Cannabis License Experts

Cannabis License Experts is a compliance solutions provider for the cannabis industry, providing pre and post-licensing support for both the production side and retail side of the industry. 

Leveraging over 15 years of collective experience and industry knowledge from a team that includes former QAPs and other employees from Canada’s largest licensed cannabis producers, Health Canada inspectors, and other consulting companies, the firm offers trust, transparency and respect, says Andrew Parshad, the company’s President and Founder.

“What makes Cannabis License Experts unique is the diverse compliance and affiliate business solutions that we offer for cannabis and psychedelics companies, and how we weave business development opportunities into our service offering,” explains Parshad. “Leveraging our history in Health Canada and FDA compliance for the last 20 years in the consumer packaged goods, alcohol and beverage and pharmaceutical industry, we’re able to guide cannabis companies to avoid pitfalls and mistakes and to integrate regulations and compliance in their decision making.”

Cannabis License Experts

The explosion in interest in the cannabis space led Parshad to grow Cannabis Licence Experts out of Quality Smart Solutions. In addition to providing assistance in the cannabis industry, Cannabis Licence Experts also assist those navigating the licensing process in the psychedelic space, such as psilocybe mushrooms. 

Initially offering consulting in the medical cannabis licensing space pre-legalization under their sister consulting firm, Quality Smart Solutions since 2007, Cannabis License Experts was created as its own cannabis compliance solutions in 2018. 

“(In 2018), we felt it was the right time to create a separate company dedicated to cannabis and psychedelics compliance just as legalization was about to start,” Parshad says. “Having been active in regulatory compliance and quality assurance since 2001, and as a consultant serving over 1,100 companies since 2015, in addition to being involved in policy and regulatory framework development with Health Canada, all coupled with my expertise in various Health Canada cannabis regulations, it was a natural extension to expand those offerings.” 

With over 250  cannabis license applications under the ACMPR and the Cannabis Act and Regulations, Parshad says he’s seen a lot of different applicants and the challenges that many of them face. One of the biggest challenges is in understanding the cost and timeline of the licensing process, at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. 

“The most common mistake applicants make is understanding the cost and timelines, and lack of business planning,” he says. “For example, many applicants don’t have an in-depth discussion with their municipality to understand how issues like zoning will impact their application and their business. This is particularly the case for federal licenses like cultivation where water and utility usage is significantly higher than with other businesses. In some cases, zoning restrictions are not investigated which could cause issues downstream.”

Ensuring a proper business plan is in place before beginning the application process is incredibly important, he says. 

“Doing due diligence and planning upstream before proceeding with licensing is key. After we start on the application, details like HVAC, equipment, even construction plans have sometimes not been thought through, and all of this should be captured in a business plan that covers both financial and operational aspects of a plan. We strongly encourage our clients to have a business plan before embarking on their journey to start a cannabis business.”

Despite these kinds of hurdles, Parshad says he sees a lot of opportunity in the cannabis space for those who do come to the table with a solid business plan and understanding of the industry. 

“Overall the industry is heading in a positive direction,” adds Parshad. “The licensing process has become more efficient and streamlined since the inception of legalization. Health Canada has been providing guidance documents, templates, submission methods and revising requirements which ultimately benefits both Health Canada in throughput to licensing and the applicant. When it comes to reviewing a licence application, Health Canada assessment officers are very helpful and flexible. But the intricacies of a license application are still complex and the benefit of a consultant still goes a long way to getting licensed faster.”

With over 250  cannabis license applications under the ACMPR and the Cannabis Act and Regulations, Parshad says he’s seen a lot of different applicants and the challenges that many of them face. One of the biggest challenges is in understanding the cost and timeline of the licensing process, at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. 

“The most common mistake applicants make is understanding the cost and timelines, and lack of business planning,” he says. “For example, many applicants don’t have an in-depth discussion with their municipality to understand how issues like zoning will impact their application and their business. This is particularly the case for federal licenses like cultivation where water and utility usage is significantly higher than with other businesses. In some cases, zoning restrictions are not investigated which could cause issues downstream.”

Ensuring a proper business plan is in place before beginning the application process is incredibly important, he says. 

“Doing due diligence and planning upstream before proceeding with licensing is key. After we start on the application, details like HVAC, equipment, even construction plans have sometimes not been thought through, and all of this should be captured in a business plan that covers both financial and operational aspects of a plan. We strongly encourage our clients to have a business plan before embarking on their journey to start a cannabis business.”

Despite these kinds of hurdles, Parshad says he sees a lot of opportunity in the cannabis space for those who do come to the table with a solid business plan and understanding of the industry. 

“Overall the industry is heading in a positive direction,” adds Parshad. “The licensing process has become more efficient and streamlined since the inception of legalization. Health Canada has been providing guidance documents, templates, submission methods and revising requirements which ultimately benefits both Health Canada in throughput to licensing and the applicant. When it comes to reviewing a licence application, Health Canada assessment officers are very helpful and flexible. But the intricacies of a license application are still complex and the benefit of a consultant still goes a long way to getting licensed faster.”


Content sponsored by: Cannabis License Experts

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