Should You Hire a Cannabis Lawyer or a Cannabis Consulting Firm?

When Should You Hire a Cannabis Lawyer?

Starting a cannabis business is not an easy task. Because of this, many people decide to work with cannabis professionals to ensure their application fulfills all of the necessary requirements. 

When seeking the ideal service for starting a cannabis business, many people find themselves debating whether to work with a cannabis consulting firm or a cannabis attorney, while also wondering what the difference is.

To answer those questions, this article will break down the differences between the two services. Identifying how to best utilize each service will help you decide whether to work with consultants or lawyers when launching a cannabis business.

The Image of discussion of cannabis business lawyers

What's the Difference Between a Cannabis Consultant and a Cannabis Lawyer

Regardless of whether you work with cannabis consultants, lawyers, or both, the process of getting a cannabis business license and starting a business will be a lot easier. But before you decide, you should know exactly how each service can help.

Cannabis Consulting Services at a Glance

A cannabis consultant’s specialties include the entire process of starting a business, from an initial license application to your first day of operations and onwards.

Cannabis consultants are industry professionals that have the highest level of understanding and expertise in cannabis licensing, business, regulations, facility build-out, scientific know-how, and everything else related to starting and operating all kinds of cannabis businesses.

Cannabis consulting firms have the resources and ability to take care of everything involving starting and operating a successful cannabis business. Consultants will provide a more well-rounded service tailored to your specific needs, ultimately taking your business from application to operational.

Cannabis Lawyer Services at a Glance

Cannabis lawyers specialize in mitigating legal issues, developing and reviewing contracts for partners and other investors, as well as anything else related to the legal establishment of your company. Just like a cannabis consultant, a cannabis lawyer should be great at reviewing technical documents and breaking down regulatory jargon. However, they may not always know which regulations will be most influential in the establishment of your business. This can lead to confusion and missed opportunities down the line.

A cannabis attorney can also assist with various parts of the application and licensing process, and provide assistance with commercial litigation, investment and M&A transactions, tax issues, labor and employment, and intellectual property protection.


The main difference between a cannabis consulting firm and a cannabis business lawyer is how their expertise can be applied to the different stages of starting a cannabis business.

Before you choose which service is best for you, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the cannabis business application and licensing process.

Application Process - Consultants or Lawyers?

Cannabis business license applications are very extensive and require a lot of time and capital. Before getting licensed, a cannabis business applicant will need to submit a range of detailed documents including a business plan, site plans, financial plans, security plans, proof of occupation over a compliant location, and more. 

Almost everything required for cannabis business applications and licensing in North America can be created and submitted by a cannabis consulting firm, making the process a lot less stressful for the applicant. 

Cannabis lawyers can also assist with the application process, however the primary source of value will come from their legal expertise, rather than their ability to compile the business related documents required to apply. 

Both consultants and lawyers can be great options dispensing on the amount, and type of assistance needed by the applicant.

When is it Best to Hire a Cannabis Consulting Firm?

If you’re interested in starting a cannabis business, but have very little experience in starting and running any other kind of business, a cannabis consulting firm will be the most beneficial service. Not only does a cannabis consultant have the necessary business knowledge and experience, they will also have the most detailed understanding of your locality’s cannabis regulations. The combination of business knowledge and cannabis industry expertise makes consultants the perfect service for anyone that’s looking for a relatively hands-off experience during the application process, and post-licensing process.

When is it Best to Hire a Cannabis Lawyer?

Even though a cannabis business lawyer typically won’t be able to supply everything required for a successful cannabis business application, they can still be very helpful throughout the application and post-licensing process.

A cannabis lawyer is best used to supplement different legal applications and post-licensing requirements. A lawyer can assist with transactional agreements surrounding ownership and different parties of interest, the establishment of your business, mediating any tax and banking issues, as well as any other legal requirements.

As a result, most people with little previous experience will hire a consulting firm to take care of the entire process, and the consulting firm will work with a lawyer when necessary. But If you’re someone who has started a successful business in the past and/or has cannabis industry experience, hiring a cannabis lawyer alone could be more beneficial to you. 

Where to Start

Think about your past experience with starting a business, and do a lot of research! Make sure you’re well versed in all of the application requirements for your area, and  be sure you thoroughly understand the process of opening and operating a cannabis business. Keep in mind that working with a professional cannabis service will result in less stress and potential savings. This is because professionals will ensure your application, licensing, and transition to operations takes place as efficiently as possible, meaning you’ll have to spend less on rent while struggling with business planning and site build-out.

Reach out to CannDelta today to start your cannabis business, the right way.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is unlikely that a cannabis lawyer can help you with all aspects of opening a cannabis dispensary. This is because a lawyer specializes in law and they may have limited knowledge of what is required to start a cannabis business. Opening a dispensary requires a detailed application submission, business plans, security plans, site and floor plans, and much more. However, some cannabis lawyers may offer a more turnkey service to assist with more of the process. For more support launching a cannabis business, working with cannabis consulting firms will likely be more beneficial.

You do not need a cannabis lawyer to open a cannabis business. Cannabis business lawyers may be useful for completing aspects of the license application and establishing your business, but they are not required. It is possible to open a cannabis business on your own, but it is challenging, more risky, and requires extensive work. It is highly recommended that anyone wanting to open a cannabis business work with a cannabis attorney or cannabis consultant.

Cannabis lawyers handle legal issues, develop and review contracts, and manage the legal establishment of your company. They can also assist with application and licensing processes, commercial litigation, investment and M&A transactions, tax issues, labor and employment matters, and intellectual property protection.

Cannabis consultants specialize in guiding businesses through the entire startup process, from initial license applications to daily operations. Cannabis Consulting firms have expertise in licensing, regulations, facility setup, and industry knowledge, they offer comprehensive services tailored to each business’s needs. Consulting firms have the resources to ensure the successful launch and operation of cannabis businesses, providing well-rounded support from application to operational stages.