Opening a Dispensary: What You Need to Know

The cannabis industry is massive and lucrative, encouraging everyone to join in so that they can cash in on the demand for marijuana and marijuana-based products. The problem? Although it can be lucrative, there are a host of rules and regulations that you need to abide by if you want to open your own dispensary. If having a dispensary is something of interest to you, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Dispensary?

Aptly named, a dispensary is a storefront that sells cannabis and related products, whether those be marijuana edibles or disposable CBD pens. Given that there’s always a demand for both medical and recreational marijuana, it only makes sense to open a marijuana dispensary if you have a love for cannabis and a desire to serve your community. But what do you need to get started? Let’s dive in.

How to Open a Dispensary?

Some people think that opening a dispensary is as easy as scraping enough money together, sourcing their cannabis, and setting up their storefront. While that would certainly be an ideal way of doing business, that’s not how it works. Let’s take a look at a few of the major requirements and considerations to remember as you approach the idea of your own dispensary.

What You Need


Operating a dispensary is far more expensive than most think, which is why some dispensaries will have to shut down in the future. Besides the cost of sourcing all of your goods and buying in bulk from wholesalers, you have to deal with the cost of registering your business and applying for all the necessary permits, paying all of the taxes associated with marijuana sales, and beyond. Finding the right investors to invest in your business is of the utmost importance. Craft a detailed business plan beforehand so that you have something to show investors. Without the right capital, your dream can come crashing down quickly.


Most marijuana businesses aim to produce the best product around. But what makes them stand out from the average business that’s selling similar products is the brand. Brand owners have started branding their own merchandise like custom weed rolling trays or dab mats to help get the word around. The more eyeballs on your custom merchandise, the more it’s talked about.

Your brand is what gets people excited and what people will know to associate with quality as you continue operating your dispensary. You will not only need to think about branding in your marketing strategies but how you are going to pay for logo creation, branding on your packaging, and more. The better your brand is developed in the beginning, the easier it will be to grow your business over time.


Although marijuana may be legal in some states, it’s still illegal federally and very heavily regulated. In order to succeed in this industry, you need legal support to make sure that you’re taking the right steps every step of the way. Without legal support, you could be looking at serious fines or charges that land you in hot water down the road.


Dispensaries are not only desirable to those looking for cannabis but for thieves as well. Why? A lot of the stuff you can find in dispensaries could be easily sold on the street, making your merchandise easy to grab and re-sell. However, there’s another reason. Because weed is still illegal at the federal level, dispensaries and other weed businesses don’t have access to banking, which means that they have to handle all of their cash physically. Since thieves know that you have all of this cash on you, this makes you an easy hit. Paying for security to guard your cash and goods is something that you will have to do if you want to keep your dispensary safe.

Explore New Options of Making Money

A dispensary relies on smart business strategies to survive. If you only depend on one type of product throughout the life of your dispensary, you’re going to lose customers to competing dispensaries that are better equipped to meet their needs. While you’re crafting your marketing strategy and business plan, think of a wide variety of products that your future customers will love. Perhaps you’ll go from marijuana and branch out into CBD products. Maybe you want to get sponsorships from other companies and monetize these relationships on your website. You may even start your own website where you make money teaching others about marijuana. No matter what it is that will help you stand out in the future, think about this now while you don’t have to worry about the pressure of owning and operating your dispensary.

While everyone understands the role of a dispensary and how crucial it is to people who either rely on medical marijuana for certain conditions or just enjoy using it recreationally, few people see just how much work goes on behind the scenes to keep these facilities running. From legal issues to physical threats to money management, dispensaries face a host of insurmountable challenges that make it difficult to stay open.


That said, with the right support and strategy, it is possible to become one of the many major players in the cannabis industry. If you are just thinking about opening up a dispensary but have not yet done any work to figure out what the next steps are, use the guide above to get a clearer picture of just what it will take to get your dispensary up and running. Then, if you still want to get started, you can work towards covering each requirement.

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