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The Business of Cannabis: How to Start A Dispensary

The Business of Cannabis: How to Start A Dispensary

The cannabis industry is offering lucrative growth opportunities for those with the right vision and access to cash. There are many restrictions that you will need to meet and financial hurdles to overcome just to get a license, and then you will need to either find a grower or qualify as one. However, if you can get over these challenges, cannabis can be quite profitable.

Getting Started

Check the permit fees and restrictions in your area. Depending on where you live, the permitting requirements can be quite expensive; from less than $200 in Louisiana to up to $20,000 in the northeast.


You’ll also need to demonstrate that you have a large amount of available cash to get a permit and thus your dispensary license. This will be included in your Financial Statement and your Business Plan, which you will need to create if you want to appeal to lenders.


Finally, you will need a reputable source of raw goods. If you plan to become a grower, be prepared for more fees. Again, things are more expensive in the northeast. A grower’s license can cost up to $25,000 for the application in Connecticut, and the annual renewal fee is $75,000.

Getting Protected

Marijuana laws are constantly changing and the tax code is not exempt. Make sure you hire the right professionals to help you keep your business on the correct side of the law. For example, you will need

  • monitoring of your cash and product points, such as the till and incoming product
  • insurance to protect you against vandalism and theft, as well as liability
  • an attorney to make sure you’re on top of legal aspects, including permitting
  • an accountant to make sure you’re fulfilling all legal tax requirements


With the right professionals on your team, you can protect your investment, your business, your suppliers, and the people who work for you. Anyone who runs a high cash business needs to take great care of the folks at the till.

Getting Customers

Even if you have the ideal sticks and bricks location, a website, and the chance to build the infrastructure for cannabis delivery in San Diego or whatever region you’re located in is critical. There are many people in need of your products who can’t get out, and others who are interested but may not have time to stop and browse. Convenience is key in the cannabis industry. Customers are always looking for new and easy ways to get their product to them quickly. Especially in 2020 and 2021, the pandemic has and will continue to pose obstacles to dispensaries everywhere. Investing and planning for a delivery system will help your dispensary stay competitive even in COVID times. 


Make sure that your online store shows all your offerings. Consider creating a blog where you can share your expertise on products, dosage recommendations, and application options. If possible, invite current customers to share their experiences with your products and any recommendations. You can consider offering discounts for bulk purchases, and if you have customers you know buy exclusively for recreational use, you can consider offering some small extras with their orders such as aesthetic packaging, stickers, lollipops, or any small cheap thing that will add a personal touch and help you build a personal connection with your customers. 


Too often, products in the cannabis industry are culturally pinned to entertainment and getting high. This is sadly inaccurate as there are many who suffer from serious physical, emotional, and psychological health concerns that can benefit from cannabis use. Make sure that these stories are shared on your website, and if you can create a video testimonials page, do so. For customers who use cannabis for medical uses, be sure to check in with them and ask how your product is working for them. This will provide you the opportunity to suggest alternative strains or consumption methods that may help them get more benefits from your product. Getting help from medical professionals and gathering customer testimonials will help you promote a product that is good for fun and health. 


Finally, strive to give your delivery personnel excellent protection. When possible, keep their transactions cashless to reduce the risk of fraud or theft against your business through them. Provide them with a solid delivery vehicle or compensate them justly for the use of theirs, and consider offering some form of tracking to make sure that their person is not at risk while delivering your product.


Cannabis is coming out into the world and the benefits for many users are quite remarkable. As the decriminalization of this beneficial product grows, legal dispensers are poised to enjoy a serious financial boom.

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