As longtime cannabis consultants in the industry, our team has been asked the question, “Who do I need — a cannabis lawyer or a consultant? What’s the difference?” countless times, and for good reason. Cannabis consultants and cannabis attorneys bring different skill sets and acumen to an application project.

To understand the difference, let’s start from the top:

A (qualified) cannabis consultant will provide comprehensive support that guides you from the very start of your project all the way through to application submission. Whether you are applying for a retail license, cultivation license, manufacturing license, or any license in between, a cannabis consultant will support your journey, helping you avoid pitfalls, and overcome hurdles throughout the process. A cannabis consultant should also have an understanding and experience in helping companies build their businesses post-licensure. They can project manage from your license award through your grand opening and beyond.

A (qualified) cannabis attorney will be able to oversee legal documents, such as Lease Agreements, Purchase Agreements, Supply Agreements, etc.

Learn more about the differences between both types of cannabis services here:

Learn about the difference between a cannabis consultant and a cannabis lawyer

The key is understanding when and how to use both resources so that you can utilize the cannabis consultant when needed and the cannabis lawyer when needed.  This brings us to the next question we often hear: “How do I leverage both cannabis lawyer services and cannabis consulting services effectively and efficiently?”

The most successful way to view the process is by starting with a cannabis consultant that knows how to project manage. If the consultant is not project managing, those tasks will fall on your shoulders and if you do not have the experience of going through multiple rounds of licensing in multiple states, then you’ll suffer through the enormous (and costly) learning curve.

Check out this graphic to visualize how we recommend the process should go:

If you select the right cannabis consulting team, the team should have the acumen and the bandwidth to organize all of the steps and interactions throughout the life of your project.

If you try to do it yourself or utilize a cannabis lawyer in lieu of a consultant, it can quickly spiral into chaos, resulting in enormous amounts of money spent and significant delays.

Remember, a cannabis law firm should not be attempting to prepare your application. They are not your consultants or strategists, they are your cannabis legal advisors. We have seen lawyers hold themselves out as cannabis attorneys, taking on full application projects, charging legal fees, and not performing. How do we know this? Because, we’re often the cannabis firm that picks up the pieces after we sign on a client that has spent significant money into bad partners and cannabis law firms.

A cannabis consultant that is worth the investment will be able to thoroughly manage every step of your process, including giving direction to your third-party services, such as your point-of-sale provider, cannabis accounting firm, cannabis lawyer, etc. During that time, the consultant should be able to advise when to utilize a qualified cannabis attorney. When you perform this way, you will save time and money.

Reach out to Canna Business Services for all cannabis BUSINESS LICENSE needs

If you have questions concerning this process or would like our help in understanding the right consultant or law firm for you, reach out to our team and schedule a free 15 minute consultation. We have supported clients across almost every single state with a cannabis program, have worked with a large number of local municipalities, and importantly, we perform significant corrective work from bad cannabis consulting companies and inexperienced attorneys who hold themselves out as experienced cannabis lawyers. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by signing on with the right team the first time. Reach out to us today for a free consultation on how to navigate cannabis lawyers and choose the best one for you!