Health and Fitness

Legal Process Of Building A Dispensary

Starting a dispensary for medical marijuana requires a lot of planning due to increased state, county and city regulations. Medicinal marijuana dispensaries are popping up all over the country as more states are approving the use of medicinal marijuana for patients with chronic illnesses. Most dispensaries are organized as cooperative or collectives, where the dispensary operates as a non-profit organization to provide safe and sustained access for medicinal marijuana patients. (You can see for yourself through some of these web sources, like,, etc.) Prior to building a dispensary, one should consult the city and state to determine any current regulations restricting dispensary operations in the area.

A. Call the state Attorney General’s office and ask for up-to-date regulations regarding the organization of medicinal marijuana collective or cooperative.
B. Apply for a seller’s permit and non-profit status with the state. In California, dispensary permits are handled by the State Board of Equalization. If unsure where to apply for a seller’s permit and non-profit status, consult the Attorney General’s office.

C. Call the city and request information on zoning and seller regulations. In many cities, strict zoning laws exist to prevent dispensaries from opening near schools and neighborhoods.

D. Lease a storefront that falls within zoned requirements of the city. Choose a discreet storefront away from neighborhoods or schools to avoid possible conflict with residents of the area. Purchase any necessary articles for the cooperative including jars, medicine bottles or bags, scales and lights. Keep a log of all expenses paid to report for tax purposes.

E. Purchase any necessary business and tax permits or licenses from the city’s finance office. Post all necessary permits within viewing range inside the dispensary to show proof of registration.

F. Advertise your dispensary with doctors and local caregivers looking to accept new patients. Hand out pamphlets and talk with current caregivers to recruit them to your dispensary. Doctors may refer patients to caregivers at your dispensary if they know you are licensed by the state.

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