The growing medical and recreational marijuana industry is booming as many states have now legalized or decriminalized the drug. Whether you have intentions of becoming a marijuana grower, tester, researcher, goods manufacturer, dispensary or another kind of retailer, you should know that establishing a business involving the growth or sale of marijuana is constantly becoming easier and more profitable as regulations change and laws shift. While some aspects of doing business are still quite complex since state laws regarding marijuana vary and federal law continues to view the plant as an illegal drug, it is possible to have a successful business using this plant if you go about it in the right way. Here is a guide on what you need to know when setting up a cannabis growing operation, manufacturing business or retail store in your state.
Before You Start
Prior to even beginning the process of launching your own marijuana business, there are certain questions you should ask yourself.
- Do I know enough about the laws and regulations regarding my state and marijuana dealings?
- Has my state legalized marijuana or decriminalized it?
- What special licensure and certification will I be required to get in order to set up a growing operation, a medical marijuana dispensary, a clinic or a manufacturing facility? Do I have the state residency status, clean criminal background and financial backing required to get these licenses?
- Does my state impose an excise tax on marijuana that is sold from a producer to a distributor? Does my state require that retail marijuana purchasers pay a separate sales tax?
- Do I want to be involved in the marijuana business as a plant grower, product processer, goods manufacturer, researcher, tester, promoter, collective owner or dispensary manager?
- Am I aware of the start-up costs of the kind of business I want to start?
- Do I have access to a business or drug law attorney in case I have specific questions?
- Do I have what it takes to be involved in the particularly complex issue of dealing with a substance that is legal according to my state, but illegal according to my country?
Once you have thought the above questions through and checked into any marijuana-related laws that apply specifically to your state, you will be ready to take the next steps in setting up your future business.
- Determine who the other people involved in the business will be, whether these are partners, investors or customers.
- If applicable, set up a physical location for your business. You may have to follow specific regulations on where this can be, particularly if it is a retail store or a growing operation. Dispensaries in Colorado, for example, cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school.
- Come up with business strategies and a marketing plan and set up your business per the requirements of your state.
- Apply for your state-specific certifications and licenses that are required as a grower, manufacturer or retailer.
- Once these documents are obtained, go ahead and get your business up and running by purchasing the necessary equipment and materials that you need and getting your operations in working order.
- Begin to produce or distribute your product through the channels in which you are licensed to do so.
Advertise and market your new business through marijuana-related publications, events and media. As you go through the steps listed above, it is important to remember that your timeline may not go as planned due to the constant changing of state marijuana regulations and the length of time it may take to acquire the necessary licensing for your endeavor. Because cannabis is a relatively new item on the market, your business will be setting precedence for other marijuana enterprises in many ways, and you may have to jump through hoops that you are not prepared for.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.