First Steps That You Need To Take In Order To Open A Weed Dispensary

You’ve discovered the ideal business opportunity and are now ready to take the next step. There’s more to starting a business than merely filing paperwork with the government. This easy-to-follow guide will help you create your recreational marijuana dispensary. These processes will ensure that your new firm is well-planned, legally compliant, and correctly registered.

STEP 1: Make a business plan.

As an entrepreneur, you must have a well-thought-out strategy. It will assist you in mapping out the details of your company and uncovering some unknowns. The following are a few key points to consider:

  • What are the initial and continuing expenses?
  • What is the demographic of your target market?
  • What is the maximum amount you can charge customers?
  • What will you call your company?
  • Fortunately, we’ve already done a lot of the legwork for you.
  • How much does it cost to open a recreational marijuana dispensary?

For many entrepreneurs mail order marijuana, one of the most shocking parts of opening a recreational dispensary is the large financing required. Simply obtaining a license to sell marijuana might cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on your state’s requirements. The application fee for a dispensary in Colorado, one of the most well-established recreational states, can cost up to $15,000.

Depending on the state, dispensary operators report a wide variety of startup costs. Some businesses cost up to $500,000 to establish, including cultivation, fees, licensing, insurance, retail rental, and more, while others cost as low as $40,000.

How much does it cost to run a recreational marijuana dispensary on a regular basis?

A recreational marijuana business has a number of recurring expenses. You must keep your product stocked, stay in accordance with the law, and pay your staff. Because of the unique nature of your company, you should expect goods to cost more in general. Due to legal concerns, not all commercial property owners want to rent retail space to dispensaries. Those who do will almost certainly raise your rent.

Because you must track all of your purchases in accordance with state requirements, you cannot use a normal point-of-sale (POS) system like other retail enterprises. That means the monthly cost of using your specific POS system could be several thousand dollars. The exact amount of your expenses will depend on the size of your business and the legislation in your area.

Who is the intended audience?

Depending on your level of marijuana knowledge, you might be astonished to learn how many people are willing to buy it. At recreational dispensaries, you’ll find young, old, and everyone in between. Some people use it for fun. Others use it to deal with medical problems. What they all have in common is a gratitude for having a legal way to obtain what they require. If your neighborhood permits recreational sales, you’ll have plenty of consumers to keep you busy.

What is the revenue model for a recreational marijuana dispensary?

The sale of cannabis goods to the general public is how a recreational dispensary makes money. The number of cannabis products available in dispensaries continues to rise. Product manufacturers typically have well-established sales teams, so contacting those teams will provide you with a plethora of possibilities for stocking your dispensary.

What is the maximum amount you can charge customers?

While dispensaries may hold sales from time to time, the price of cannabis items remains fairly similar from one dispensary to the next in a given area. Taxes account up a large chunk of the total cost. In Washington, for example, cannabis items are subject to a 37 percent sales tax. The amount you charge a consumer is determined by the items they purchase. Cannabis flower can cost anything from $7 to $20 per gram. The price of edibles can range from $10 to $50.

What is the maximum profit a recreational marijuana dispensary can make?

Depending on their location and the size of their business, dispensary operators can make a good profit. Small dispensaries report sales of $100,000 to $250,000, whereas medium-sized dispensaries record sales of $500,000 or less. More successful dispensaries, on the other hand, report sales of up to $10 million.

How can you increase the profitability of your company?

You should be able to construct a profitable recreational marijuana dispensary if you do things correctly. Good customer service and the correct location can help you build a loyal customer base and grow your business. The most significant aspect in profitability, on the other hand, might seem counterintuitive. Make an investment in your legal and tax compliance.

Engage the services of a lawyer and a CPA to verify that your company is constantly obeying the rules. Failure to follow the guidelines might result in significant fines and, in the worst-case scenario, the closure of your company.

What will you call your company?

It’s crucial to pick the right name. Read our comprehensive guide to naming your company. We recommend checking to see if the business name you want is available as a web domain and securing it as soon as possible so that no one else does.

STEP 2: Establish a legal entity.

The sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation are the most popular business structures.

If your recreational marijuana dispensary is sued, forming a legitimate business entity such as an LLC or corporation safeguards you from being held personally accountable.

There are two such dependable services:

You have the option of forming an LLC yourself and paying only the minimal state LLC fees, or you may employ one of the Best LLC Services for a nominal price.

It’s a good idea to choose a registered agent for your LLC. A free year of registered agent services is frequently included in LLC creation packages. You have the option of using a registered agent or acting on your own.

STEP 3: File your taxes

Before you can start doing business, you’ll need to register for a number of state and federal taxes.

You will need to apply for an EIN in order to register for taxes. It’s really simple and completely free!

You can get your EIN for free by going to the IRS website, faxing it in, or mailing it in. Read our article What is an EIN? for more information on EINs and how they might help your LLC.

Find out what an EIN is and how to get one in our What is an EIN guide, or look up your existing EIN in our EIN lookup guide.

Taxes on Small Businesses

Depending on which business form you choose, you may have different taxation options for your company. Some LLCs, for example, may benefit from being taxed as a S corporation (S corp).

These resources will help you learn more about small business taxes:

  • Sole Proprietorship vs. LLC Taxes
  • Corporation vs. LLC LLC vs. S Corp

How to Form an S-Corporation

There may be state-specific taxes that apply to your company. In our state sales tax guides, you can learn more about state sales taxes and franchise taxes.

STEP 4: Establish a corporate bank account and a credit card

Personal asset protection necessitates the use of distinct business banking and credit accounts.

When your personal and corporate accounts are intermingled, your personal assets (such as your home, car, and other possessions) are put at danger if your company is sued. This is referred to as piercing your corporation veil in business law.

Furthermore, learning how to develop company credit can help you obtain credit cards and other funding in your business’s name (rather than your own), lower interest rates, and increase credit lines, among other benefits.

Open a bank account for your business.

This keeps your personal assets separate from the assets of your firm, which is vital for personal asset protection.

It also simplifies accounting and tax preparation.

Recommended: Find the finest national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly institutions, one with multiple brick-and-mortar locations, and more in our Best Banks for Small Business study.

Create a net-30 account.

Net-30 vendors are the way to go when it comes to creating your business credit. Vendors use the term “net-30” to describe a business credit arrangement in which the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving products or services.

Businesses that need inventory urgently but don’t have the cash on hand sometimes use net-30 credit arrangements.

Net-30 credit accounts are reported to the major business credit agencies (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Commercial, and Equifax Business Credit) in addition to developing business ties with vendors. This is how companies establish company credit in order to get approved for credit cards and other lines of credit.

Get a credit card for your business.

By keeping all of your company spending in one location, you can easily distinguish between personal and business expenses.
It also establishes your company’s credit history, which can help you raise funds and attract investment in the future.

STEP 5: Create a business accounting system.

Understanding your business’s financial performance requires keeping track of your numerous expenses and sources of money. Maintaining precise and complete records also makes annual tax filing much easier.

Our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet makes LLC accounting simple.


Failure to get required permissions and licenses can result in significant fines or possibly the closure of your firm.

STEP 7: Obtain commercial insurance

Insurance, like licenses and permits, is required for your business to operate safely and legally. In the case of a covered loss, business insurance protects your company’s financial well-being.

There are a variety of insurance policies designed for various sorts of organizations with various risks. If you’re not sure what kinds of dangers your company might face, start with General Liability Insurance. This is the most frequent type of coverage required by small businesses, so it’s a good place to start.

Get more information on General Liability Insurance.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is another important insurance product that many businesses require. If your company employs people, it’s likely that your state will require you to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

STEP 8: Create a brand for yourself.

Your company’s brand is what it stands for, as well as how the general public perceives it. A strong brand will set your company out from the competition.

If you’re not sure how to design a logo for your small business, check out our Design Guides for Beginners, where we’ll provide you useful tips and guidance on how to create the most distinctive logo for your company.

If you already have a logo, you can use our Free QR Code Generator to convert it to a QR code. To produce a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website, choose from 13 different QR code kinds.

How to promote and market a marijuana dispensary for recreational use

Marijuana marketing regulations differ from state to state. You may acquire billboard advertisements, big newspaper commercials, independent local newspaper advertisements, or web adverts, depending on the restrictions in your area. In exchange for contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses, several dispensaries offer client loyalty programs with coupons and other incentives. Before you buy any advertising, be sure you know what the rules are for selling your products.

What can you do to keep your consumers coming back?

If you’re lucky enough to be your town’s only recreational dispensary, you might have no issue keeping clients coming back. Even if your sales are great, it’s best to plan ahead and establish customer loyalty now. Sales and other promotions are a great method to entice customers back, especially if they’re available through an app or other customer loyalty program. It’s also beneficial to provide a clean, comfortable, and welcoming shopping environment. The more reputable your store appears and provides for customers, the more you will stand out from the competitors.

Still undecided on what type of business to start? Check out the most recent Small Business Trends to get some ideas.

STEP 9: Make a website for your company.

The next stage is to construct a website for your business after you’ve defined your brand and designed your logo.

While developing a website is an important step, some people may believe it is out of their grasp due to a lack of website-building skills. While this may have been a valid concern in 2015, web technology has advanced significantly in recent years, making the lives of small business owners much easier.

The following are the key reasons why you should not put off developing your website:

Websites are required for any reputable businesses. When it comes to getting your business online, it doesn’t matter what size or industry you’re in.

Social media accounts, such as Facebook pages or LinkedIn company profiles, are not a substitute for having your own website.

Website builders, such as the GoDaddy Website Builder, have simplified the process of constructing a basic website. To build a website that you can be proud of, you don’t need to hire a web developer or designer.

The process will be quick and pleasant if you use our website building tips, and it should take no more than 2-3 hours to complete.

WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify are some more popular website builders.

STEP 10: Set up your phone system for your business.

Getting a business phone is one of the most effective strategies to keep your personal and professional lives distinct and confidential. That isn’t the only advantage; it also aids in the automation of your organization, provides respectability to your company, and makes it easier for potential consumers to locate and contact you.

Entrepreneurs that wish to set up a business phone system can take advantage of a variety of services. We compared and ranked the top firms based on price, features, and simplicity of use. To get the best phone service for your small business, read our analysis of the Best Business Phone Systems 2022.