With a market value approaching $10 billion, the medical marijuana industry has drawn comparisons to the Gold Rush of the Old West. And while there may be similarities regarding people heading west to seek their fortune, that is where comparisons end. While medical marijuana has gained much wider acceptance in recent years thanks to numerous Western states passing laws making it legal to sell marijuana, there are still plenty of pitfalls a marijuana entrepreneur can encounter. If you want to take the plunge and open your own cannabis dispensary, here are some important facts you should know.
Check Your State’s Laws and Ordinances
Since laws vary from state to state, be sure to check with the Department of Health Services to make sure you won’t be violating any laws or ordinances by opening your dispensary. For best results, make sure you do all your research before sinking your money into the venture, or else you may find yourself losing a substantial amount of money if an unexpected law or ordinance gets in your way.
Navigate the Licensing Process
Once you’re sure there are no laws or ordinances that will squelch your idea, move on to the licensing process. Again, this will depend on which state you choose to locate your dispensary. For example, if you’re in California, there are no limits as to how many dispensaries can open in a certain area. However, in states like Delaware, very strict zoning guidelines are in place. Also, find out how to properly incorporate your business, since some states require dispensaries to be non-profit organizations.
Have a Solid Business Plan
To succeed in this business, you’ll need a solid business plan that allows you to raise large amounts of capital to get started. For most dispensary entrepreneurs, the total amount of money used to open a dispensary ranges from as little as $40,000 to nearly $1 million. In addition to this, make sure your plan includes developing strong ties within the community, since this will be key to spreading the word about your business. And of course, always keep yourself out of trouble, since a criminal record won’t help much when applying for licensing or other necessary permits.
Offer Different Products
Along with offering marijuana that can be smoked, it’s smart to also offer it in many other forms. This can include edibles, sodas, salves, lozenges, elixirs, and many other products. By diversifying your product selection, you can stay ahead of competitors and grow your business by marketing yourself as a dispensary that is always on the cutting-edge of the industry.