Starting a Dispensary in California

This era has been badly hit by recession, but one of the few opportunities that have seemed to do well in spite of this is starting a dispensary in california. You may know that the legal marijuana dispensary business is at its boom in California. But remember that starting a medical marijuana dispensary in California needs to be a non profit business venture and also as a community service.

The U.S. Justice Dept., under the guidance of the Obama Administration, announced that it would no longer direct federal resources to pursue criminal charges against medical cannabis clinics, providing they are operating lawfully under state law. The policy represents a major shift in tactics from the Bush Administration, which had federal agents raiding medical marijuana distributors on the basis of violating federal statutes (federal law outlaws marijuana possession under the Controlled Substances Act)—even if the operators were in compliance with state laws.

Dispensaries must be structured as nonprofit cooperatives rather than for-profit entities, with marijuana provided by state-certified patients or their caregivers.

The California State Attorney General Guidelines cover collective formation. Starting a new collective will obviously mean a limited membership and medicine supply may be limited to begin with. However by gradually increasing the membership of the collective and encouraging members to return with their excess medication, it is will quickly become possible to help more and more new qualified patients.

As noted above, the trading basis for the collective will be not for profit, i.e. it will not be operated as a commercial business. In practice this means re-investing all surplus income in non commercial activity or in the provision of services for its members. This can be a particularly rewarding part of starting a collective, knowing that you will be helping people through the efficient running of the collective services.

Starting a Dispensary in California is most likely the easiest state to get started in. California has had medical marijuana laws the longest and has passed SB420 in addition to prop 215 which dealt with the issue of where patients could legally acquire their medicine. In a not for profit spirit, it would also be a good idea to set up the collective as a non profit mutual benefit corporation- many are set up this way.

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