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When the government rolled out the Cannabis Act, it included a variety of cannabis licenses that cater to different purposes. Choosing the right one all depends on what your business objectives are.
Most of us are familiar with the different options: cultivation, processing, research, testing, or medical sales. There is also a hemp license for folks working with a concentration of 0.3% THC or less. Then, we have the Nursery License. It’s listed separately from the micro and standard cultivation licenses, but what sets it apart?
Interestingly enough, it still is a Cultivation License. It has a specific angle, though: breeding and/or selling clones and cuttings to other license holders.
Whether you’ve been in the industry since the legacy days or are a newcomer to the cannabis space, understanding the differences between a Nursery License and a Cultivation License will help you make informed decisions about how to best structure your operations.
What are Cultivation Licenses?
First things first: a Cultivation License is designed for businesses intending to legally grow cannabis, both indoors and outdoors. However, they do not permit the packaging or sale of finished products like packaged flower, pre-rolls, topicals, or extracts. Un-packaged and un-processed cannabis can be sold in bulk, but only to other facilities holding a cultivation and/or processing license.
Different Types of Cultivation Licenses
Micro-CultivationIdeal for craft growers and small businesses with limited space, this license covers a maximum canopy size of 200 square meters (2152 square feet). Unfortunately, this is specifically canopy size, meaning “total surface area where plants/products live”. For example, if you had a room with 3 different 1 square meter surface areas all vertically stacked, that counts as 3 square meters, not just 1 :(. The license allows growing through various means, such as hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, or traditional soil-based methods. The annual licensing fee is $2,500.
Standard CultivationThis license shares the same criteria as the micro-cultivation license but without any limits on canopy size. It suits companies aiming to expand their operations or who operate within a large facility. Note that a Standard Cultivation license requires stricter security measures compared to a Micro. It also carries a hefty annual licensing fee of $23,000. Some facilities have opted to go for multiple Micro facilities instead of one larger Standard facilities. That way, it simplifies their requirements and reduces costs.
The Nursery LicenseNow, let's dive into the unique appeal of the Nursery License. This is for folks who are interested in genetics. It's also for those who want to supply other cultivators with clones/cuttings. The primary focus of the Nursery License is on the propagation and cultivation of vegetative plants. It allows for an unlimited canopy size for cultivating veg plants. Generally, those plants are intended to be sold as small cuttings or seedlings to other licensed producers. Additionally, you're allowed up to 50 square meters of flowering plants. You can use that space for phenohunting or for harvesting seeds. You can also supply medical patients and retail stores with starting materials.
What’s the Advantage?
The Nursery License offers a competitive edge in a market that's always in search of exciting new strains. Many cultivators of all sizes want to source genetics from elsewhere. If you’re a good breeder, this license can allow you to serve this substantial market.
You can also sell cuttings and seeds to retail stores and medical patients with a Nursery License. You do not need a processing license to sell seeds and plants to retail.
It’s worth noting that you can technically do all this with a Micro or Standard Cultivation License. However, the parameters of the Nursery License are streamlined for breeding and selling vegetative plants. 50 square meters is plenty of space for a good phenohunt, and the unlimited veg space allows you to service far more clients than you can with a micro cultivation license. All of that, while having significantly lower requirements and costs than a Standard Cultivation License.
Embracing the nursery license is an opportunity to thrive in an industry that values innovation and diversity. The Nursery License’s unique focus on breeding allows cannabis businesses to explore genetics and develop the next fire strain that gets everybody talking. You’ll be able to supply other license holders with their starting materials, which is arguably a safer business plan in our turbulent industry. Getting a Nursery License could be a savvy way to diversify your operations and stay relevant in this ever-changing marketplace.
Do you have or are you considering getting a Cultivation License of any kind? CertiCraft can help you remain compliant and simplify your workload significantly. Save your team hundreds of hours of busywork each month by getting in touch with us today.
This article was written in tandem with Jessica B.