For all business owners who aren’t afraid of hard work and a tedious dose of bureaucratic tape, opening a medical marijuana dispensary can be a real game-changer. Medical marijuana is soon going to be a worldwide, fastest-growing industry.
Running a dispensary will allow you to get ahead of your competitors and be a pioneer in this ever-increasing market. According to some statistics, retail stores and dispensaries that deal with medical marijuana, such as Santa Rosa Marijuana Dispensary, generated somewhere between $6.5 and $8 billion in 2019.
So, when considering running this type of business, keep this in mind:
- The cost to start your new business
- The legality of it all
- How profitable marijuana is
- Where to start
- With all this in mind, let’s see what you need to know to get started off the right foot.
1. Know Eligibility Factors and Risks
Both recreational and medical marijuana use has been legalized across the increasing number of states. However, there are still risks involved with it. At the federal level, marijuana is still illegal.
When it comes to medical cannabis, the federal Controlled Substance Act classified it as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it’s viewed as a potential drug use product. Because of that, it can’t be prescribed; it can only be suggested.
Since you want your dispensary to stay within legal boundaries, it is recommended that you seek a professional lawyer’s help when dealing with legal risks. There are also financial risks to worry about.
Aside from substantial financial investment, a dispensary mostly operates on a cash basis. The banks won’t lend you a loan due to high risks. So, you’ll have to come up with a good plan to secure funding for your medical dispensary.
In terms of eligibility, the best way to make sure you’re on the right track is to check with your local government about the regulations of applying to be a dispensary owner. You can find useful information about license requirements and marijuana laws by using NORML as a resource.
2. Research Location, Cost, Licensing, Legalities, and Policies
Once you’ve secured funding for your new enterprise, it’s time to do some research. Take the following things into consideration:
- Your state laws for use and dispensing
- Do your state laws protect this kind of business?
- The cost of starting a dispensary
- The required applications and licenses
State laws for marijuana dispensing and use vary greatly. For example, if you’re planning on starting your dispensary in California, these are the requirements:
- Seller’s permit
- Cannabis duration license
- Cannabis dispensary license
Florida requires you to present the following plans:
- Business plan
- Cultivation plan
- Marijuana processing
- Manufacturing plan
- Employee manual
- Environmental plan
- Financial plan
- Fire safety plan
- Inventory control plan
- Recordkeeping plan
- Patient education plan
- Product safety plan
- Security plan
- Staffing plan
- Suitability of proposed plan
- Transportation plan
Typically, you’ll want to know about how to protect your dispensary. Since insurance protects against theft, damage, and fire, go for the right insurance policy that covers:
- General liability – protection against injuries and general damages.
- Product liability – covers dispensary equipment and inventory.
- Medicine – protection against theft or fire.
3. Cannabis Training
Understanding your product and educating yourself on various forms of marijuana products is the best way to grow a serious customer base. Your customers need to be able to trust you. The only way to make this happen is by gaining knowledge about how your products will benefit them.
You can take care of this by taking a dispensary training course to educate yourself and your team on marijuana, its ingredients, cannabinoids, how they impact the nervous system, benefits, and side effects, the whole package.
4. Business Plan
One of the most effective ways to pave your path toward success is to plan how to get there carefully. Here are some things to include in your plan:
- An executive summary of your plan
- An insight into the industry overview
- Market analysis
- Competitive analysis
- Marketing and sales plan
- Management plan
- Operating plan
- Financial plan
- Exhibits and appendices
A well-structured and thought of business plan is the most valuable guidance through each phase of starting, running, and managing your dispensary.
5. Secure a Location
The majority of marijuana entrepreneurs choose to rent as the most popular way of securing a location. The marijuana industry is an ever-changing environment. What is compliant today might not be the next day.
So, buying a location may turn out to be an over-the-top move simply because compliance codes vary from state to state. Aside from compliance codes, you’ll also have to think about how convenient your location is for potential consumers.
Think before you act. Consulting with real estate agencies and brokers might be the best way to find a marijuana-friendly corporate location. Once you get this done, all that’s left to do is form a team and start marketing and branding your medical marijuana dispensary. If you nail down all these things, your dispensary will be up and running in no time.