How to Start a Marijuana Dispensary

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So you're thinking about how to start a marijuana dispensary in your city? Well, fortunately for you, you've come to the right place as we here at the College of Cannabis are experts in getting new dispensary owners up and running in no time. Though there are many things to keep in mind when starting a marijuana dispensary (or medical marijuana delivery service for that matter), we've compiled a high-level list of the most import things to consider when thinking about how to start a marijuana dispensary.

 

The Top 11 Things to Keep in Mind When Thinking About How to Start a Marijuana Dispensary:

 
Marketing plan

A Checklist for Your Medical Marijuana Dispensary

 

1. Make sure to incorporate (usually a not-for-profit Mutual Benefit Corporation) and stay on top of all documentation requirements

It goes without saying that any legitimate operation should fulfill the legal requirements as set out by the state that you wish to operate in. When learning how to start a marijuana dispensary (or delivery service) it is doubly important that you cross all of your Is and dot all of your Ts. First and foremost in this process, is to incorporate your medical marijuana dispensary, and in particular, it is best to do so as a Mutual Benefit Nonprofit Corporation. When you've filed for this legal status, it is imperative that you also keep up to date with all of your documentation requirements so as to not break the corporate veil when learning how to start a marijuana dispensary.  

2. Don’t break the corporate veil! Hold meetings with the board members as required by the state, keep minutes, etc.

As stated above, it is very important to keep up with documentation requirements when learning how to start a marijuana dispensary. The main reason for filing legal documentation with the state is to protect you from misguided individuals or laws with little to no precedents. If you're going to file your medical marijuana dispensary with the state, which you absolutely should do, don't break the corporate veil when learning how to start a marijuana dispensary!    

Thinking of starting a marijuana dispensary! If so, let us help you get started!

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3. Before learning how to start a marijuana dispensary, hire an attorney who has focused on medical marijuana law!

Early on you might be tempted to try and learn how to start a marijuana dispensary without hiring an attorney but this is a big no-no! Always, always, always hire an attorney to discuss murky laws that you probably don't know much about. With medical marijuana being a new industry, having a lawyer focusing on the ever-changing cannabis landscape is vitally important to your medical marijuana operation, and especially when learning how to start a marijuana dispensary.  

4. Make sure that you and all of your staff are legal medical marijuana patients in the state of California

If you've done your homework, you are already well aware of the fact that your entire staff must be legal medical marijuana patients in order to operate the collective that you create. Absolutely under no circumstances should you allow someone to work for you medical marijuana dispensary without first being a legal cannabis patient. This goes for medical marijuana growers, patients, or employees. This is vitally important when successfully learning how to start a marijuana dispensary.  

5. Always back up all documents! Keep some on-site and some off-site. When thinking about how to start a dispensary, this is important!

Like the other points on this list, it is extremely important to back up any and all documents pertaining to you medical marijuana dispensary, delivery service, or grow operation. Popular services to use are Dropbox, Google Docs, or other cloud services that allow you to do this with little effort. Again, when learning how to start a medical marijuana dispensary, backing up your files are very, very important!  

6. Make sure that you are paying your board of directors and staff “reasonable compensation.”

Though "reasonable compensation" is an ambiguous term to say the least, it is an important one to keep in mind when paying your employees, growers, and yourself. For an in-depth discussion on compensation matters, feel free to check out our course on the subject. It's a must-read when learning how to start a marijuana dispensary.

7. Make sure that your growers are part of your collective.

As mentioned above, not only do the medical marijuana growers have to have their own MMJ cards, they must also be a member of your collective in order to cultivate weed for you. To do this, simply verify that they have their medical marijuana card and then have them feel out a member collective agreement. For more information on which legal documents and form to use, feel free to check out our best selling product.  

8. Stay safe! Take the appropriate security measures at all times! This is especially important when thinking about how to start a marijuana dispensary.

Because the medical marijuana industry is so new and has very little regulation around it, it is vitally important to stay safe at all times. This mean having the necessary precautions in place such as security systems, alarm systems, doors, security guards, and anything else you might need to stay safe. Again, when learning how to start a marijuana dispensary, if you're not safe, then nothing else matters!  

9. Stay on top of all matters dealing with money -- accounting, payroll, etc.

If you're seriously about starting a medical marijuana dispensary then you should also be serious about running a profitable and sustainable business. Like most other successful businesses, management of the finances are a crucial part of a healthy and long-lasting operation. For more information on the types of ways you can stay on top of your dispensary's finances, feel free to check out our course on the subject.  

10. When marketing, make sure to stay compliant with all state and local laws.

Unlike other for-profit businesses in your city, there are unique and highly specific laws surrounding the types of marketing medical marijuana dispensaries can take part in. While you can't simply throw your business up on a billboard, you actually have a significant amount of freedom and many options to choose from that can get your name out and help your operation grow. For more information on the types of marketing you can do, feel free to check out our blog post on the subject.  

11. Don’t use words such as “pot,” “weed,” “ganja,” etc when marketing your medicine. Use patient-friendly terms!

When learning how to start a marijuana dispensary, you must keep in mind that you are first and foremost a collective for patients who need their medicine.  Having said that, it is imperative that you use terms dealing with medicine when marketing your dispensary or speaking with patients. Be professional at all times!    

Thinking of starting a marijuana dispensary! If so, let us help you get started!

Start Your Cannabusiness Today!

 

So there you have it! A complete guide to how to start a dispensary in your town or place of business. Here at the College of Cannabis we have plenty other resources apart from how to start a dispensary. For instance, if you're interested in getting your cannabis card or starting a medical marijuana delivery service, or if you're curious about budtender salary and other compensation matters. Enjoy!
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