how to get a dispensary licenseHow to get a dispensary license? The exact steps you’ll need to take to open a medical marijuana dispensary will vary depending on where you plan to establish your business. To get a license as a medical marijuana dispensary in the quickest and easiest way, make sure you know the the laws that regulate your area’s medical marijuana market. The following five steps will help you keep on track while pursing your medical marijuana dispensary license.

Consider your past:

Before you do anything, you should be aware that you’re going to have to pass a criminal background check before a state will allow you to sell medical marijuana. If you have any incriminating charges on there, chances are you won’t want to waste your time and money applying for a license since it’s unlikely that you’ll be approved. If you have flaws on your record, consult a lawyer to determine how they could affect your ability to get a license.

How to Get a Dispensary License

Research all applicable licensing regulations

Sixteen states and Washington D.C. currently allow medical marijuana prescriptions to be written for certain ailments. States that currently allow dispensaries to sell cannabis for medical purposes include:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington

Each of these states has unique that dispensaries must adhere to before they can be licensed to sell medical marijuana. Fully understanding the exact stipulations that apply to your business is crucial. For example, California no longer allows new Californian dispensaries to open for business, so to operate one in the state you’ll have to buy or acquire one that already exists.

Record all medical marijuana dispensary license deadlines

To understand how to get a dispensary license you need to know deadlines as well. The medical marijuana dispensary licensing process isn’t complicated by accident. Applicants must pay close attention to when different documents are due to the state. The last thing you want to do is miss licensing deadlines. Doing so means you’ve wasted both your time and money since you’ll have to wait to reapply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.

Some states only offer medical marijuana dispensary licenses once a year. That’s to say, they’ll set one deadline for all license application documents to be submitted. If this day is July 1 and an applicant fails to provide part of the application on time, then they’ll have to wait an entire year before they can reapply to get the license.

If needed, find a surety bond provider

When industries begin to boom, the government agencies responsible for them look for ways to regulate businesses and protect consumer interests. One way this is achieved is through the use of surety bonds. Thus far, Colorado is the only state that has implemented a medical marijuana surety bond requirement. However, increasing discussion within the industry suggests that other states will begin developing their own medical marijuana bond laws soon.

Finding a surety provider that underwrites medical marijuana bonds can be challenging for dispensary owners. Even though the bond amount required of dispensaries is much smaller than typical surety bond amounts, some surety providers are weary of working so closely with the industry. When required, dispensary owners need to find a surety provider as soon as possible to ensure they meet the state’s bonding deadline.

Don’t take advantage of your position and sell marijuana illegally

If you think that using your medical marijuana license is a free pass to sell marijuana to whoever you want, think again. Laws only permit dispensaries to sell marijuana to patients as instructed per the client’s physician. If you get caught selling marijuana in excessive quantities or to those who don’t have a valid prescription, you’ll face penalties that include legal action, license revocation and hefty fines.

This article was written by Danielle Rodabaugh of As editor of the company’s Surety Bonds Insider blog, Danielle has been tracking discussions surrounding medical marijuana surety bonds. helps medical marijuana dispensaries get the surety bonds that are required as a part of the licensing process.

Find out more on how to open a medical marijuana dispensary.

We hope the article helps you to understand how to get a dispensary license.


Author Michael Davies

More posts by Michael Davies

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Barry says:

    I currently live in Virginia and I wish to obtain a license. Do I have to live in a state where it is legal to open a dispensary or can I for example, have a license to open one in Colorado but still live in Virginia? I do plan on moving to Colorado or Oregon soon enough.

  • Lynn says:

    There are no despensaries in Hawaii. Nor does the law allow for one. If I am incorrect, please tell me where there is one or a law I can refer to regarding a license for a despensary.

  • Kevin says:

    Thanks for the information, it really helped an broaden my views of getting a license that can take quite a bit of time and requiring many things that I sure can complete i am currently in highschool and want to own a business and thought about this, Thank you once again.

  • smith support says:

    It is okay for you to take more than another Medical Dispensary. Just go find a real estate agent to look up any person that is advertising their Medical Marijuana Dispensary business license. Already there’s a little that were raided and they don’t have sufficient money to save, so those are for sale.

    There’s also a few Medical marijuana Lawyers that are especially huge in helping you out with forms, official procedure, and necessities for a dispensary.

  • Gas Mask Bongs says:

    Great article, should help out noobies who don’t really know what to look for when getting a license.

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