Here’s how you can open a Marijuana dispensary in California

Here’s how you can open a Marijuana dispensary in California

The use of medical and recreational marijuana is completely legal in the state of California. Opening a Marijuana dispensary is completely legal in CA but if you’re new to the town, you’ll need to get familiar with the state laws. The marijuana business is booming in California and according to a report, California sold $2.8 billion worth of marijuana in 2018. Starting a Marijuana dispensary in Calfornia can be a bit complicated and you’ll need to do your research before you open a marijuana business. Bear with us because we’ll be briefly discussing how you can open a Marijuana dispensary in California in 2020.

Legal Policies 

First, you will need to get familiar with the state marijuana laws before you can open a Marijuana dispensary. Selling recreational marijuana is a bit more complex than selling tobacco. You’ll need to learn about all the rules and regulations of the state concerning marijuana. In California, the following policies are in place: 

For Users:

  • You must be 21 or older to have, purchase, or use recreational cannabis. This includes smoking, vaping, and eating cannabis-infused products.
  • You may possess 28.5 grams of cannabis plant material (about an ounce) and 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.
  • It is illegal to give or sell retail cannabis to minors.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis.
  • It is illegal to consume, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis in public. It is illegal to open a package containing cannabis or any cannabis products in public. This includes but is not limited to parks and sidewalks, business, and residential areas.
  • It is also illegal to consume cannabis in other locations where smoking is illegal, including bars, restaurants, buildings open to the public, places of employment, and areas within 15 feet of doors and ventilation openings. 
  • Even though it is legal under California law, you cannot consume or possess cannabis on federal lands such as national parks, even if the park is in California. Among the areas that are federal lands in the San Francisco Bay Area are the Presidio, Alcatraz Island, the Marin Headlands, and Ocean Beach. 
  • You can consume cannabis on private property, but property owners and landlords may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their properties.
  • It is illegal to take your cannabis across state lines, even if you are traveling to another state where cannabis is legal.
  • Only state-licensed establishments may sell retail cannabis products.
Source – SfTravel 

For Business Owners: 

If you’re opening a Marijuana dispensary in the state then you will need to follow these basic business protocols:
  • Following state and local protocols that are required of any new business.
  • Forming and maintaining positive relationships with state and local government and law enforcement agencies.

Starting a Marijuana dispensary that is not in accordance with the California laws can get you in deep trouble. You can be prosecuted in the federal court for not complying with the California Marijuana Laws. Make sure to read them the California Marijuana Laws before starting your business. 

Rental, License and Cost

How much will Marijuana Dispensary will cost? 

Opening a Marijuana dispensary is not cheap and you will need a substantial amount of money to get started. Before anything, you will need to apply for the license to open a medical marijuana dispensary. The application fee for a license is around $2500 but in some cases, you might have to pay nearly $15,000 to get the license for selling medical marijuana. 

Quick Survey

After finding yourself a rental place and paying for all the initial expenses, the average cost of Marijuana dispensary costs around $250,000 to $750,000. Opening a Marijuana dispensary is very costly and there are always some financial risks that you will have to keep in mind. 

Let’s take a look at California’s requirements:

  • Seller’s Permit: Like other businesses selling goods, individuals and startups interested in selling cannabis or cannabis products will need to register for a seller’s permit. This is a basic prerequisite when applying for a cannabis dispensary license.

  • Cannabis duration license: There are two types. Temporary (up to 120 days) and non-temporary (which must be renewed every 12 months)

  • Cannabis dispensary license: Nonrefundable dispensary application fees generally range from $1,000 to $5,000, with registration or annual fees typically between $5,000 and $20,000. 

Source – CrowdSpring

In conclusion, you’ll need at least a quarter-million dollars to open a fancy Marijuana Dispensary in the poshest areas of California. If you’re going small then you can even get started with around $100,000 to $200,000.

And because Marijuana is still considered as an illegal drug by the federal court, you won’t be getting any loans from any bank to open a Marijuana Dispensary.

Take a look at the process of getting Marijuana Dispensary Licences in Colorado to get a better idea of the whole thing. 

Business Plan

A Business plan is vital when starting a new business.

Once you’ve set up the rental place and about to get started, You’ll need a business plan to run a successful business. Starting a new business can be a bit complex and in a field like Marijuana, you will need to be extra careful. A business plan will go a long way in making your business a success. 

A business plan will help you understand the risks involving the business and will help you assess the whole situation of your business. You’ll need a business plan before you can start your business. Make sure to hire a professional to help you with the business plan. Coming up with a business plan yourself is not the best practice in such scenarios. 

Obtaining Product

Obtaining a good and completely legal product for your medical dispensary will be the most important thing of running a safe and successful medical dispensary. Some Marijuana dispensaries grow their own product while some dispensaries buy the products from local farms. 

Growing the product yourself will require you to have your own farm and farmers who are experts in growing marijuana. Farming can be very costly and if you don’t have much space or budget to bear all the expense then you can always buy the product from local farms. 

You will need to contact marijuana wholesalers to buy the product. Make sure to check their paperwork to ensure that you’re buying from legitimate sources. Selling CBD Oil, edibles and other cannabis-infused products are also part of the deal and you can make a bucket load of money from them.

Marketing and Staying Up-to-Date

Once you’re all set and have started your business, you will need to do a lot of marketing to let your customers know that your product is the best. There’s a lot of competition in this field and online marketing will go a long way in this business. You can set up your own e-shop where you can sell all types of marijuana-infused products. Reach out to websites like Leafy and WeedMaps because such websites will put you on the map. Marijuana laws are changing by the day and you will need to stay up-to-date on all of them. One mistake could make a lot of trouble for you with the authorities. Make sure to check CANORML to keep up to date on Marijuana laws and policies.


Starting a Marijuana dispensary can be tricky and you’ll need a bucket load of money to get going in California. But is it worth opening a Marijuana dispensary? Yes, the medical and recreational marijuana business is very profitable and you will turn a profit within the first few years.

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