With cannabis sales kicking off soon in Connecticut, it’s time to think about opening your dispensary.
Opening a dispensary is a tough business, especially when you consider how many other dispensaries will be opening up at the same time. In addition to educating yourself about these new laws, you’ll have to do everything you can to stand apart from the competition.
If all goes well, however, you’ll have a major money-maker on your hands.
Fortunately, we’ve already done a bit of the work for you. We researched the basic steps to opening a dispensary in Connecticut. With this guide, you’ll have a grasp of what you can do now to be approved, and what steps you’ll need to take once cannabis sales begin.
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1. Apply for a cannabis retailer license
The first thing you’ll need to do is apply for a cannabis retailer license in Connecticut. The state has already approved some applications and will continue to approve more as we get closer to the launch of cannabis sales in Connecticut.
There are various licenses that you’ll need to consider, depending on what you’re doing. A retailer license alone is going to cost you $25,000, but product packaging, manufacturing, and delivery (among other things) all require their own licenses.
Applying for a license is a fairly straightforward process. They’re issued by the Department of Consumer Protection, so our advice is to go to their website and read all of the fine print before applying. Everything’s still very new, so it’s important to know Connecticut’s cannabis laws and licensing restrictions inside and out before you apply to help increase the chances of your business being approved.
Then, it’s time to submit your application and wait for further direction.
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2. Write a business plan
While you’re waiting for your application to be processed, you can take the opportunity to start planning the operational side of your business. The best way to do this is to write a business plan.
A business plan is essentially an outline of every aspect of your business for the first few days, weeks, months, and years of operation. It covers everything from how you’ll obtain startup funds to how you’ll market the business.
You can find business plan templates online that can guide you through the process.
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3. Get funding
Cannabis businesses are notoriously expensive to start. Unless you’re coming in with considerable startup funds, you’re going to need to find investors or secure a small business loan. If you’re doing the latter, your business plan is going to come in handy. A lender will want to see that you’ve got all of your ducks in a row before they give you a considerable sum of money.
4. Find a location
Provided you’ve successfully found funding, you’ll have to secure a location for your cannabis dispensary. Carefully examine the local demographics and market stats to find the ideal Connecticut location.
Keep in mind that Connecticut law stipulates that dispensaries are not allowed near churches, playgrounds, and schools, and certain towns in the state have banned dispensaries altogether.
Once you’ve got your location finalized, you can start loading up on inventory and supplies. Hire a few employees to help you run your dispensary and get ready for opening day.
5. Promote your business
Your opening will be at the mercy of your license’s status and any legal requirements. As soon as you settle on an opening date, start promoting your dispensary online.
There are many restrictions on advertising cannabis dispensaries, so it’s important to educate yourself on how and where you can advertise before launching a marketing campaign.
In general, online advertising is safest for cannabis businesses. Build a website letting people know what you’re all about and what inventory you’re stocking. Launch social media profiles and start building your brand and growing your audience. The more promotion you can do before the business launches, the more anticipation you’ll generate for opening day.
Opening a dispensary in Connecticut presents fantastic business prospects. If you follow this guide and keep everything above board, you could secure a license to become one of the first dispensaries in the state. Many more will open up, but with this head start, you can establish yourself ahead of most of the competition.