First I would ask why you want to open a dispensary?  If part of your answer is the reward of helping people then go ahead.  The day to day operations with customers will we the most rewarding, then the money. If you do it solely for the money, Karma will come back and kick you in the dick or vag. Now let’s talk about the deets.

There are currently thirteen states who have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. Each one of these thirteen states has different laws surrounding the purchase and distribution of marijuana. First you want to do all of your own research, but here is a quick break down of most states’ processes. Second you want to follow all state laws and don’t antagonize the feds who might still want to bust you, even though it is legal under state law.

  1. Get legal!This is just common sense plain and simple.
    • Business Acumen. This can be a long process, for example, Marijuana dealers in Arizona and New Mexico must go through the state to obtain a license. They must also acquire tax stamps showing that they have paid the state tax requirements on all sales of marijuana. Enjoy the Process :-).
    • Become a Patient. If you’re going to be in this field, your going to be around it so get yourself covered by Visiting a doctor, it’s easy. If you can, call around first to find one that will write you a script that will cover you for possessing more then the generally accepted legal limit if it’s possible. For example, if you live in California, you’re allowed to possess up to 6 mature and 12 immature plants in general but if a doctor recommends more then you’re allowed to possess more but never have more then 99 plants or 5 pounds because it brings federal charges.
  2. Incorporate. There’s a specific order of steps you need to follow. You need to create a collective as a non-profit corporation first, before you can get your licenses and permits. It’s recommended you form a collective and not a cooperative. or hire a lawyer to make sure the paper work is right so their are no questions on liability.
  3. Sign a lease. You need to do this one last step before you can file for any licenses and permits. Why? The sellers permit and business license requires an address for your location; it’s no good anywhere else.
  4. Obtain a License. Ok, your finally ready to file for licenses and permits. Don’t skip this step, medical marijuana transactions are taxable by law. Usually, An annual fee of $100 is required to become licensed to sell marijuana.
  5. Pay Taxes. Tax stamps are $10 per every ounce you sell, don’t cut corners on this, pay your taxes, you will still be making money. All fees are payable to the Department of Revenue
  6. Open up for business!Don’t skimp out on security, it’s improtant. At least one security camera is required. Follow the law and keep a low profile, no matter what you do it’s still a risk in this business, but it is good to know that you are helping people. Good luck!
    • Security. Watch your parking lot. Not enough people do and it leads to trouble. People loiter, roll up and sell bud to their friends and it makes you a target


For more information check out our Business Plans for Dispensaries at

  116 Responses to “How To Start A Medical Marijuana Dispensary”

  1. patrick, im about your sme age with the same dreams of opening a dispensary, i am a central michigan university student and am educated on the medical marijuana regulations and such, im also looking to link up with an ambitous bussiness partner. is the email, lets talk.

  2. I would like to do the same…..but where do I start?

  3. I am currently a college student at the University of Florida and i was looking into the medical marijuana laws that are set to be voted on in November of 2014! I began investigating and decided that i would want to open up a dispensary in south Florida once I graduate. Its a hard decision because marijuana is still illegal in Florida, and medical marijuana is still far from being legal here. I want to open up a dispensary not for the money or the abundance of marijuana, but the fact that i’ll be helping patients who need medical marijuana and that I would be providing them with that medical care. The dreadful thought of “what if they vote it down” has gone through my head a few times, and i was wondering if moving to a state with medical marijuana would be worth the adventure? I was also wondering how much it would be to start a dispensary? I could go on for days asking questions about starting a dispensary because its just so foreign to the south eastern part of the United States, but if anyone could help me with any questions or provide feedback that would be great. Thanks!

    • Patrick,
      it’s now January 2014 and it looks like we’ll have the signatures to get a vote in Nov.
      As long as the court OK’s the “wording”??? We are waiting on them.
      Send me an email about starting up a co-op in Fla. when it does pass. No law against researching the future.

  4. I want to open a dispensary in phoenix, can you help

  5. Im in Cleveland ohio how to get license to sale marijuana

  6. i’m interested in opening up a dispensery in los angeles,ca. and i would really appreciate any guidence or suggestions you can share with me, it will be very helpfull. Thank You… Hope to hear from you soon.

  7. i would like to open a shop in new mexico im just not trying to go to prison or anything like that whats the best way to supply enough products without getting a trafficking charge?? n how do i become a D.O for cannabis?

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