How to open a Dispensary

Almost a decade ago, Colorado voters approved the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Now, 37 states have medical marijuana programs with 18 of those also allowing recreational cannabis for adults over age 21. The growing approval of legalization coupled with the cannabis industry’s economic benefits make it an attractive sector for entrepreneurs. In 2020, cannabis sales reached $17.5 billion, an increase of 46 percent from 2019.


Those looking to enter the cannabis industry must first consider whether they want to start their own plant touching cannabis operation or a non-plant touching ancillary business. License opportunities for plant touching operations vary from state to state but they generally fall within four categories: cultivation, manufacturing, dispensary, or distribution.


Dispensary licenses offer one of the healthier profit margins, but are also one of the most competitive. Before applying for a dispensary license it is important that you have already drafted standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your facility.