Marijuana Dispensary: How to Start and the Estimated Cost to Open One
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Marijuana Dispensary: How to Start and the Estimated Cost to Open One

Marijuana dispensaries are one of the greatest opportunities at the moment for CBD/Cannabis business owners. It’s a smoking hot topic since many states have a process for marijuana to be legal. By opening up to the market, this is now a growing and relatively new industry to explore and innovate. If you’re thinking about taking a chunk in the CBD business, now is a perfect time.

A marijuana dispensary in the States!

What is a marijuana dispensary?

In the simplest words, it’s where they sell cannabis products, from edibles to flowers, concentrate, and other varieties. A marijuana dispensary is actually the retailer of the CBD industry to bring it out to the public. Since weed is now legalized in many states, starting a dispensary is a great chance to join the CBD market.

Yet due to part of the legal framework, dispensaries can only sell products that are legal and licensed. But apart from that, the opportunity is incredible. According to research in 2019, cannabis dispensaries generate nearly 8 billion dollars and the number will continue to grow in the following years. The industry still has a lot of room for you to play around and have fun with! So if you’re looking for a fresh business idea, this is what you need.

How much is the cost for a marijuana dispensary?

The price range might vary, due to location choices and staff hiring. However, we’re sure that it’s no less than $250.000, to begin with. Spend your money wisely. You should take some moment to figure out what is the most important to your business, then arrange your budget accordingly.

The average cost will apply for the following aspect, so you can calculate on your own:

  • Applying for licenses.
  • Renting location.
  • Hiring employees.
  • Pre-order products.
  • Store equipment & tools.
  • Security system.
  • Marketing budget.
  • Taxes and insurance.

It may cost you around $500k0-$850k once everything is in place and luckily there are many investors out there looking for opportunities such as this to assist you financially. There are also wonderful resources with local SBA and startup, small business loans.

How to start a marijuana dispensary: step by step guide

We know as beginners, you’ll have a lot of questions about the process and everything. Don’t worry, we've got you! Here is what you should do before starting a marijuana dispensary.

Research and understand risk & eligibility

Although we now having around 21 states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, there are still many risks coming with this industry. On the federal level, marijuana is still considered illegal. It’s classified as a potential drug product, so weed can only be suggested for usage, not prescribed.

Next is financial risk. Just like opening up any other retail business, there is always a financial risk waiting for you. But with the CBD industry, the problem you’ll be facing is a little bit different.

First, it’s funding & transaction. Since cannabis is relatively a new business, there are chances that banks don’t allow you to transact through them. The good news is things are changing, and it’ll soon not be a big problem with the bank anymore. However, you should either ask for more info from your bank or prepare to accept cash only.

Eligibility is vital before you open a marijuana dispensary as well. You must be qualified by the local government (or licensed) to be ready for the business. Look for that information and apply it thoroughly, that way you can stay out of many troubles.

Understand policies really well

This step is what we consider as the most important for you to prepare for a CBD business. There is no way you can skip learning all the policies and regulations of your state. Laws for cannabis usage and retail are different from state to state, so you’d better learn it carefully.

Next, you should also take great care of licenses, insurance, and taxes. All of the above policies vary due to your local state laws, so you’d better be prepared!

Training & educating

After understanding what it takes to open a cannabis dispensary, it’s time we learn more about the product itself. If you want to sell a product, anything, you’ll have to understand it deep from the root. This rule applies to any other things as well, not just about cannabis. Most customers will be anxious not knowing what to try among a long list of your medical marijuana, and your job is to help them. Not everyone has been exposed to cannabis before, and helping them means you’re helping your business.

Write and examine your business plan

No one should ever start a business without having a clear plan. Take your time and write down a proper business plan, then keep up with it. In your plan, you must include some of the following details:

  • Industry overview.
  • Market analysis.
  • Competitor review.
  • Sales & Marketing plan – SWOT analysis.
  • Management plan
  • Operation plan
  • Financial status and planning
  • Additional legal support
  • Summary.

Build your team

It’s impossible to work on a successful marijuana dispensary without a solid team. In every business, the core team is much more important than a great store design or a massive range of products. When building a team for your business, you’ll need professional individuals and day-to-day staff at the store. Both of these people need to be skillful and trustworthy to help you achieve your business goal. Also, who are the farmers who are growing your cannabis? Do you know them well? It is your job to be well educated about your entire team from the farmer to your sales team.

Choose your location

After getting everything ready, it’s time to choose your location. Besides all the state regulations, there are some elements you should look into. The first is whether cannabis is legal in the state you wish to open your dispensary in. Secondly, consider between renting and buying a place. For this kind of decision, we feel renting is the safest route to start with as you scale up.

Next is to find the right property. Make sure your storefront is easily visible and has a good storefront space and making your storefront really stand out for consumers who are shopping.

Branding and marketing

As the cannabis industry is getting more and more competitive, marijuana branding & marketing are absolutely vital. When you first introduce yourself to the market, your dispensary packaging design is what should impress them the most. As you’re getting noticed, you’re at the first step of building your brand identity. Make sure your marketing plan has a clear vision of who you are, and how you’re telling the audience about that. From there, your marijuana business will take off and grow.

We work with cannabis clients in creating their branding, packaging, web design, store signage, custom murals, and much more. Feel free to reach out to us to start the conversation today!

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