There was a time in America when simply opening a dispensary was enough to succeed. All one had to do in a lot of areas was just be the first to open a dispensary in that area, and success was almost guaranteed. Times are a lot different now. States seem to fall in one of two categories - either there is a low barrier to entry and there are dispensaries everywhere with a high level of competition (Oregon), or there is an extremely high barrier to entry and a very stringent licensing process (New York). Either way, the days of simply signing a lease on a commercial storefront and putting some full jars on the shelves and instantly crushing it are going the way of the dinosaur.
The fact of the matter is you have to know your stuff. The average medical cannabis consumer is becoming more sophisticated every day. Some patients want certain strains in certain forms in certain dosage. Some patients want a variety. All patients want a place that is safe, professional, and affordable. Regulators want to make sure everything is in compliance at all times, and the amount of rules, regulations, and laws are extensive when it comes to running a dispensary in most areas. In addition to outdated federal regulations (280e anyone!?), dispensary owners need to know city, county, and state regulations as well.
It gets really confusing really fast, and I haven't even scratched the surface. Needless to say there is a lot of information involved, and a lot of knowledge yet to be gained no matter what phase of the dispensary pursuit a person is at. The advice I always give people is to learn as much as you can from the experts. Someone that I definitely consider to be an expert is a guy named Justin Jones. He's a managing member of the Denver Consulting Group. I have hung out with Justin on a few occasions now, and I'm very impressed with his knowledge on all things cannabis related, including what the best practices are for operating a dispensary. Below is Justin's bio, via his speaker page for the upcoming Cannabis Business Summit which he will be speaking at:
Justin Jones is one of the founding entrepreneurs of the Colorado cannabis industry. In 2009, he co-founded JGB Ventures, LLC (dba DANK), a licensed medical grow and dispensary in Denver, Colorado. In 2014, DANK became one of the first dispensaries to receive licensure to sell recreational marijuana and has since quadrupled in size.
Since 2014, Jones, along with the members of his partnership group, has started several ventures that have established them as industry innovators and leaders. They licensed Kush Bottles, the market leader in child resistant packaging for the industry; started Denver Consulting Group (DCG) to provide consultation, training and support documents to the national growing cannabis industry; and most recently, developed CannaScore a compliance audit application for licensed cannabis businesses.
I could seriously talk with Justin all day. He has been a cannabis enthusiast for a long time, way before it was fashionable. I could tell that right off the bat when we first met each other. I meet a lot of 'experts' that are in in actuality very new to the cannabis world. It's not a knock on them, but they have as much learning to do as anyone else. I recommend that people learn from people that have been around for a long time, and have succeeded. It's not coincidence that Justin Jones is as successful in the industry as he is. He knows hist stuff. My advice is to learn from him. That's what I do!
Justin will be part of a panel cover the best practices for operating a licensed dispensary. He will be joined by other experienced professionals on the panel. The event itself is the most important marijuana industry event of the year, with a heavy focus on advocacy. It's the National Cannabis Industry Association's (NCIA) big event, and I encourage anyone who is serious about the industry to attend. NCIA is the only organization lobbying on behalf of the cannabis industry at the national level. NCIA just knocked it out of the park recently when over 150 members lobbied Congress and held a rally that was attended by multiple members of Congress. You can purchase tickets to the Cannabis Business Summit at this link here, and become a member of NCIA at this link here.