How to Open a Marijuana Dispensary in Florida

How to open a marijuana dispensary in Florida

In this great era of startups, online businesses, and hundreds of other ventures that can yield astounding profits to those with the drive and commitment to succeed; now is a better time than ever to start a business. But where do you start? The market is so saturated with fitness, tech, marketing, and music that it wouldn’t make fiscal sense to jump into those industries. The greatest entrepreneurs look to disrupt a market, not simply to contribute to it. The best of them choose the ideas that will last years beyond the trends that happen to be popular at the time. So what is the big idea of this era? What new venture will grow exponentially and then last for decades to come?  We’re going to cover the ins and outs of how to open a marijuana dispensary in Florida.

Florida Marijuana Opportunities

The marijuana industry has proven time and time again that it can cause some of the greatest disruptions that local economies have ever seen. After all, the only thing keeping it from making every city money is the fact that it has been federally legalized yet. And I say yet because the process has begun, and we’re well on our way to total legalization. So how else can we get in on the ground floor until the time comes? It’s simple: Opening a dispensary in the next state to legalize marijuana. That’s just as good if not better than investing in a company before its initial IPO (first time going public). If you think that the insane profits that these dispensaries generate will be nearly as impressive once everyone can do it, you’re making a mistake. The time is now! But where do you even start? What are the secrets to getting approved and get on your way to opening a marijuana dispensary in Florida?  Just as with any venture—we learn the most about how to approach the present by analyzing the past.

In this case, analyzing the past means looking at what the previous states did from a legal standpoint, as well as what the entrepreneurs did to launch their new businesses. States like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon absolutely killed it. For example, Fortune.com reported that Colorado grossed an absurd $699 million in 2014 (medical and recreational) off of the legal sale of pot, and another stupidly huge $996.2 million in 2015. What new industry can you think of that is hitting those numbers consistently? And no I’m not talking about the big dogs like Uber and Airbnb. I’m talking about the little guys. What other industry is making that kind of money now, and is projected only to grow into the billions in the coming years?! Very few. We all want a piece of this pie, right? So let’s talk turkey.

Legalizing a drug for recreational or even medicinal use is so much more than signing a sheet of paper then casting a vote. There is a great deal of red tape that has to be cut through first, but it’s easier than you may think.  So don’t psyche yourself out just yet. Using Colorado as a template, we can determine a great deal about what Florida will go through before people like you and me can access marijuana legally. And although the process is ongoing, the good news is that it’s right around the corner! Marijuana Policy Project stated that since June 2015, Florida has taken real steps to decriminalizing marijuana, with the biggest change being the transition from focusing on delivering jail time to mere citations to low level offenders (20 grams or less). A great step forward. And in November of this year, voters in the great state of Florida will have the opportunity to vote yes or no for Amendment 2, which would implement a medical marijuana program.

This new program, led by United for Care, would require that the Department of Health regulate the treatment centers as well as dispensaries that will distribute medical marijuana. It will also require that any patients looking to obtain marijuana in Florida will have to have a recommendation from their physicians as well as valid identification to certify usage. 60% support is needed for the initiative to pass.  Pools currently stand at 77% so one could say that passing will be very likely. It’s time to take advantage of this and get way ahead of your competitors.

How to Open a Marijuana Dispensary in Florida

Opening a dispensary is much simpler than it seems. There isn’t an exact step by step for how to open one in Florida yet, so we will refer to the steps required to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado as a template.

  1. Understand the medical marijuana licensing process (application and any additional information needed.)
  2. Potential Florida Marijuana Dispensary owners likely will have to meet these requirements:
    1. Must be a resident of the state of Florida
    2. Must be 21 or older
    3. No missed child support or other public obligations
    4. No felony convictions over any controlled substances of any kind
    5. No prior felonies that haven’t been discharged for up to 5 years previous to when you submitted the application.
    6. No criminal history indicative of amorality.
    7. Cannot accept capital investments, assistance, or employ anyone who has any of the charges stated above in their criminal history.
    8. Cannot be a practicing physician who also gives recommendations to patients, employed by any local or state licensing authority, and can’t be employed in law enforcement (sheriff, police office, prosecuting officer, deputy sheriff) due to conflicts of interest.
    9. Cannot employ any individual who hasn’t undergone and passed their background check.
    10. Must be able to confirm to local authorities that where you want your dispensary is within jurisdiction where medical marijuana dispensaries can operate. Often local regulations require that dispensaries must be a certain distance from schools and churches, for example.
    11. Must complete MED Medical Marijuana Business Licensure form (or future Florida equivalent) and MED Associated Key Person form for you and any other co-owner. Will have to submit forms along with any other required documents (i.e. tax documents, court records, etc.).
  3. Once documentation is received, book an appointment with headquarters for Florida via email. Each email should be comprised of these things.
    1. Business name.
    2. License #.
    3. The reason behind your application (local authority should be included).
    4. The number of owners, and how many will be at the appointment.
    5. Your full name and the easiest number to reach you at.
    6. Pay the application fees (initial license and application fees are paid at the same time). For applications, the fee ranges from $7,000 – $15,000. For your initial license, the fees range from $5,200 – $13,200. These may differ in Florida.

Florida Dispensary Business Plan

From here, you can begin to focus more on creating the most important component of this entire process: A business plan. This part takes longer than all of the other steps combined, but it is also one of the most important parts of how to open a marijuana dispensary in Florida. So much goes into a business plan, from understanding the allocation of funds between overhead costs for a building and for the product, to understanding and implanting an effective sales process. And that is only one aspect. Key components also include the marketing plan, obtaining more investment capital, and developing a sound mission.

This is the period where many will quit before they even begin, but what if I told you that there was a way around that? What if there was a method of approach where men and women who already are well versed in business handle your plan, and essentially create an autonomous assistant to your marijuana dispensary related needs? What if I told you that these business professionals specialize in creating business plans that cover everything that you would need to start a medical marijuana dispensary business? Well, as fortune has it, all of what I just described exists; and you can take full advantage of it all.

Life is too short not to live it to its very fullest. The mind can always come up with 1,000 ways to rationalize not doing something, but we’re on this planet for a very limited amount of time. Why not create something that will immortalize your name, and will leave a legacy? There is never been a greater time than now to jump into this industry, and with the tools of “Done for You” at your disposal; the sky is the limit.

Many new businesses fail within 1 year of being started because the owners did not know the craft well enough and understand ahead of time what they were going to need to do to be successful. Don’t make that same mistake. Risk taking is a great quality, but why take it unnecessarily when you can make strategic and calculated moves with the assistance of the people who really know their stuff? The ball is on your court now, but if you really are going to take this leap, I would suggest bringing a parachute. The “Done for You” business plan is that parachute and your first step when trying to understand how to open a marijuana dispensary in Florida.

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