How to Start a Marijuana Business?

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In only 2 decades, legal marijuana industry has become the cash top of one of the most fastest growing industries in the U.S. If you are willing to share a piece of the multibillion dollor pie, this guideline here will help you to step a foot into it.

Marijuana (or Cannabis) legal industry, what was considered illegal in any ways of use, previously a black-market product, has grown exponentially throughout the U.S. since Oregon first decriminalized a small amount of marijuana in 1973, and later California legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996.

As a matter of fact, the demand for marijuana is massed and this new legal industry market is huge, which could lead numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors to set up business in every corner. Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states plus Washington, D.C., while adult-use cannabis, also known as recreational marijuana, is legal in 10 states, including D.C. An additional 15 states have decriminalized cannabis, reducing possession under certain amounts to a civil charge rather than a criminal one. Since H.R. 499, the bill related to marijuana legalization, has passed by Congress in 2014, combined marijuana retail and wholesale sales have topped $6 billion and sales are projected to reach $50 billion by 2026 as expected. In only 2 decades, legal marijuana industry has become the cash top of one of the most fastest growing industries in the U.S. If you are willing to share a piece of the multibillion-dollar pie, this guideline here will help you to step a foot into it.



“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin, American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of
the U.S. said.

Without having a decent business plan about what you are doing, you are 90% unlikely to manage your business on specific objectives.

Come up with an idea

  • What is your goal?
  • What kind of business you are interested in?
  • What part of the marijuana business you want to get in?

Plan on it

  • Do you want to open a retail store, dispensary, or online store?
  • Do you want to work on a farm or greenhouse to grow your own marijuana?
  • Do you want to deliver it or help others’ companies selling it?

Now, if you have an idea of what you are doing, we’ll go to the next step. All kinds of business plan, basically, should consider some major factors such as cost, risk, timing and residency. The very first thing we want to do is find a right location.



Where do you want to set up your business at? At the time of this writing, 33 states including Washington D.C. is legalized marijuana for mainly medical, recreational purposes, or the combination of the two, while regulation is constantly changing and expected moving to a completely legalization. This doesn’t mean anyone could consume, sell, or involve in any kind of marijuana business without getting approval by the state and local government and interrelated institute. Laws and regulations are varied from state to state, thus, the location, where you plan to launch your business, is a considerable choice.




How much do you plan to invest into your business? And when you plan to turn a profit? Cost, also, could be vary and very different from state to state, depending on where you’re launching your business and types of business, regardless of local, state, federal zoning laws and regulations.

  • License
  • Real estate costs
  • Supplies/Products/Services

Major cost is usually concluded by these three things.

Industry and Market

Who are your customers and competitors? What will set your business apart from others? Is your product or service unique enough to stand out of the market?

U.S. Legal Market Size, by product type,2014-2025
The total tax revenue collected for the state of California in the U.S., was USD 345.2 million in 2018. Revenue generated from these taxes encourages the local governments to fund several development programs for education and infrastructure. | Sources conducted by

As legal marijuana industry has experienced unprecedented growth while it is showing no signs of slowing down, marijuana businesses are presented with an ongoing profit-earning potential. Medical marijuana held the leading market share of 70.3% in 2018, and recreational marijuana is expected to emerge as the fastest growing segment with a CAGR of 36.4% between 2019 and 2025, according to Legal Marijuana Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Medical Cannabis, Recreational Cannabis), By Product Type, By Medical Application (Cancer, Mental Disorders), And Segment Forecasts, 2019 - 2025 Growing legalization in various countries is primarily driving the market.



After deciding your products/services, here are three things to put on your proposal schedule.

  1. Locate and find your potential customers, investigators, or maybe partners.
  2. Research about your competitors, either nearby or far away from you, to find out the similarities and differences between your company and others.
  3. Make your business unique and stand out the market. For example, create a business name and ensure what you want is available to your state



On September 21st 2019 The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would legalize marijuana on the national level. This would give states the right to decide their own policies and an incentive to expunge criminal records with low-level marijuana offenses. The next step for the bill is to pass the full House of Representatives. However, before the Senate take it up soon as many Republicans have criticized the bill, and without certain policies changing in state or local area where you plan to launch your marijuana business at, you probably want to know how to register it appropriately to avoid violations which could prevent you from successfully running your business.

Depending on the state’s laws and regulations and type of your business, you may need more than one license to be eligible use or sell marijuana substances. In California, the quickest way to get your first basic marijuana users’ license is go to see a physician who is amenable to such authorizations.

Before visiting a doctor, here’s what you need to prepare.

  1. Your photo ID
  2. Documents such as utilities bills, bank statement to prove you have at least 2 years of residency in the state.
  3. Bring your medical record that has been diagnosed with any of the conditions that are listed explicitly in your state's law, if you have one.

* If you don’t have the record, you will need to determine if you have one of those symptoms either physically or psychologically, that might be considered evidence of a condition for which marijuana should be applied to you for medical propose, and discuss it with your physician or doctor.

A sample of adult-use marijuana license approved by Bureau of Cannabis Control
A sample of adult-use marijuana license approved by Bureau of Cannabis Control

If you bring all these 3 things in at a time, you are almost certainly getting your license.

After receiving a written authorization from your doctor, you may go ahead to apply for a license through well-known Online Licensing System, Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), which is responsible for retailer, distributor, microbusiness, testing laboratory, and cannabis event organizer.

The left is a sample of an adult-use marijuana license you will be getting from Bureau of Cannabia Control (BCC), one of the biggest online license center in California.

Next, pay the fee.

Pay the fee
Photography by FILERIGHT

Then, You're ready for your card.

A sample of adult-use marijuana license from MMIC
A sample of adult-use marijuana license from MMIC
California marijuana ID card phased out by

Bring your card and visit a dispensary.

 Marijuana Dispensary  by OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Marijuana Dispensary | Photography by OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A Pic of Dispensary
Dispensary | Photography by, The National Cannabis Industry Association

Now you are eligible to purchase and/or sell marijuana and related products and services, depending what kind of license(s) you are getting.



As with any kind of business, it is extremely important to file your business tax, to prevent you from violating such tax laws and regulations. Whether you’re starting your cannabis business, you should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is also known as a business tax ID number. EIN application is available online at the official of IRS website, and usually you should get approved by the time you submit your form. Your EIN is necessary when you’re in need of opening a business bank account, applying for funding, and of course, paying payroll and income taxes for your own business.



Now all you need to do is getting people to know about your business. There are tons of ways to promote your business, such as publish on weekly/ monthly newspapers and advertising forums, register your business with local listing services, such as Google Places, tie in ads and offers on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

As far as I know, one of the best ways and fastest ways to gain customer is place your business on where a social media platform is professionally specialized your certain products and services, as for your potential customers, funders, investigators, and quality partners are more likely enliven in their enthusiastic fields. In past few years, social media has emerged as an effective marketing channel to promote brands. Decent marketing and advertising strategies don’t only help building sales and profits, but also sets your business apart from other competitors. If you are aware of that and can’t wait to boost your
marijuana business to a new high level, calling in the professionals and experts, especially those covering great information, technology, policies, and supply chains in legal cannabis industry, such as to help promote your business is the smart choice.

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Columbia University | New York, NY (Currently enrolled) Master of Laws (LL.M.) Criminal Defense Candidate Penn State University | University Park, PA (2019) Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Art (B.A.) English, Criminal Justice, Counselling Psychology, Human Sexuality, Piano CREDENTIALS AND LICENSES: • Paralegal • English and Chinese Interpreter • English Professor in College • Clinical Psychotherapist • Musical and Art Psychotherapist • Child and Adult Piano Teacher • Performance pianist of Level 8

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