There’s More To Opening a Dispensary Than Permits & Licenses

There’s More To Opening a Dispensary Than Permits & Licenses

Apr 18th 2018

Did you know that cannabis remains to be the top sales crop in California? Legal marijuana is indeed a big business. No wonder many entrepreneurs are willing to take on the risk of setting up a marijuana dispensary business even though state and federal laws governing cannabis use remain contradictory and confusing. As the demand for medical and recreational cannabis continues to grow, so does the increasing revenue from sales.

According to the Marijuana Business Daily, retail and dispensaries revenues are likely to reach $6.5M by 2019. If you are planning to start a marijuana dispensary business, there are several things that you seriously need to consider. Remember that a cannabis dispensary is a high-risk business venture and it needs secure financing. The legalized marijuana industry also has a very complicated landscape so you must always be on top of constantly changing laws. Aside from having enough capital to fund the business, you need to choose the best location to set up the shop while meeting local ordinances. Then there’s also the need to select and procure the most compliant packaging. 

You see, cannabis packaging alone is regulated differently in every state.

In Colorado, their rules are being updated continually since the beginning of marijuana legalization process. They are the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use and they have some of the strictest rules for cannabis packaging. The state requires the use of child-resistant packaging that’s opaque, non-appealing to kids, properly labeled with English text that is at least 1/16 of an inch in size, and has the Universal THC Symbol of Colorado. Marijuana-infused products must be labeled with a complete list of ingredients and the THC potency.

Alaska’s cannabis packaging and labeling guidelines include the requirement of using opaque, resealable packaging that’s also child-resistant.

In Florida, cannabis edibles must be individually packaged and sealed in plain, opaque wrappers marked with the marijuana universal symbol. Edible containers are required to be white without any depiction or image of the product.

Maine’s dispensaries are required to package cannabis in a child-resistant and tamper-evident container and must also be placed in a child-resistant or tamper-evident exit bag before the buyer leaves the dispensary’s premises. Liquid cannabis for adult use must be packaged in a container with child-resistant cap.

In Connecticut, producers must package cannabis products individually and seal and label each in unit sizes. Packaging must be light-resistant and child-resistant, too.

Nevada’s cannabis packaging and labeling guidelines state that cannabis-infused products must be packaged in plastic that’s at least 4mm thick and it must be heat-sealed without flap, corner, dimple or easy-open tab. Marijuana sold at retail must come labeled with the statement: “This product may have intoxicating effects and may be habit forming.”

In Oregon, specific labeling guidelines are set for every cannabis product – plant, seed, usable marijuana, topical, edibles, concentrate and extracts, and tinctures. Labels must also be pre-approved in accordance with Oregon Administrative Rules 845-025-7060.

In the State of California, packaging for cannabis must be tamper-evident, significantly difficult for children under five years old to open but easy for adults to obtain access to the stored product, and must not look similar to any packaging used for products marketed for children. Labels must not contain cartoons or characters known to or that will attract children. The Bureau of Cannabis Control also requires retailers to place sold retail goods in opaque exit packaging. For cannabis products that are too small that they do not have the space to accommodate the required labeling, the use of hang tags, peel-back labels, and insert labels.

Washington also has some of the strictest rules when it comes to smell-proof bags and child-resistant packaging for use in dispensaries. Edibles with more than one serving must be individually packaged and then packed as a set in another outer packaging. Liquid edibles must come with its own measuring device like a cap or dropper.

Hawaii requires cannabis products to be packed in opaque containers. Labels must have a white background and text must be in black; no graphics or pictures allowed in the label.

 See? Aside from preparing a business plan, considering funding and location, and getting the license to operate a dispensary, you need to obtain high quality and compliant products and supplies. Just like in every business, compliance is a big part of how an entrepreneur runs the business.

Repurposing containers, jars, and sandwich bags as cannabis containers is now a thing of the past. These DIY packaging provides little safety and preservation qualities. Now, each form of cannabis has specific packaging requirements based on the chemistry of the product and the type of cannabis being sold.

Raw flowers which are more susceptible to damage from sunlight and moisture need to be packed in airtight and opaque containers to preserve freshness and quality. Edible forms of cannabis have different shelf life and this affects the kind of packaging they need.

It seems, however, that most states require cannabis to packed in airtight containers and in opaque packaging to reduce visual appeal to children. The technical standards for a packaging’s child-resistance quality are set by ASTM or the American Society for Testing and Materials. Fortunately, as the use of medical and recreational marijuana becomes more acceptable and accessible, more compliant packaging options are being developed, tested and certified. Hopefully it will only take a few more years for standardized cannabis packaging and labeling to be developed so that cannabis cultivators, distributors and dispensaries looking to stay ahead of the compliance curve will no longer be burdened by differing regulations.

For the meantime, you can count on Dispensary Necessities for your cannabis packaging needs. We have high quality medical-grade and food-grade packaging for usable marijuana and marijuana-infused products.

Odor-proof airtight glass jars that are reusable and cost-effective are among our bestsellers. Opaque, smell-proof bags in white and black are also available. These are tamper-evident, heat-sealable Mylar bags with quality zippers. Tube jars and vials that can be sealed with shrink bands to protect product integrity are likewise available. Child-resistant, food-grade, single-use bags can also be bought at wholesale prices here at Dispensary Necessities. Pop top bottles, blunt tubes, push cap bottles, dropper bottles, hinged lid containers, reversible cap vials, concentrate containers, wide mouth jars, and empty pill capsules are part of our product offerings. Our wide array of products span from packaging to order processing supplies like scales, gloves, tongs, exit bags, and heat sealers. We offer dispensary essentials at wholesale prices with free shipping for orders above $250.

There’s no arguing that starting a dispensary business is a risky venture. The plant, the industry, and the laws about the plant and the cannabis industry are all controversial. And for such high-risk yet lucrative business to enjoy real longevity, maintaining state compliance is of utmost importance. Apart from keeping your business license up-to-date, make sure you’re also well-informed of the extremely detailed and elaborate regulations on cannabis product packaging and labeling.