Indoor marijauna facility growing sea of cannabis plants in the background with texture nug in the foreground

Cannabis revenue doubled in Canada in 2020. This booming market is proving a lucrative opportunity for right-minded people.

Starting a cannabis business isn't straightforward, though. It can often be a long and confusing process with many legal precedents and lots of red tape to navigate.

If you've got a great idea and an opportunity to start a cannabis business, don't squander it. Find yourself a Toronto cannabis consultant who can take the stress and confusion out of the process.

Here's what to look for when choosing a cannabis consultant.

1. Make Sure They Fit Your Specific Needs

There's a lot of cannabis consultancy companies out there that are offering all-inclusive services for aspiring cannabis businesses. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, the consultant you choose must be perfect for your specific needs.

Take some time to think about what areas you really need to focus on, write them down, and make sure to cross-reference any prospective consultant with that list. It also helps to understand what you're looking to achieve and what success would look like for your company.

2. How Much Will You See Them?

Many cannabis consultants will work across various areas of the country and be willing to take on clients in far-flung regions, but think carefully about how much time you're going to get with your consultant.

There's no use having a consultant with all the knowledge if they're too far away or not invested enough to spend the time with you.

When choosing a cannabis consultant, make sure to ask them about this. If you're in Toronto, it makes far more sense to go for a Toronto cannabis consultant that you know will be willing to put the face-to-face time in with you.

Starting a cannabis business can be a confusing process. Make sure you've got a consultant that can answer any of your questions and take you through the finer points.

3. Do They Know the Law?

Of course, the legalization of cannabis in Canada flung open the doors for aspiring cannabis businesses, but it's not a free for all.

There's still a raft of cannabis laws, regulations, and stipulations to deal with. Make sure your consultant has an in-depth, working knowledge of the law surrounding the production, sale, and distribution of cannabis.

For example, make sure your consultant understands the various types of licenses required for cultivation. Tied up in these licenses is all sorts of regulations about grow size, yield limits, and security requirements.

You want to find the most knowledgeable consultant available to you.

4. Previous Clients

The best way to predict what your working relationship with a prospective consultant will be like is by checking their previous clients.

When in talks with consultants, ask for a list of their previous clients and what the working relationship was like. Most consultants will be more than happy to provide you with this information.

You should also take time to speak to a few previous clients, perhaps visit their dispensary and get their perspectives on the working relationship. This is a perfectly normal thing to do. It's no different from employers looking into a candidate's employment history.

5. Do They Want Equity?

Lots of cannabis consultancy firms may ask you to pay with equity. Be wary of this.

At face value, it seems like a fair deal, but it can lead to a lot of complications further down the line. Say, for example, the consultant is already a part-owner of a similar cannabis business–an apparent conflict of interest has been created.

Not only this, but it takes complete control of your cannabis business out of your hands. A consultant is there for just that, consultancy, not outright decision making.

It's best to ensure that prospective consultants are happy to be paid a sum of money instead of a stake in the business. However, if you're still thinking of offering equity as payment, be sure to do plenty of research on the pros and cons of paying this way.

6. Competition

Most emerging cannabis companies are likely to seek the services of a consultant at some point, so it's always helpful to ask prospective consultants about competitors.

It's probably pretty likely that the consultants you're speaking to have worked with one or two competitors in the past, and you should ask them about this.

Most importantly, make sure they're not still working directly with any competitors. Much like with the parting of equity, there's potential for conflicts of interest when dealing with competitors.

Ideally, you want a consultant who isn't working with competitors and has the space available to take you on.

7. Communication

It's a bit of a cliché, but communication is key.

You want to know that there's going to be an open dialogue between you and your consultant. A great cannabis consultant will understand that good communication is mutually beneficial.

You want feedback from them, and great consultants will want feedback from you too. When shopping for a consultant, be sure to ask them about their policy on feedback and communication.

8. Do They Know What They Can Deliver?

Consultants can promise the world, but you need to know that they can deliver what they say they can.

You want to find a consultant who can clearly set out their approach and what they aim to deliver for you, bonus points if you can get this in writing from them.

Cannabis laws change often, and they change fast. These changes in laws and regulations can lead to significant delays and additional fees. What will your consultant do about this? Can your consultant move with the market to keep on top of your targets and their promises?

Find a Toronto Cannabis Consultant Today

These are just a few of the things to look for in a Toronto cannabis consultant. You want someone knowledgeable (particularly regarding your specific needs), adaptable, approachable, and committed.

Here at Growth West, we are all those things. So if you're looking for a cannabis consultant for your business, contact us today to see how we can help you.