Opening a Medical Marijuana Dispensary

By January 22, 2010Uncategorized

If you want to set up a business which can really help the community and earn you substantial revenue then you should considering selling medical marijuana in one of the legal states.

This unique service gives you complete guidance on starting a medical marijuana dispensary to learn what is required to set up a dispensary. It will save you time and take away the stress of applying to become a licensed marijuana dispensary. Your chances of having your application approved will increase. Also they provide additional guidance on how to run your marijuana dispensary or delivery service. The best info you can get about this is from Cannabis University.

Marijuana Dispensary budtender

The way things are going, cultivating and supplying legal marijuana has got to be a growth industry in more ways than one; in fact, it has been labelled the green rush.  If you’re wondering how to get in on this burgeoning health care sector you are not alone.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is easy money, though.  Opening a medical marijuana dispensary is by no means straight-forward; neither is running one because, as far as federal law is concerned, marijuana – medical or not – is illegal, period.

In this article we give you some points to steer you in the right direction.

1.   Create A Business Plan

2.   Get Funding

Be realistic, you will need at least $30,000 to set up; this figure includes the following essentials:

  • Rent
  • Security deposit
  • Marijuana Dispensary Software
  • Security guard
  • Computer system
  • Merchant Facilities for accepting credit cards
  • Security system
  • Display cases
  • Legal Advice
  • Guide to opening a medical marijuana dispensary
  • Furnishings
  • Phone line
  • Office equipment

It does not include:

  • medication,
  • pipes,
  • water-pipes,
  • papers
  • vaporizers
  • clones
  • related merchandise

3.   Form a Corporation

Just as with any other start up business, you need to create a business plan.  Most medical marijuana lawyers recommend that you form a corporation for maximum protection.  The type of corporation will depend on the law in your particular state; one thing is certain, you cannot open a Federal 501(c) (3) corporation because as far as the Federal Law is concerned, marijuana is illegal, period. Instead you need to open a C-corporation:

  • Choose an available business name that complies with your state’s corporation rules
  • Appoint the initial directors of your corporation
  • File formal paperwork, usually called “articles of incorporation,” and pay a filing fee that ranges from $100 to $800, depending on the state where you are incorporating
  • Create corporate “bylaws,” which lay out the operating rules for your corporation
  • Hold the first meeting of your board of directors;
  • Issue stock certificates to the initial owners (shareholders) of the corporation
  • Obtain city and county business licenses, which will involve:
    • Meetings with relevant city and county officials
    • Meetings with relevant city and county government agencies
  • Find your premises, which will involve:
    • Discussing the current laws and possible liabilities with the potential landlord
  • Design your dispensary floor plan and security procedures
  • Design your record keeping system – this is vital
  • Design your inventory control
  • Design your forms :
    • Patient registration and record cards
    • Staff timesheets
    • Daily stationery

As already stated, much of what you do will be governed by medical marijuana state-laws and, before you go any further, we strongly suggest you find a weed school and make yourself familiar with the laws for the state where you propose to open your marijuana dispensary.


Author Michael Davies

More posts by Michael Davies

Join the discussion 50 Comments

  • How do I open a dispensary?
    Opening any new business can be a daunting prospect, but delving into the complex legalities of the Marijuana industry can shake even the staunchest of entrepreneurs.
    Where to start? You’ve come to the right place.
    DispensaryEasy will provide you with everything you need to launch your business.
    Our Exclusive Industry Related Business Plan Template

  • Karina says:

    Could someone please update this to include Florida? We have the vote upcoming up in November and I would love some more information.

  • chad K says:

    I want to open a dispensery in Michigan Please somebody help me in the right direction. I heard asking the proscutor? Lawyers? were do i begin? any one?

  • J Morgan says:

    California MMJ law requires medical marijuana dispensaries to be non-profit making entities. This “not-for-profit” business model is based on transparent expense reimbursements. Growers should only be paid a reasonable wage (likely per hour) for their efforts and reimbursements for growing expenses. The dispensary and grower are required to collect and keep a track of all the receipts as well as a work log. Visit for more California dispensary and delivery operations.

  • james b says:

    It, does not cost 30,000 to open a dispensary. I know cause I it and we have been open 2 years. Most important thing is to learn how to grow. 80 percent of your expenses are for the products. If you do not grow your self there will be know way you can compete with other shops prices. Second thing is your going have to work a lot of hours your self be prepare it is extremely difficult.

  • dave says:

    i live in illinois i am hoping that medical marijuana passes in april looking for help on how to open a dispensary

    • Kate O'Connor says:

      Where do you live and where are you going have your location? My name is Katie, I have been sick for 36yrs….I can’t believe it, I’ve never put it into years, Lol, I do not like the sound of it, must have been my copying mechanism?

      I live in IL and I am interested possibly in opening a dispensary. I will be talking to a Dr. tomorrow regarding my proposal. He is an Infectious Disease Doc.and has a lot of
      AIDS patients.

      I’m not sure if I’m missing the boat but I only want to supply the High CBD Lower TCH.

  • My name is David Herold and I am a authorized marijuana cultivator for medical marijuna in the state of Arizona. If I was to be allowed to grow, would I be allowed to somehow create a dispensary under legal rights for a business I could create? I am a recent graduate of Sullivan University with a degree in Hospitality Management which is a good business degree to get. If possible, I would open up some type of business for my next job with legal rights to be able to sell for profit.

  • Dania says:

    I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on which state would be the next in line to set up shop for selling medical marijuana. I live in California and am looking to relocate. What states have the greatest potential growth for medicinal marijuana? Thanks

  • Cannabis College says:

    good article, but people really should watch out for frauds who are helping people open dispensaries.

  • JP Morgan says:

    Hi Dan:

    Feel free to post any dispensary or delivery service questions.

    Good Luck and Godspeed:)


    • Cannabis College says:

      Well if you’re that smart and trying to educate people on starting a “dispensary”, why don’t you start by telling them about how the California Attorney General Guidelines state that “dispensaries” are not a recognized entity in Ca, the only recognized entities are collectives and cooperatives. See, this is why people should not take free advice from every Tom, Dick and Harry on the web. Take some real college courses with attorneys that specialize in the MMj industry.

  • jody says:

    Hi everyone- I was interested in opening up a dispensary in Cali and what I am hearing is that each and every city is changing their laws on getting a business license to make it more difficult for the operations to exist!

    I don’t know only that I sure would hate to invest 30 to 40,000 and end up not even being able to operate my business. Also I own 2 business in Florida (different industry as medical marijuana is not legal here yet) but I was wondering if these videos that everyone is suggesting to buy in the previous posts more about how to open a business or the do’s and don’ts of opening a legal marijuana dispensary?

    I know how to own and operate a business as I have 2 successful surf and skate board shops. So I do not need to know about merchant services, incorporating and negotiating leases or any of that I have all of that knowledge all I need to know is the legalities of opening this particular type of business.

    Also, I heard that there is only a few in San Diego county that are actually operating legally because the license is hard to get and that some are being shut down daily is this true?

    • Chris says:

      Yes but once this last bag of funding designated for causing collectives grief is spent, and more court actions suing enforcement back into niceness again, things should go back to favorable conditions once more.

      Meanwhile you MUST have a business continuity plan. The physical location is important but may not be permanent. If there is a raid or robbery you MUST have your records stored safely, securely, OFF-SITE.

      Sending an email to your patient base with the new address IF you must move your location is all it takes if you have everything stored in 420soft.

      Learn more at – the most recent news has actually INCREASED demand and business is booming.

  • greg says:

    check out low price for nonprofit incorporation in Cailfornia.

  • Katie says:

    If you live in California, I know a great lawyer that can help you set up a dispensary. He helped my friend set one up, and I have been working with him to set up my own. He is reasonably priced, and really knows his stuff!! Here is his contact info if anyone is interested!!

    Jason Ryan Thompson

    • DrGreenthumbs80 says:

      Hi Kate, just wandered if you’ve managed to get started?! I contacted thompsons and he hasn’t even had the decency to reply!!

  • Dan. says:


    i am looking for someone who can help me with a dispensary business plan.

    contact me Asap….

  • markee says:

    Im curious, is it possible to get a grant to open a dispensary?

  • Hi, Matt Jacobsen here… I see theres a lot of confusion on this matter (even on this board – when in reality its a very simple process).

    If you want to open a dispensary get it from the horses mouth. Ive personally opened six in California.

    Ive written a free newsletter with tips, tricks, advice, your states laws and the exact process you need to take for any state you want to operate in.

    If you want to know how to do this, get the free newsletter Ive written for this exact purpose at on how to open a dispensary

    Ask away if you need additional help or questions.

    Regards, Matt

  • Toalson says:

    You don’t need, Merchant Facilities for accepting credit cards. You can just get an ATM machine.

    Merchant accounts are a pain in the a**. Also, $30,000 is a high estimate to start a dispensary, in certain states. I started mine with only $9,000 granted I suffered for the first few months but hey I did what I had too.

    • cesar mendez says:

      Any advice u can give me on starting one? Really interested on starting one but want some personal advice from someone running one already.Thanx for your time.

    • maximo says:

      hi toalson i live in new jersey do you know if any one can open a dispensary in new jersey cause i herd that its only for nonprofits centers? can you give me an idea thankyou….

    • Tom says:

      Love to be able to chat with you, could you spare a few for a call? I have had a few biz,s in the past and am definetly interested. I am also a “patient in waiting” leaving for ca soon,back to God,s country.

      Thankinrg you in advance


    • Mike says:

      So your saying that I can open my own dispensary with at least $10000.00 to start?

      Please give me more info in this business I have alot of currency to open one right now. You have experience in this business already because of your strong efforts. So, will you help me? Please.

    • Mike says:

      By the way this message is for you Toalson. Thank you.

    • kawn says:

      Mighty Smart Dude………. ATM. I want to start my own & had not thought of that.


      • Toalson says:

        Sorry, I haven’t been on this site in a long time. I started my dispensary in Boulder, Colorado with $9,000 but let me tell you those were tough times. I worked my ass off. I also owned a dispensary in Santa Barbara, California. Also a Doctors clinic in Las Vegas.

        You can not open a dispensary in Colorado now for under $100,000. This is because the state license is $15,000 + 10,000 for a grow operation license and in Colorado you have to have both as you are required to “grow your own” or at least 70%, the other 30% you can buy from another dispensary.

        California is the best place to open a dispensary, in some counties you don’t even need a business license.

    • brian says:

      hello my name is brian im looking to open one up you said you did it with 9,000. how did you do that where did you find all the info you need and what do you need. thankl you

  • Jo Bo says:

    Hi Guys,

    There’s a really good guide available here.

    It’s not free, but it’s very affordable, written by medical marijuana lawyers and shows you everything you need to do.

    Thought I’d throw that out there in case anyone was interested.


    • Milo says:

      Thanks for the heads up Jobo! I bought the package you linked to and it’s great! Wish I found this one first. Cheers!

  • Jay says:

    Question, once the business is set up, do you grow your own supply?
    Or do you get set up by the hospitals?

    • bill says:

      It would be hard to manage a shop and grow as both are a full time job.

      I can suggest that you put the word out and the growers will show up. I am a grower and am always looking to get rid of some product ! And there are other goodies that you need ,clones, hash (at least 3 different kinds) and edibles, books, glass pipes, drinks, some free stuff usually a editable or a pipe or clones.

      Just show your appreciation to your customers and good scenery behind the counter Good Luck.

      • Terry says:

        I’m interested in speaking with you, one on one, BILL! I live in Alaska and have a few questions. I am not sure if my email is on here, or if it’s allowed to BE on here but here goes, just in case .. terryreed at the everlovin’ Alaska dot net! 😀

  • Green Dream says:

    With all things in order about how long will it take to get the dispensary up and running?

    • Jo Bo says:

      It could take a few weeks up to a couple of months, depending on the state.

      There’s a really good guide available here.

      It’s not free, but it’s very affordable, written by medical marijuana lawyers and shows you everything you need to do.


    • Toalson says:

      With everything in order, meaning a business license. You can open as soon as you get your business license. However most of the new medical marijuana states are making a long process.

  • dave says:

    hi, i am very interested in this buisness here in nj. i belive it has serious growth potential. i dont have the funds to start my own dispensary yet, but i really want to get into asap the buisness even if this means i must start at an entry level position. so this is to anybody out there that is starting a cannabis dispensary in new jersey. if you happen to stumble across this and u need help e-mail me at

  • David M says:

    How you doin my name is David I am extremely interested in opening my own dispensary. I have the funds, business plan ect… i was just wondering where do i go to to apply in order to get the ball rolling i have the building picked out and all. I live in atlantic coulnt nj and would really appreciate if you could assist me in findin a number or place that i can obtain to apply and start. I saw in ac press they are accepting just didnt say where… please help asap… Thank You Very Much David

  • Elias says:

    Like others I would like to know how to get into the business in New Jersey, could you possibly help?

  • Chris says:

    There is Technology required as well. The Medical Marijuana Dispensary Management application, Hardware (Point of Sale Touchscreen, Barcode Scanner, ID/CC Swiper, Label Printer, Electronic Cash Drawer, and of course you’ll want Digital Scale Integration).

    More at

  • Ryan says:

    If you are looking to open medical marijuana store anywhere in U.S then I would personally suggest you to get an ebook developed by This ebook is fantastic for anyone looking to open marijuana store. It covers of all your questions related to opening your own marijuana dispensary or store in more details. It seems that they have finely researched every little thing one needs before starting the marijuana dispensary.

  • James says:

    try this link for Jersey

    Also small newspapers like the have lots of adverts for medical marijuana dispensaries. Maybe look for one in Jersey.

  • Corey says:

    If anyone needs info about setting up a merchant account for their dispensary check out website: We can have you accepting major credit cards for your MMD in 24-72 hrs. Convenience for the Patients. More profit for the dispensary.

    MMD Credit Cards

  • SuperFly says:

    Hey Ray, me you both. I need to know if I need to obtained a license through the NJ Dept of Health. DHSS
    I need help. Thanks

  • ray mangold says:

    Could you please help me obtain information for getting into the medical marijuana business in New Jersey. There is very little information available. please let me know if there is anyone i can contact here in jersey. thank you, ray mangold

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