Business Legal

How to Become a Dispensary Owner

How to Become a Dispensary Owner

Wondering how to become a dispensary owner is a common question many people are interested in. The process of becoming a business owner in any subject is complicated enough, with there being an added layer of challenge for owning a dispensary. Thankfully, there is a general guideline available for people to do so.

Though these steps vary depending on where you live, the broad spectrum of how it operates should suffice. Regardless, below will highlight the steps for owning a dispensary and a few common questions related to the subject. By the end, you’ll know what to do with owning a dispensary.

Step by Step Process For Owning a Dispensary

The only way to learn how to own a dispensary is by following the step-by-step process below. Though these steps may not be the same everywhere you go, they’re accurate enough that they highlight the basic process of the matter. It should give you a basic idea of how you can open a dispensary.

Either way, understand this process can be daunting for countless reasons. You may run into issues with funding, finding a storefront, getting approved, finding products, or plenty of other reasons. Regardless, let’s look at what you can do to open a dispensary.

How to Become a Dispensary Owner
How to Become a Dispensary Owner

1. Are You Eligible?

The first step in opening a dispensary is to find out if you’re eligible. Eligibility is a broad word referencing your state or country’s legality, if you have all the proper credentials, and if you have the means to open a dispensary. First and foremost, check online to make sure it’s legal for you to open a dispensary where you live.

Usually, most people know if cannabis is legal where you live, but you might as well check. Once you do that, check with local state guidelines to see if you pass all the requirements to open a dispensary. Each state varies with its eligibility, making it imperative for you to check the law and rules for where you live.

2. The Importance of Research

After you find out your eligibility, here comes the critical aspect of research. Like your eligibility, research is a broad term that could mean anything in the cannabis industry. Generally speaking, try to determine the best area for your dispensary, what you’ll need in the long run, costs, and anything else.

Consider reaching out to friends in the industry or other dispensaries to see if they have any tips on the matter. Though some dispensaries may hesitate to help potential competition, it’s worth working with whoever is willing. If you can do that and pile on any other information you can find, you’ll be more prepared in the long run.

3. Find a Property For Your Dispensary

Property is arguably the most critical part of a dispensary. After you’ve gathered enough information and are confident at the beginning of this journey, here comes the fun part of finding the right property. Most businesses obviously rent, so try to find a location that’s available and passes all of the local laws for a storefront there.

As noted, every area varies with their local dispensary laws, so make sure the property you’re interested in adheres to all requirements. You don’t want to commit to a location without double-checking with a cannabis lawyer or an expert on the field who can confirm it for you.

4. Create a Plan

Though it may seem complicated at first, a business plan is essential in any business ordeal. If you didn’t know, a business plan helps outline everything you need to run a successful business. Consider looking into a few essential cannabis dispensary business plans to help outline what you need.

Generally speaking, these plans highlight a problem and solution, your target market, location, competition, products, marketing, costs, financing, and anything else related to the dispensary. A business plan is not only used for your benefit but is a way to gain investors for your business.

5. Get Licensed

Licensing tends to be the most expensive portion of opening a dispensary since states have several fees attached to the matter. Either way, look into every license you’ll need to open a legal dispensary. Some aspiring dispensary owners raise the licensing money from investors while others are up-front.

Whatever the case, make sure you obtain any licensing you’ll need. There are plenty of cannabis experts and lawyers who can help outline everything you’ll need. It’s best to work with an expert on this, so one minor mistake can potentially cost you the entire business.

6. Get Products

After you have the licensing and the storefront ready to go, here comes the fun part of getting products on your shelf to sell. Some dispensaries choose to grow their own flower (with it being required in some states), while others strictly work with cannabis cultivators for their product.

Either way, analyze the best option for you and highlight what products you want. Do you want to strictly focus on flower? Or would you rather have a mix of products for people to try? You need to know what you want to make the right deals to get the products you need.

7. The Importance of Marketing

As great as it is to have everything set up and ready for your dispensary, none of that matters if you don’t have a proper marketing plan to go along with it. Marketing is all about promoting and growing your business, ranging from social media to the broader digital spectrum.

Most dispensaries choose to work with professional digital marketing agencies to help them get the most out of the matter. Considering there is so much to work and do in the subject, it’s in your best interest to do the same. Either way, understand the importance of marketing and its necessity to grow your dispensary.


Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to become a dispensary owner let’s take a look at a few common questions people have with this subject. Though these aren’t the only questions you might have, I’m sure some of these have been on your mind, whether you’re aware or not. Let’s take a look!

How much do dispensary owners make?

How much a dispensary owner makes heavily depends on the dispensary type, how long they’ve been open, their size, and much more. Still, if a dispensary can generate around $5 million in annual revenue, you can expect that owner to have a salary of $500,000 a year. Basically, it’s a very lucrative business if done right.

How much does it cost to start a dispensary?

Like how much a dispensary makes, the cost depends on where you plan to open the dispensary and how large you want it to be. Generally speaking, the expense of opening a dispensary goes from $150,000 to $2 million. That incorporates essential expenses of $250,000 for yearly staffing, $100,000 in a yearly lease, and $50,000 for other costs.

Is owning a dispensary profitable?

Yes, as we’ve discussed, a dispensary is exceptionally profitable once you get it going. Though the upfront cost may seem intimidating, that’s what getting an investor is for. Rather than upfront all the money yourself and take a considerable risk, getting investors can ease that burden. All you have to do is give them a piece of the pie.

Where do dispensaries get their products?

Dispensaries get their products from plenty of sources, with some growing the product themselves. Besides manufacturing their products, many dispensaries obtain their products from business producers, concentrate makers, edible bakeries, and countless other options.

How to Become a Dispensary Owner

How to Write a Cannabis Business Plan and What to Know

Writing a business plan is integral in the process, especially if you hope to obtain some investors. Though the business plan portion can be overwhelming if you’re not a writer, you need to realize its significance. As for writing a business plan, write with headers in a word doc and follow a cannabis dispensary business plan outline for the set-up.

What is sold in a dispensary?

Dispensaries are great for the primary purpose of being a central hub for people to purchase their cannabis products. As great as that description is, some people want to know what they can expect from a dispensary. Though every dispensary varies slightly, you can generally expect some flower and edible options with a few other related items.

  • Flower
  • Edibles
  • THC Vapes
  • THC Oil
  • Pre-Rolled Joints
  • Rolling Papers


We hope you enjoyed our look at opening a dispensary. Though this process may seem overwhelming at times, no one can deny how large the industry has gotten over the years. Once you get over the initial process of opening it up, you’ll find yourself in a very lucrative business that’s worth your time.

Nevertheless, if you have any questions on how to become a dispensary owner and market your dispensary, reach out to us at Client Verge. As a digital marketing agency, we specialize in the cannabis industry and have the right tools to get the most out of your business. Contact us today!

Marshan B.


Marshan B.

Marshan Beals is a co-partner at Client Verge Inc. With 8 years of experience in digital marketing, his expertise extends beyond digital marketing for cannabis brands. He is also a sponsor of the High Profits ebook, available for download when you sign up for our email list.