one of the following criteria:
- The applicant/s must have 51% ownership and be controlled by 1 or more individuals who have resided for at least 5 of the preceding 10 years in a disproportionately impacted area.
- The applicant/s must have 51% ownership and control by 1 or more individuals who meet one of the following criteria:
1) Was convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for any marijuana-related offense except any of the following:
- Delivery to a minor.
- Any marijuana offense with a Tier 3 quantity of marijuana as defined in § 4751(c) of Title 16.
- The functional equivalent of the offenses described ABOVE under the laws of the United States, any state or territory of the United States, or any other country.
2) Is married to or the child of a person who was convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for any marijuana-related offense.
Here’s What We Can Do For You:
Here at CS Consulting, we can provide anything referred to above as a Plan or Procedure (see the underlined items above). It will come with Delaware-specific regulatory citations, aimed to provide what we think, based on our experience, the regulatory agency is looking for.
What if My Application Looks Like Someone Else’s?
This is a common question for us to receive. Since Delaware will have a competitive scoring process, it IS important to distinguish your application from everyone else’s. We are providing you high quality starter materials, and you can take it from there. Highlight your experience, what makes your business unique, add images and adjust the wording in a way that matches your style. Starting from a great model is a lot better than starting from scratch!
We had two winners in the highly competitive state of Illinois who started with our documents. They spent a few hours making the documents their own and had veteran status, and that was enough to put them over the top.
Keep in mind that law firms and comprehensive cannabis consulting companies are also working off of templates, so there will always be some measure of redundancy from application to another, but you can always put in as much extra time as you want to turn your documents into something special. We provide excellent starter materials, and you and your team turn those into a winning application.
Will I Win a DE Cannabis License if I Use Your Templates?
We cannot guarantee that anyone will win a cannabis license in Delaware because no one knows what exact criteria the DE cannabis regulatory agency will use to judge applications. We do our best, based on our experience, to ensure that each topic covered is comprehensive, accurate, and matched up with all of the relevant DE marijuana regulations from the state. We consider ourselves diligent, honest experts in the field of cannabis regulatory compliance and licensing, and we have been successful in several other states, over the course of 7 years, always getting better at what we do.
Delaware legalized medical marijuana in 2011 and licensed medical marijuana businesses in 2015. Patients and their caregivers have been able to obtain and possess cannabis under the medical marijuana program since then, if diagnosed with certain qualifying medical conditions. In 2023, recreational marijuana was legalized, and in 2024, a commercial licensing regime is being implemented. The Delaware marijuana industry is active now for patients, but soon, any adult will be able to purchase and possess cannabis for personal use. The cannabis laws in DE are similar to some other states where licenses will be limited, meaning that anyone who obtains a license will likely do quite well and wholesale prices will stay high until the state further liberalizes the system, which usually takes a few years or more.
The most common adult-use cannabis license sought out by applicants in any state is always the dispensary license, because operating a dispensary doesn’t require a high level of experience the way cultivation or manufacturing applicants should have. The learning curve for dispensaries is shorter because operating a medical marijuana or recreational dispensary is more like running any retail business, but with much more intensive security and inventory control requirements.
In the upcoming recreational market, purchasers of cannabis won’t need a cannabis card or a medical marijuana card to make a purchase. They only need a valid government-issued ID to prove that they are over 21 years old. The Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement is the State department that will handle enforcement of the rules and regulations involved with administering the program. This agency is responsible for the public health, safety and security of all cannabis products, as well as the security and oversight of commercial facilities.
Delaware cannabis will be a booming industry, generating plenty of tax revenue for the state and finally allowing all adults to be trusted with this helpful and enjoyable substance. The upcoming marijuana program will only be open to commercial activity under a highly competitive licensing process, however.