While Chicago marijuana dispensary under federal law as a Schedule I drug hasn’t changed, several states have opened their doors to commercial marijuana sales for recreational use. Interested in opening your own marijuana dispensary? It’s not an easy road to navigate. Check out the guide below to learn more about the laws, licenses and requirements for marijuana retailers.
Check for License Availability
Once you’ve decided to explore commercial pot sales, the first step is to find your state’s regulatory agency and see if licenses are currently being issued. States typically limit or cap the number of dispensaries. As such, it can be difficult to enter the field once it’s been established, as licenses tend to be snapped up fast.
For instance, in Illinois, the state regulatory agency is the Illinois State Liquor and Cannabis Board (ISLCB). Just a quick check of their website reveals that marijuana retailer licenses aren’t currently being issued, and there’s no plan to open up applications in the near future. This doesn’t mean your dreams of running a commercial Chicago marijuana dispensary are necessarily over, however. Washington marijuana retailer licenses are tied to the business, so while you can’t get a new license from the ISLCB (or even buy one from a business), it is possible to buy an entire existing retail business—if you can find one willing to sell.
Apply for a Retailer License
Your state regulatory agency will require a marijuana retailer license, typically in addition to any other usual business licenses. Note that states tend to view marijuana retailers as moneymakers—so licenses aren’t cheap. In Washington, an annual license costs $1480. In Chicago marijuana dispensary, exact processes and fees are still being drafted, but the initial application fee is likely to be similar to the fee for a medical marijuana provisioning center—which is a steep $6,000. There will also be an annual fee or assessment, which could be even higher.
Learn State-Specific Requirements
Your state’s regulatory agency is a great place to start to learn about the many requirements for a retail marijuana store. However, the requirements—and just the sheer amount of information—can easily be a bit overwhelming at first. If you’re not sure where to begin, below are some of the most common areas of regulation you’ll need to consider.
States don’t want marijuana retailers next to schools, playgrounds, and similar types of areas. Usually retailers have to be a certain distance away, such as 500 or 1000 feet. Also, while the state itself may permit retailers, this doesn’t mean that every county or municipality will as well. For instance, Illinois cities don’t allow marijuana businesses to set up shop. Illinois municipalities are permitted by the new law to limit or ban marijuana businesses, so it is as of yet unknown which parts of the state will ultimately embrace or reject the industry.