Are you considering establishing a cannabis dispensary? Did you know that in 2019, the estimated number of marijuana users in the United States was 48.2 million?

The cannabis industry has become more popular as more states legalize it for recreational and medical purposes.

According to research, legal cannabis sales will exceed $25 billion in the United States by 2025. Furthermore, estimates show that legal sales will continue to rise year after year.

A regulated dispensary also has more consumers and profits than an unregulated dispensary.

Starting a business is never easy, especially a cannabis-related business.

So, before setting up a cannabis dispensary, be sure to go through the basic steps we’ve outlined below, so you don’t miss anything.

Step 1: Conduct Industry and Market Research

Having a deeper understanding of the cannabis industry and the market will affect your business positively. This way, you will know your consumer needs, including incentives and how to come up with the best advertising plan.

Remember, not everyone wants the buds, some want edible such cookies and cannabis chocolates and other confectioneries.

Knowing the ins and outs of the industry as well as the product you’re selling will help you connect with the clients.

Sometimes, knowing answers to questions like, can you get high by eating weed? or Can you eat weed that has stayed for too long? or does eating weed get you high? can help you appeal to new curious clients. You have to appear as if you know about your product.

Step 2: Know the Cannabis Laws and Licensing Requirements of Your State

Each state has different rules and regulations. In addition to state licenses, local authorities set their rules on owning a cannabis business.

Do thorough research on what the local government regards as a legal dispensary.

Here are some things the municipality might need for you to be compliant:

  • Location of your business
  • Business plan
  • A perfect security plan
  • Types of payment
  • Proof of financing
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Licenses will depend on the type of dispensary you want to open. In addition, the process in each state will differ.

Licenses for a medical dispensary will differ from those for a recreational dispensary. The time and cost of applying for permits also vary.

Check your eligibility for the licenses to save time and money.

Step 3: Form a Team of Professionals

An excellent team forms a successful business. Therefore, you need consultants who have knowledge and expertise in the cannabis industry.

  • Legal Consultant: Have an attorney to help you with your legal affairs.
  • Certified Public Accountant: For proper management of accounting records, especially taxes, which differ for different industries, local authorities, and states.
  • Compliance officer: An experienced officer will guide you with the legal compliance needed for a cannabis dispensary.
  • Security firm/consultant: You need a security consultant with an idea of the risks of the cannabis business, compliance with local and state regulations.

Step 4: Create a Plan For the Business

Describing your business objectives and goals and how to achieve them is an essential step when starting any business.

Highlighting core activities, marketing strategies, budget, and financial planning will help you understand whether the dispensary idea is viable.

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A great business plan for your cannabis business should address:

  • The products and services
  • Potential customers
  • Operation plan
  • Financial plan
  • Security plan
  • Management and organization description
  • Marketing and sales strategy

Step 5: Secure Start-up Capital

Make an estimate of how much it will cost to start the dispensary. Also, find other funding sources to ensure the smooth running of your business. This is essential in the early months of your business.

Ensure you can cover the following costs before starting your dispensary:

  • Application and licensing cost
  • Rental Costs
  • Capital investments
  • Staffing costs
  • Marketing costs
  • Security costs
  • Financial and professional fees

Also, ensure secure financing through business loans, partnerships, angels, cannabis investment groups, and capital brokers.

Step 6: Choose A Location

Choosing a perfect location for your dispensary is very crucial for the success of your business. Also, check the demographics, culture, and traditions.

Next, check whether it’s legal to operate a cannabis business in that area. Learn the local zoning code. Know where you can set up a dispensary and where it’s restricted.

Also, do market research and know if it is profitable to open a marijuana dispensary in your selected location. For example, are there competitors, whether legal or illegal?

Illegal businesses can negatively affect your dispensary, so be sure to check them up. Know if there are plans to eradicate them.

Step 7: Invest in a Great Retail Experience

When designing the display of your product, consider the mandatory regulations of the state. For example, many regulations need a private place for processing and packaging and a public place for customers to be attended by the budtenders.

Also, create an ambiance and safe place for your customers to feel relaxed. Use warm and welcoming colors to make them feel comfortable.

Step 8: Hire Passionate Employees

On top of the consultants mentioned above, you need skilled and trustworthy employees. Paired with the right technology, they’ll be in charge of keeping your dispensary working smoothly on a daily basis.

They include:

  • Budtenders
  • Security officers
  • Store/Inventory manager
  • Receptionist
  • Business manager

Now that you know what you need to start a successful cannabis dispensary, you can confidently pursue the project and remember to always follow the regulations.