These days, the burgeoning marijuana business is where it’s at, with four states having passed legislation that allows for the consumption of weed for recreational purposes.
And, according to a 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, five million people use marijuana on a daily basis (and this was beforerecreational weed was legalized in Colorado in 2012).
So how do you get a slice of this delectable pot brownie? It’s no easy feat.
Because laws differ slightly by state, we will use Washington’s recent foray into the pot business as our tentpole for your step-by-step dispensary plan:
1. Find your source.
First thing’s first, you have to decide where the pot will come from. Keep in mind, your grower must be entirely on-the-books legal.
For Washington state, the grower must be licensed and abide by all rules set forth in Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana sales.
This means the product will have to pass state-run tests for things like potency analysis, moisture content and the presence of pesticides and chemicals, and as the distributor, you must track the product from “seed to sale.”
This requires logging the marijuana’s journey from the farm to your store and how it was distributed and sold there.
You and your grower will also need to go through a criminal history check to be allowed to sell.
2. Finding the funds.
This is where things get even trickier. Most national banks don’t give loans to new dispensaries or growers, or even accept the cash from sales in checking or savings accounts.
This is because the legislation allowing for legalized pot is so new, banks are still fearful they’ll be shut down by the feds who still consider marijuana an illegal narcotic.
A Colorado-based business is hoping to change all that by opening the first ever bank for marijuana businesses, but until then, you may be on your own to get funding.
Some analysts argue it can cost up to half a million dollars to run your first month alone, so keep your eyes peeled for angel investors.
One more thing to bear in mind: You and all of your investors must be at least 21 years old, and have lived in Washington state three months to legally be allowed to do business.
3. Choosing a location.
Again, this depends on the state, but there are zoning rules in place that make some areas better for a dispensary than others.
However, if you are inclined to apply for a location that is busy (like Seattle, which has 21 allotted licenses available), you may run into the issue that there are more valid applications for a license than open spaces.
In which case, you’ll have to cross your fingers you will win the lottery for a spot.
4. Applying for a license.
License applications cost $250, with a $1,000 annual renewal fee. Before you apply for your license, you will need to have your optimal storefront picked out.
Keep in mind that the store cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, daycare of government housing area.
If you are wary of forking over a down payment for a building before you get the green light, don’t worry.
You only have to have a commitment to buy or lease a property to apply, and you can ask for an opt-out clause in case the application doesn’t go through.
5. Managing a store.
So now, you have your license, your product and your store. But in order to stay legal, you must have a strict security system in place.
All employees must wear badges, and surveillance cameras should cover every square inch of your establishment to ensure all customers are identified properly.
When building your storefront sign, it must be 1,600 square inches maximum.
And you have to be sure that all employees know the limit of sale.
In Washington, one person may buy one ounce of usable marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana-infused solids for use with Arize Air, 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, etc.
Edibles are not yet available, but the state is revisiting the regulation.
All labels must have the proper warnings on them as well, saying things like, “this product has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming,” the risks of use during pregnancy, etc.
As far as pricing goes, everything must cover the cost of the purchase from your grower and the 25 percent state tax, so no under-pricing your competitors.
Via: Elite Daily