Are you interested in learning how to open a dispensary in Florida? Florida’s medical marijuana market has taken off like a rocket. Hundreds of dispensaries in the state are meeting the feverish demand for all things cannabis from flower to edibles to beverages and more.
Our guide takes you through the state of Florida’s medical cannabis market, the requirements needed to open a dispensary in the state, and the fees associated with a retail startup. Now, let’s begin!
Opening a Dispensary in Florida
Let’s start from the beginning. Florida’s Amendment 2 was signed into law on June 16, 2014, by Governor Rick Scott, which allowed eligible patients to use low-THC products prescribed by a doctor. Over the years, the law has expanded to allow a wider range of patients access to higher-THC products to provide relief.
In Florida, only one business license type is available: a medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC). MMTC’s are vertically-integrated businesses responsible for cultivating, selling, testing, and every other aspect of the production and distribution process.
An MMTC license affords the license holder to open up a certain number of retail stores. Entrepreneurs can obtain one through the Florida Department of Health (when available) or purchase it from an existing license holder, albeit, they can be worth tens of millions of dollars.
In order to obtain your MMTC license, you must develop a solid business plan which includes a description of what your business does and how it does it. Include market research showing the need for your new business location and how you will attract new customers.
Competitive research can help you learn from the mistakes of others and make note of things your competition is doing right.
In order to obtain a license, you’ll need to come up with a financial forecast including all of your projected operating costs and revenue for the next few years. Consider the inventory cost and profit, payroll expenses, rent, and other expenses needed to stay open.
Finding the right investors can be one of the most arduous parts of the process. Hire an experienced attorney to help you remain federally and state compliant and come up with an official investment proposal outlining your company’s investment health.
Cannabis Dispensary Restrictions
Florida’s medical cannabis dispensary may be a lucrative and fulfilling endeavor, but it doesn’t come without certain business obstacles. For one, not all local governments allow commercial cannabis operations. Check your local laws to ensure you’re compliant.
Starting a cannabis dispensary in Florida can be costly. Running everything from seed to sale requires millions in upfront capital to be able to weather the good and bad times. For the right person, navigating these obstacles is part of the excitement.
Completing the Application to Open a Cannabis Dispensary in Florida
Confirm the state’s Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use is accepting applications on its website. Currently, applications are not being accepted. Generally, to complete your application you must include information for your cultivation operation including:
- Business Plan
- Facility Description
- Cultivation Plan
- Cannabis Processing and Manufacturing Plan
- Employee Manual
- Environmental Plan
- Fire Safety Plan
- Financial Plan
- Odor Mitigation Plan
- Inventory Control Plan
- Recordkeeping Plan
- Security Plan
- Staffing Plan
- Product Safety Plan
- Patient Education Plan
- Marketing Plan
- Organizational Chart
- Two-Year Projected Budget
- Transport and Storage Procedures
Applicants must demonstrate that they have been registered to do business in Florida for the past five consecutive years. An applicant must also have a valid certificate of registration issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
All applications must include a list of all owners, officers, board members, and managers and the date of their last background check. All individuals listed must be fingerprinted.
Your business must be able to grow and produce marijuana including low-THC cannabis. You must indicate your ability to secure the facility, resources, and staff. You must also maintain records of all raw materials, finished products, and byproducts.
Your facility must be reasonably located in an area accessible to eligible medical cannabis patients. You must display the financial ability to remain operational for the two-year approval cycle. You must also hire a medical doctor to supervise your MMTC.
All businesses must create a diversity plant to promote the involvement of minority persons and business enterprises or veteran-business enterprises in ownership, management, and employment.
Applicants must post a $5 million performance bond issued by an authorized surety insurance company rated in one of the three highest rating categories by a nationally recognized rating service or provide an irrevocable letter of credit (or cash) payable to the Department of Health.
Navigating the lengthy application process can be overwhelming for entrepreneurs already short on time. Consider hiring a cannabis consulting firm with experience helping investors start up marijuana businesses, developing business plans, and completing state applications.
Florida Dispensary Fees
Generally, the non-refundable application fees for a marijuana business license in Florida cost $60,830 in total, considerably higher than in most other states.
Businesses must have at least $5 million in working capital/bonds/escrow to apply for a medical marijuana treatment center license. Businesses must also consider the fees of the medical doctor and staff required to oversee your MMTC and edibles permit if you’ll be selling edibles.
Florida Cannabis College
Enroll in CTU’s online cannabis training program to get step-by-step directions on how to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Florida. Our training program offers budding entrepreneurs all the information they need to propel their business to success. Enroll here.