Cannabis Retailers: 7 Steps To Starting A Dispensary

As the legalization of cannabis progresses over several regions in the west, the growing business opportunities in the area have become a massive appeal for investors and entrepreneurs. More enthusiasts are scouting opportunities to turn their passion for the herb into profitable businesses. 

The vast scope for new business in the cannabis industry stretches from growth to retail. While each of these areas offers variable potential for growth and a set of challenges, the retail segment where you get to open a dispensary has been engrossing many upcoming businesses. Imagine having your dispensary brimming with the latest strains, trending infused edibles, and a wide variety of cannabis products. Bliss, right? 

Well, if starting a dispensary excites you, here are seven steps to follow to open your retail soon. 

1. Look into State Policies

The first step to beginning your work on opening a dispensary is understanding the state policies on the herb and businesses working with it. Start by accessing the legal status of cannabis in your state in detail. While some allow both medicinal and recreational uses, some have restrictions for both applications. 

Look out for the state website, where you may find the details about new cannabis businesses and the processes involved in the application for opening a store. Take time to understand the rule in the state on where and how you can sell cannabis and other related products. You can also take the help of legal aids specializing in the industry to speed up this process. 

2. Go Behind Licenses 

If you look at any of the best online dispensary in Canada 2022, they carry the necessary licenses to sell. Before beginning operations, you will require the licenses for running a cannabis store that make your business compliant with the norms of the state. Typically, it is best to finalize a location for your dispensary and establish the size of the store. This way, you can look for the specific compliances in the said region to complete your application quickly. 

Identify any potential red flags in your application that could motivate authorities to reject it. It could be legal requirements like minimum age and past criminal records. Complete the application thoroughly and make sure to attach all supporting paperwork meticulously. You can consult companies specializing in this area to ensure you produce the best application to increase the chances of getting approved for a license.

3. Complete Your Business Plan 

A thorough business plan can help bring the dispensary of your dreams to reality quickly. The plan should cover every critical aspect of the business, from raising capital to inventory and staffing.  

Explore the competitive landscape and understand how you can raise investments for your business. Is there any existing problem in the segment that you can solve? If so, add this, as it can increase the chances of securing money. 

Similarly, plan out the steps for everyday operations like vendors, inventory and stocking, sale registers, and staff. It can help you estimate the final costs or burn rate involved in building and operating the dispensary. You will then know how to fund the business – whether you include investors, invest your own money or seek sources that can lend. 

4. Bring Your Team Together 

Operating a business will involve managing several tasks daily, and having the right team to help you through it can be helpful. The trick to bringing together the best team for your dispensary is finding people with passion and understanding of the industry.

Your shop will also need a ground team for handling customers, sales, inventory, maintenance and other operations. You will also require a support team with experts for bud selection and compliance. Creating a group of skilled and trustworthy individuals to drive your business along your side can fast-track your dispensary to success. So bring together a team that can create magic together. 

5. Design Your Dispensary 

Dispensary design extends beyond creating a layout for your store. It involves building a brand and laying out the steps to provide the best customer experience. The intention is to ensure you reach out to your customers properly and regularly to keep them loyal to your store. 

Understand the pulse of your customer base and build a brand that appeals to their needs. Create social media campaigns and posters discussing how your store can make cannabis shopping easy. Create business profiles on google business and social media channels. You can stay in touch with customers regularly through these mediums to understand and serve them better. Establish a simple feedback system at the store to know what your customers would like better from you. Encourage them to review your business online for better outreach and more customers.  

6. Build Your Store Tech

Envision the aesthetics of your store and how you intend to provide a seamless and comfortable shopping experience to a customer. One of the most important aspects to cover here is technology infusion.

The right tech infrastructure for your store can ease your compliance burdens and ensure you always stay on top of your inventory and sales. Starting with a good internet connection and a computer, you will need a POS system, inventory management system, and staff management system to run your store. 

Next, to stay close to your customers, you can create a website and enable online orders and delivery. You can use templates available online to create a simple interface that is easy to navigate for the user and find the products. You can encourage them to visit during sales, discounts or new stock arrivals. You can also motivate them to try new products outside their comfort zone to experience the cannabis way of life.  

7. Establish the Chain of Operations 

Starting from sourcing the products to sale, you need to establish a transparent chain of command to know everything is going well and who takes care of what if things go wrong. Discuss with your inventory manager and set up your sourcing channel. You can deal directly with the farms or companies or use distributor networks with well-established connections to multiple sources. Make sure they have the necessary licenses before you do business for the best practices. 


At the store, they delegate responsibilities to each staff member based on their experience and skill sets. Make sure they attend to customers well, as the one-to-one experience can encourage more footfall. Additionally, set up proper security systems like a camera in the store and frequent stock checks to avoid any problems. Keep your bookkeeping up to date and lock the critical areas of your store with a hierarchy of access codes. At this point, your store will be ready to serve cannabis enthusiasts in your region. 

Conclusion

Exploring the cannabis retail segment can be exciting yet challenging for new businesses in the industry. With these tips and tricks, you can quickly begin operations and start relishing the benefits of working in this rapidly growing industry without much hassle. 

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