The state of California was the first to ever establish a medical marijuana program. Just this month, California voters passed an amendment that legalizes recreational use — so it’s pretty clear that many people recognize its benefits. However, if you’re looking to get into the legal marijuana industry in California, there are a lot of hoops you have to jump through first. Starting a medical marijuana business is highly complex, but it can be infinitely rewarding. Here are three things you definitely need to do:
- Consult with a legal professional
Although using cannabis is legal, the laws regarding dispensaries can be very complicated. A lawyer can help you to understand the local laws that can impact your ability to obtain a medical marijuana business license or operate a dispensary in your area. The last thing you’d want to do is spend a enormous amount on your dispensary business and find out later that you’re operating illegally. That could have disastrous results. Hiring a lawyer isn’t cheap, but it’s much better than the alternative. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into before you get in too deep.
- Be informed about legal requirements
You have to be knowledgeable about both state and local laws, which include the licensing requirements for your business. In order to sell medical marijuana at your dispensary, you need a permit from the State Board of Equalization. But more importantly, you need a medical marijuana business license for operation. Even if you have the aforementioned permit, it doesn’t do you any good without the medical marijuana business license from your jurisdiction. You’ll also need to register your business as a non-profit or a cooperative organization. Note that medical marijuana is subject to state taxes, and that your dispensary cannot be located within 600 feet of a school.
- Get alternate financing
Chances are, you’re not going to be able to take out a loan from your bank for your dispensary. Most large financial institutions are simply not willing to take the risk. You may have luck with smaller banks, but your best bet probably lies with private investors. Fortunately, there are quite a number of people looking for ways to invest in the cannabis industry. Finding the right partners can be vital for your business. You may also want to consider hiring an accountant or financial consultant to make sure everything’s on the up-and-up, should you be targeted by the IRS.