Cannabis dispensaries appeared when the first medical marijuana laws were created to legalize the usage of medical marijuana for patients.
As federal law prohibits cannabis from being prescribed and filled at pharmacies, therefore a cannabis dispensary was a solution. It’s a place/store that specializes in selling cannabis products.
Like in pharmacies, in cannabis dispensaries, you will get the best professional advice before buying any kind of cannabis product. There are two types of cannabis dispensaries: medical and recreational. We’ll go over the differences between the two.
A medical dispensary
The products sold in medical marijuana dispensaries vary from state to state. Some don’t allow to sell smokable flowers and sell only cannabis derivatives like tinctures or vape pen cartridges, etc.
But in most states, they sell medical marijuana, and only to medical patients who have been prescribed such medication.
The first dispensary, called San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, was opened in San Francisco in 1992. Since then, there are now medical marijuana dispensaries in more than half of the USA states.
Entering the dispensary, no matter recreational or medical, the first thing you notice will be lots of security guards.
Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, dispensaries can’t use banks, and they always deal with big amounts of cash, which requires serious protection in case of robbery.
Upon entering the dispensary, you will be met by a receptionist that you’ll have to check-in with before being allowed into the dispensing area.
You will be asked to show your document (ID card or driver’s license) and medical marijuana recommendations from your doctor. So have your recommendation before your first visit. You may be asked for proof of residency if your ID is from another state.
A recreational dispensary
Recreational dispensaries exist only in states with fully legalized marijuana. Till today, 16 states have already fully legalized cannabis with recreational dispensaries.
You can buy all kinds of cannabis strains with different THC levels, THC infused gummies, CBD oil, BHO, and even Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), which contains a super high concentration of THC and is believed to have cancer healing properties.
Everyone above the age of 21 is allowed to enter and purchase cannabis products legally. You don’t need to have any prescriptions or recommendations from a doctor.
Just make sure you have your ID with you because you still have to show it to the receptionist.
The prices in recreational dispensaries are relatively high compared to your local dealer, so many of you might ask a question about why to pay more? Well, first of all, you will no longer
participate in a crime if you buy it legally. In the second one, you will taste the highest quality of marijuana, which was regulated and grown under strict requirements. The taste is fantastic, and the feel is mind-blowing, so do not hesitate.
Which states have the most dispensaries?
Those states that legalized one or another form of cannabis first and made the local laws more business-friendly have the biggest number of dispensaries. As of 2019, Oklahoma has 2129 dispensaries, California – 1140, Oregon – 1344, Colorado 515, Washington – 448,
Montana – 332, Alaska – 220, Florida – 182, Michigan – 160, New Mexico – 99, Arizona – 94,
Maryland – 84, Nevada – 70, Pennsylvania – 62, Ohio – 59, New York – 35, Arkansas – 32,
Massachusetts – 32, Connecticut – 15, Illinois – 14.
The projected Medical and Recreational marijuana consumer market in 2024 is $37 billion.
What’s needed to open a cannabis dispensary?
The cannabis market is one of the fastest-growing markets in the USA. It was listed as an essential business in many cannabis legal states during the coronavirus pandemic and experienced unprecedented revenue growth rates. So you might be thinking of starting your own.
Well, be prepared for many challenges. First of all, every state has different rules, but all of them regulates the number of licenses issued. To get your license in most cases is not a money issue only, but luck too.
The application fees start from $5000 (non-refundable), and there is no guarantee that you will be selected. If you got lucky, the next step is yearly subscription fees that might be up to six digits.
Moreover, getting a bank loan for this kind of business is still impossible, so funding will be entirely up to you.
Taxes are very high too. On average, the cannabis business pays around 70%, and if you do not have bank accounts, this means paying your taxes in cash, which is a headache for you and the IRS.
Ohh, and by the way, this type of business can’t deduct any operational costs, like equipment, rent, insurance, advertising. So it means you pay taxes from the whole revenue. And after all of this, dispensaries are booming and making millions.