Once cannabis became legal in countries like Canada, it opened the door for cannabis to become a business.
Naturally, some cannabis enthusiasts jumped at the chance to create a business out of selling cannabis and related products. With cannabis legalisation being relatively new, there needed to be some rules and regulations for people wishing to open a cannabis dispensary.
One couldn’t simply open one up. It became a requirement for those wanting to open a dispensary to get a licence from here on out.
Yet, how exactly do you get one?
If you’ve been wondering how to get a dispensary licence, read on to find out how you can do so.
Understanding the Framework for Licensing
Before getting a dispensary licence, you need to understand the rules and regulations for the retail and distribution of recreational cannabis.
Just because cannabis has been legalised either nationwide or in some states, it doesn’t mean they all have the same framework for licensing retailers. Most laws surrounding the sale and distribution of cannabis usually leave it up to states, provinces, or territories to decide.
These include the following rules that provinces, territories, or states can decide on themselves:
- How cannabis is sold
- Where stores are located
- How stores are operated
- People allowed to sell cannabis
Beyond making their own rules, they can also implement restrictions unique to their province, territory, or state by including the following:
- restricting where cannabis is used in public
- lowering possession limits
- possibly adding more requirements on personal cultivation
- increasing the minimum wage
These are important to consider before getting a cannabis dispensary licence. Please do your research on your province, territory, or state about their take on getting a dispensary licence. After all, getting a dispensary licence from the state of Colorado in the United States is most likely different than expected from one in Alberta, Canada.
How to Get a Dispensary Licence: Alberta as an Example
There are several provinces, territories, and states that have legalised the recreational use of cannabis. As established earlier, most places will have different rules surrounding a dispensary licence.
For the sake of brevity, this section will outline the expectations for receiving a dispensary licence in Alberta, Canada.
This location is more or less used as a general example of what you could potentially expect from how to get a dispensary licence. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) handles all retail cannabis applications in Alberta, which is the Government of Alberta’s Crown commercial enterprise and agency that oversees the gaming, liquor and cannabis industries in Alberta.
It’s meant to give you a general idea that could have some possible overlap with how your province, territory, or state gives out a dispensary licence, which might prove helpful to you.
Learn who should be applying for a dispensary licence and the conditions surrounding it all here:
Who Needs to Apply?
According to Canada’s Excise Act, 2001, people must apply for a licence if they’re:
- cultivating (you grow cannabis products)
- producing (you produce cannabis products)
- packaging (you package cannabis products)
How to Become Eligible?
Before applying for a dispensary licence, you best see if you’re eligible. You must meet certain conditions to apply. The following will include a few generic conditions met for eligibility while omitting the more regional-specific details.
- You are not the subject of a receivership of your debts.
- Each individual involved must be at least 18 years of age.
- Have a valid business address in your country.
- Provide a list of all premises that will be cultivating, producing or packaging cannabis products.
- Have sufficient financial resources to conduct your business responsibly.
- Provide a business plan (including a business industry overview, operating plan, financial or source of funds, and a sales & marketing plan).
- Provide acceptable security to cover one month of cannabis duty liability (minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $5 million).
What to Expect from Applying?
Now that you know you’re eligible, you must also follow the dispensary licence application requirements. It includes the following:
- background checks
- municipal approval
- business requirements
- retail store requirements
You can expect to pay quite a bit for a dispensary licence. There is a $400 non-refundable application fee for each store location at the time of submission. You would also need to pay a $700 annual licence fee, a $3,000 initial deposit to cover the cost of background checks, and additional due diligence costs (the AGLC will refund any part of the $3,000 that is unused).
After applying, it will take approximately two to four months and is subject to AGLC application review policies.
Hopefully, this gave you a general idea of how to get a dispensary licence. Again, every place is different regarding the application process. So, ensure you meet your region’s standards before applying.
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