How to Sell to a Dispensary

Kelly Weimert

July 12th, 2017


Portrait of pharmacy dispenser

With Nevada just recently legalizing recreational marijuana and a growing number of states looking to legalize it in the future, more and more people are wondering how to capitalize on this growing industry. And while there are a lot of options for doing so, there might be no better way to than to sell cannabis and cannabis products to participating dispensaries.

However, because marijuana is a mixed bag in terms of legality across the United States, there is a lot of gray area around the best (and legal) ways for growers and product-makers to sell their products.

It’s certainly feasible to make a living by growing and selling cannabis and cannabis-related products to dispensaries, but it also takes a high level of skill and knowledge to be able to cultivate plants within the controlled, regulated environment necessary for dispensaries to be able to legally purchase the product from you.

First and foremost, before you can sell any cannabis or cannabis-related products to dispensaries, you will need to be licensed. And what getting licensed actually entails depends on the state laws from where you’re planning to market your product.

Additionally, given that marijuana is an agricultural product that’s quite new to the legal market, there are a fair number of restrictions for growers in terms of how much can be grown, how a crop is laid out in a plot, what pesticides are used, and where plants are placed to optimize health. Moreover, a grower also needs to consider whether their product is for recreational or medicinal purposes.

Generally speaking, recreational marijuana will have fewer grow restrictions in place, but because it’s still only legal in a handful of states, your best bet regarding lucrative financial opportunities will be to cultivate medical marijuana. But with medical grade marijuana comes medical grade quality, processes, and checks to ensure your plants consistently meet medical quality standards.

Additionally, with medical cannabis, there’s also the question of what, exactly, the marijuana will be treating. For example, glaucoma patients might find substantial relief from a marijuana strain that does very little for patients with chronic back pain. And those with anxiety might benefit from a different strain than someone with insomnia. So if you decide to take the medical marijuana route, you definitely want to be sure to do your research first.

In addition to considering whether you want to grow medicinal or recreational marijuana, it’s prudent to think about what dispensaries, in particular, you’re aiming for. As is the case for any type of business, different dispensaries will have different requirements, based both on state legality and the personal preferences of the owners.

For instance, some dispensaries might only be willing to work with growers who are cultivating organically grown products or those that follow a very specific process. Most dispensaries will also likely have questions about overall quality, your prices compared to others in the area, and your ability to supply product both reliably and regularly.

Given all of the variables that can impact whether you’re able to successfully sell cannabis to local dispensaries, you’ll definitely want to enlist a lawyer to help walk you through the legal jungle in your particular state and ensure that everything you’re practicing is within your legal rights.

Once you’ve decided on medical versus recreational marijuana, checked off all of your legal boxes according to your state laws, and are finally ready to sell to dispensaries, these are the basic steps that must be taken:

  • Apply for either a retail growers license or patient status, depending on the legality in your state.
  • If your state has a registry, make sure you get yourself on it.
  • Acquire your caregiver’s license and fill out the additional paperwork if you’re providing for more than five patients.
  • Pick a dispensary and begin establishing a relationship with its owners.

As mentioned, there are a great deal of variables that will impact any one grower looking to sell cannabis products to dispensaries, but if you do your due diligence learning about your state and dispensary regulations, selling your product has the potential to be highly lucrative.

Kelly Weimert

About Kelly Weimert

Kelly is a full-time freelance writer based in Austin, TX. A happy hybrid of geek and hippie, when she's not nestled into her couch crankin' out crafty prose with her miscreant Chihuahua, you can find her frolicking outside to keep her sanity in check.

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