Opening a cannabis store can be a daunting task. It involves a lot of work, time and money.
It’s important to have a plan for every step of the process. That way, you can ensure your business is in good hands and on the road to success.
1. Find a Location
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a location for your dispensary. From the immediate local market to trends in regional cannabis markets, a location can make or break a new business.
While Canada has legalized cannabis, each province has their own rules regarding where and how dispensaries can operate. These laws can have a large impact on where you open, what products you sell and even how you promote your business.
For example, Calgary recently rejected 105 cannabis retail store proposals because they were too close to schools, daycares or other stores. If you are planning to open a dispensary, you need to know about these regulations before you go out and find the perfect spot.
You also want to consider what type of property you will be looking for and if it is within your budget. This will help you determine if it is worth the upfront investment.
Another consideration is what kind of business you want to run. There are a variety of different types of dispensaries, and you will need to decide whether yours is medical or recreational. If you plan on operating a recreational dispensary, you will need to choose a property that can accommodate the sales floor, cannabis storage and other needs.
Your property should also be big enough to fit the security requirements of your state. This includes a cash vault, a showroom floor and a safe room.
It is also important to look for a space that can accommodate wellness and community programming. This could be through wellness practitioners or in-store programs for customers.
When deciding on your location, it is best to start with an idea of what you hope to accomplish as a dispensary owner and how your store will evolve over time. This will help you determine if the current property is right for your goals or if you need to shop around for a new spot.
2. Get a License
There are several different licenses you can get for your cannabis business, and these will depend on the kind of operations you want to run. Some licenses allow you to grow or sell cannabis while others give you the ability to distribute it.
The first step in opening a retail marijuana dispensary is to apply for a license. The application process can take over a year, as you need to find the right location and design your storefront to meet state regulations.
New York has a special program called CAURD that was created to favor people with marihuana-related offense convictions and their families. If you apply for this type of license, you must submit documentation indicating that you were convicted or had a close relationship with someone who was convicted. This can include birth certificates, adoption paperwork, tax forms, or legal documents showing that you were a dependent of someone with a criminal record.
If you are a corporation, you must also have a history of working with justice involved individuals and can prove positive net assets. This includes having a minimum of 10% ownership in an existing profitable business that is located in New York.
A registered organization can get a cultivator, processor, distributor, or retail dispensary license. The cultivator license allows them to grow and sell their own product to other cultivators and processors, while the processor and distributor licenses allow them to buy products from other producers and resell them to consumers.
You can also get a delivery service or transporter license. These services need to be able to track all aspects of the cannabis supply chain, from seed to sale. They can use software that focuses on cannabis logistics, including tracking the plant lifecycle, GPS monitoring, and route planning.
3. Design the Store
In today’s highly competitive cannabis retail landscape, it’s more important than ever to take smart design decisions to ensure that your dispensary stands out and attracts customers. It’s also essential to consider a store’s layout, staffing, and state requirements when designing the space.
The design of your store should be based on the product you sell, but it should also represent the personality of the brand. Creating an immersive experience that’s unique to your brand is the best way to attract customers and keep them coming back.
A lot of cannabis retailers choose to adopt the same merchandising strategies used by big box retail stores, which typically focuses on creating an open, airy interior that allows customers to easily navigate the store. However, this may not be the best approach for a dispensary, which needs to have a more personalized and educational shopping experience that doesn’t look like any other store.
One way to achieve this is by integrating digital resources into the design. Whether it’s digital signage or touchscreen menus, these tools can help you extend your store’s capacity while keeping the experience unique to your brand.
This is important because if you don’t have these types of tools in place, potential customers could be left feeling confused or even turned off by the store. A digitally connected store can make the entire experience more seamless and streamlined for both your customers and your staff.
Lastly, don’t forget to create an engaging logo that can be scaled well for all of your marketing materials. You’ll need a logo that’s easy to read on everything from billboards to pocketable packaging. In addition, you’ll want to choose a font that’s clean and modern, yet also recognizable and representative of your brand.
4. Hire Staff
Whether you’re a cannabis expert or someone who’s just starting out, finding the right staff is key to your success as an entrepreneur. The cannabis industry is a booming business and the demand for workers in this field is at an all-time high.
If you’re looking to find talent, don’t be afraid to tap into your network. Incentivize your friends and family to recommend candidates, and offer a bonus for referrals.
You’ll also want to attend live industry events and webinars to connect with potential employees. This way, you can learn about their professional background and find out if they’re the right fit for your team.
Another great way to source top-quality candidates is to look at the job market for similar roles in other industries. For example, people who work in the consumer packaged goods, biotech, financial services, or pharmaceutical industries can be good candidates for some of the entry-level jobs in the cannabis industry.
Finally, you’ll want to think about hiring security officers for your dispensary. This is a critical aspect of securing your products and keeping your employees safe from theft.
Ideally, your employees will have previous experience in the cannabis industry but if that’s not possible, you can still find qualified candidates with backgrounds in other fields.
The cannabis industry is growing rapidly and there’s a wide range of positions available, from entry-level to executive. It’s important to take your time and carefully consider the right candidate for each position.
5. Start Selling
If you’re ready to start selling cannabis products, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, you’ll need to get a manufacturing license in the state where you want to open your business. This is similar to a general business license, but cannabis laws vary from state to state. You’ll also need to work with your local licensing agency to make sure you meet all of the requirements. You can’t sell edibles, infused drinks, or other cannabis-related products without a license. If you’re unsure of the regulations in your area, consult the Drug Enforcement Administration for more information. These articles can help you learn more about the specifics of starting a business with cannabis. They can also provide a helpful guide to what types of products you can sell and how to market them effectively.