How to Open a Licensed Marijuana Dispensary in California

We all know that recreational marijuana is big business. Many people are flooding to the marijuana industry to get a piece of the action. But just because the industry is crowded doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you! Pot shops are still in huge demand, and if you want to open your own you certainly can. While opening up a licensed marijuana dispensary sounds like a daunting task, if you follow the right steps you can be on your way to being a successful business owner. Here are the five most important steps to getting started on this journey!


1. Assemble a Business Plan

Whenever you plan on opening any business, putting together a business plan should always be the first step. If you are planning on having business partners, getting them together and working out a partnership agreement is important. If you are seeking out investors, putting a plan together will help investors make an informed decision.

You should of course consult with experts and attorneys to ensure you follow the Bureau of Cannabis Control Text of Regulations. You may also want to put together a marketing plan including building a website, social media strategies, and promotional offers. Afterwards, see what capital you can get together: either from investors, family, or personal savings. Capital is a MUST in the marijuana industry, as getting started can be expensive.


2. Get the appropriate licenses

The marijuana industry is heavily regulated. Getting all of the licenses you need are crucial to a successful business. To properly navigate this area, it is recommended you get an attorney who specializes in the industry. Filing for these licenses can get confusing, time consuming and costly should you file incorrectly. Not only will an attorney assist you with this, but they can also draft your legal paperwork to form an LLC or a corporation.

Licenses alone can cost well over $10,000 and that is just state licensing. Local cities may have their own licenses you need. In the end, properly taking care of the proper paperwork can be over $30,000. The attorney can actually the most affordable part of this process. In fact, the attorney can save you money and time by navigating you through the correct channel. Just like a good accountant can save you money, a good attorney can do the same thing.

Visit the Bureau of Cannabis Controls website to find more information about the licenses required.


3. Get a location together

There are laws regarding the location of dispensaries, so make sure to talk to your attorney and your broker to see if you can find a good location. Some landlords may not rent to you if you are opening a dispensary, so be sure to make that clear when you start looking. That way, you won’t waste any time when you start looking.

It’s probably best you find more than one location just to be prepared in case one doesn’t go through. Some commercial realtors actually specialize in finding dispensaries a location.


4. Find Your Product Distributors

There are many places to get marijuana products in California. Finding a wholesaler should be easy. It’s finding a cultivator you like and one that is licenses that can be difficult! There are many options and many dispensaries use more than one cultivator to get a variety of product. Aside from the bud itself, many dispensaries carry edible products or concentrates. Speaking with the companies that make these and getting a wholesale price list is important.

Remember, there are California State regulations regarding marijuana so make sure you do your due diligence. Effective July 1st, dispensaries can no longer purchase product from cultivators that haven’t followed the new regulated process. 


5. Start it up!

Once you have gotten the legal aspect sorted out, now it’s time to open up for business. Marijuana businesses can make well over one million a year in California. Marijuana is a huge industry, and if you play by all the rules, you can get a piece of the action. But once you open your business, the work just begins. Running a business of any kind is a lot of work. However, if you have the dedication and drive, you can be the next marijuana millionaire!

Joe Cason has been working in the cannabis industry for over 4 years. In that time he has written hundreds of articles and has worked for some of the largest cannabis publications in the country, including High Times Magazine. He currently works as a CBD activist and lobbyist in Tennessee, as well as a freelance web designer.

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