Many people enjoy starting a business that they love as a hobby and also feel passionate about the type. In the 50s, 60s and later, many people dreamed of opening up a small bar. As the words to the Cheers theme song said:
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.
That was yesterday. Today young people more likely to dream of opening a weed shop. But it’s the same principle. People who enjoy marijuana and honestly believe in the recreational health benefits of mary jane, believing nothing could be better than making a living with the herb they love for their self purposes.
But how to turn the dream into a reality?
In this tutorial, we’ll do our best to cover the basics including:
- How to choose a legal location
- The requirements the state requires
- Where to obtain your marijuana to sell
- How to choose a catchy name for your shop
- How to meet the state’s for sale requirements
Step by Step Instructions
The first thing to do is to choose your legal cannabis dispensary location. While cannabis is legal or nearly legal in all but 11 states, you can only legally sell marijuana through 16 locations in the United States.
These locations are Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C.
Although marijuana legalization laws are changing rapidly, you don’t want to spend
thousands of dollars in an attempt to sell marijuana, only to be busted by the local authorities, go to prison and have your shop and your money confiscated.
What is required to own a cannabis dispensary in a legal location?
Remember that each state sets its own requirements to open a legal cannabis dispensary. So even with the 16 currently legal locations, the rules are all completely different.
Our article would go way too long if we tried to list all the rules of all 16 locations, but here is an example of owning a dispensary in the state of Washington.
First, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board currently limits legal dispensaries to 334 licenses, all of which are filled. It means that you, as a new owner, or co-owner, or company, cannot submit a license for a new dispensary.
And a current owner cannot sell their license to you, as licenses are not transferable. What you can do is buy a business outright, that has a cannabis dispensary license.
Note that it also means you would be responsible for any debts the company is responsible for, so be very careful.
Presumably, the shop you bought your business and license from met all the rules, but be cautious that long term leases are in place.
The reason is that you cannot relocate the business to any place within 1000 feet from any elementary or secondary school, recreation center, playground, child care center, public park, public transit center library, or game arcade that allows minors to enter.
So if you want to relocate the shop, it must meet all those requirements.
As the new owners of the business, you must submit Criminal background checks on financiers, owners, and their spouses, provide id for the same, prove a financial statement accounting for all money invested in the business.
You must also supply copies of bank statements and recent tax returns. Your shop must provide ID Badges for all employees, have an adequate alarm system, and you must have an adequate surveillance camera system.
You must keep extensive records of all inventory and upload records in the state’s database.
These are just a few of the many things required to open up a pot shop, and many states and localities require even more.
Where to obtain the marijuana that you sell?
All legal dispensaries for cannabis require you to stock your store with legally resourced marijuana. Growing and selling marijuana to pot shops is a different thing than selling to the public.
In general, you cannot both grow marijuana for sale to pot shops and also own a retail dispensary. The two are kept separate.
How to meet the states for sale requirements?
It is generally recognized that there are two kinds of sales of legal marijuana, recreational marijuana, and medicinal marijuana.
Only 11 states in the entire country allow recreational marijuana, while 33 states allow medical marijuana.
In most locales, in order to buy marijuana, you must be 21 years of age and get a medical marijuana certificate. (Some allow a medical certificate at age 18,)
The few states that legalize recreational marijuana require you to be 21 and have an acceptable ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
How to choose a catchy name?
Some states limit the ways you can name your shop, but most are pretty open. Do your best to choose a catchy name, but also be sure it isn’t trademarked or copyrighted.
“This Bud’s for You” sounds like an excellent name for a weed shop, but Budweiser might disagree with a lawsuit infringing on their trademark.
Never the less, choose something memorable. Tutti Frutti Cannabis shop is much easier to remember and gets more attention than Whole.
Be smart, and take your time with naming. You might even pay to have a company suggest 100 great names for you.
Conclusion to How to start a weed shop
There is plenty of money to be made in the cannabis dispensary business, but treat it like the serious business that is is. Keep in mind that even if smoking weed is legal in your state, that doesn’t mean everybody in authority has to like it.
They are looking for any excuse to shut you down, so don’t give them any. Make sure you, and your employees, follow every letter of the law to the finest degree.
And be sure to have plenty of money set aside as well as a contingency arrangement with a good lawyer. You may need it. After all, while they ignore it at the moment,
marijuana use and sales are still a federal crime.
Did we miss anything in our tutorial? If you have comments, we would love to hear from you in our comment section.