So you are thinking that you might want to open a dispensary, but you aren't sure where to begin.
Well before you start the journey, there are some surprising questions you may want to ask yourself before you jump off the deep end.

Just because the cannabis industry is new and exciting, it doesn't mean that it is exempt from the rules of operating a successful business. This is why you have to be methodical about the process of opening your dispensary. You have to be ready to do the necessary research and check off all the boxes. You should also consider what you might look for in other hires, and ask yourself the same things.


how to open a dispensary

Can you open a dispensary in your location? 

Cannabis is a complex business to get into, the laws differ based on where you are geographically located, and they are constantly changing and evolving! 

Remember, cannabis is a Schedule 1 controlled substance that is not federally regulated in the states, that means that each state will have different laws that you must adhere and abide to if you are going to consider opening a store.

This decentralized approach has resulted in different laws, requirements, and licenses for each state or city. Each state has its own licenses and requirements for applying for them.s. The states also control how much THC or CBD is in the cannabis that dispensaries can sell to their customers.

The states also regulate what cannabis derivatives can and cannot be traded. An excellent example of this is the recent ban on Delta-8 THC by many states, including Colorado, which allow both medical and recreational consumption of cannabis. This is why the location where you intend to open your cannabis dispensary is essential.

Curious to find out what states might legalize cannabis next? The research has been done here.


And if you could, would you qualify for a license? 

Did you know that different states and provinces also have different laws around who can qualify to open a dispensary? Before you are set to open your doors, it would be wise to ensure that you are eligible for a license.


In British Columbia
, any involvement with organized crime will cause automatic rejection. In Washington, the state also requires a background check for the spouse of an applicant. Should the applicant's spouse be found with a criminal record, this would disqualify the applicant from being considered for a dispensary license. This is why it is imperative that you make sure you are eligible to apply for a license in your area before making any substantial commitments.

how to open a dispensary


And if you got a license, how would you open a store?

One of the trickiest aspects of opening a dispensary is finding the right location. There are two significant constraints when choosing a location for your dispensary: finding a location with enough passing traffic and finding one that is in the right zoning area for a cannabis business.

While most businesses like restaurants, clothing stores, and pharmacies are primarily concerned with finding a location with enough traffic, cannabis dispensaries also have to comply with the state or city’s zoning laws. Many states have specific zones that cannabis businesses are prohibited from setting up in—for example, zones close to schools.

In Alberta, cannabis dispensaries are not allowed within one hundred meters of a healthcare facility, a school, or a school reserve. This is to avoid school children having easy access to cannabis. In California, cannabis stores cannot be located within six hundred feet of a school, daycare center, or youth center.


how to open a dispensary


Besides zoning issues, there are also issues with some landlords refusing to lease to cannabis businesses due to the unique challenges of having a cannabis business as a tenant. Because cannabis business is illegal under federal law, many commercial landlords can’t afford to take the risk of leasing to cannabis businesses.

This is because leasing to a federally illegal business would violate several provisions in the standard lease contract—provisions like permitted use, compliance with the law, licensing, and inventory insurance would all be hard to enforce against a cannabis business such as a dispensary.

Ever work in cannabis before? 

Much like any other business, you must have a passion for the cannabis business before you venture into opening a dispensary. It will feel like a heavy burden if you are simply trying to profit from a new industry without a passion for running your own cannabis dispensary.

As you will discover in this guide, it is hard work to start a cannabis dispensary. It will take a lot of time, resources, and commitment to see it through conception to success. You will be more prepared for the long haul if the cannabis business is your passion. Many early birds in the industry are suffering from severe attrition because they thought it was going to be a get-rich-quick scheme.

The cannabis industry is no different from any other industry. You have to work hard, be smart, and have a bit of luck to be successful. Because it is still early days for the cannabis industry, it is probably harder to start a cannabis dispensary than a business in an established industry with well-known rules and regulations and an experienced investor base. So it is important that you are sure that it is your passion before you invest your time, money, and social capital into it.

dispensary

Much like any other business, you must have a passion for the cannabis business before you venture into opening a dispensary. It will feel like a heavy burden if you are simply trying to profit from a new industry without a passion for running your own cannabis dispensary.

As you will discover in this guide, it is hard work to start a cannabis dispensary. It will take a lot of time, resources, and commitment to see it through conception to success. You will be more prepared for the long haul if the cannabis business is your passion. Many early birds in the industry are suffering from severe attrition because they thought it was going to be a get-rich-quick scheme.



In conclusion,

If you have read this article, and know that you can open a dispensary in your city, you can get a license, and you are informed of the industry it sounds like it might be time for you to consider opening a dispensar!

If that is the case, and you are looking to find ways to operate your dispensary more smoothly, be sure to consider smart workforce management software to help you succeed, or download our free hiring guide to start building you team, and good luck!

how to open a dispensary