Medical marijuana is currently legal in twenty-three states. Many physicians believe that the plant has healing properties, which helps those with debilitating medical conditions find relief. However, despite selling and using the drug legally, dispensaries must still follow strict state guidelines in order to operate.
Before you open any dispensaries in your hometown, you first need to check your state’s requirements. All states limit the amount of marijuana that can be possessed by a person. However, each state has a different limitation on what is considered personal use.
For example, in the state of California dispensaries can supply up to eight ounces of usable product to their patients. However, in the state of Alaska, only one ounce of usable can be distributed. In other states, a letter stating what a doctor deems to be a thirty or sixty day supply for that patient. As a distributor, you may fill the notice as written.
One area dispensaries must toe the line is with federal mandates. Despite being legal in over 20 states, the sale of cannabis is still considered illegal under federal laws. States that require written notification from a doctor in order to obtain marijuana for medical purposes are actually in direct contrast to the federal statues that regulate controlled substances. While some areas do require written authorization in order to gain access to cannabis from a dispensary, it must come across as merely a suggestion, not a prescription. A doctor may “recommend” a specific amount for their patients, as this recommendation is protected by the first amendment’s free speech.
As for now, you will still be able to legally operate as long as you are compliant with state regulations and adhere to other federal guidelines. You may not distribute marijuana to minors. Revenue from your sales must not support known criminal enterprises, cartels, or gangs. You may not traffic other illegal drugs or participate in other illegal activities. While the sale may be considered legal in your state, you may not divert any part of your supply to another state where it is still considered illegal. In addition to these federal mandates, you may not grow marijuana crops on public lands as it is considered an environmental danger. You also may not possess marijuana on federal property.
Gain Education on the Business
Once you know the state and federal mandates, you should continue educating yourself about dispensaries as a business. Some states have schools that offer classes about the medical uses for marijuana and how to run your own business. They help you to understand what regulations to follow and keep you abreast of the ever-changing nature of state laws and mandates.
There are also online courses that you can take to become a certified provider. In addition to learning the step-by-step process of opening your own business, these courses are designed to help answer any questions you may have about contacting consultants, lawyers, accountants, and even vendors.
It takes a lot of work to open a dispensary. However, with some education, you can be a part of this growing industry.