How to Open a Dispensary in Arkansas: Arkansas Dispensary License Cost
It’s not too difficult to open a dispensary in Arkansas today.
But, it’s not so simple either.
Like every other state with its own laws, Arkansas also has its rules and regulations.
In some states, cannabis is used both recreationally and medically, but Arkansas is not yet open for recreational use.
There’s so much to know before you even submit an application to open a dispensary.
Honestly, it may all discourage you too.
However, if you doggedly continue, you may have your own dispensary.
What Are The Difficulties In Opening a Dispensary?
Not only in Arkansas, but there are difficulties you’d face anywhere.
I’ll get to the bad news first.
You need to have a serious amount of money to get started.
You may also find it difficult to get financing.
Since cannabis is still illegal according to the federal law, it’s a dicey situation.
Financial institutions and banks may be reluctant to help.
Plus, you have to be innovative when it comes to advertising.
And that’s because it’s tough to go the traditional route.
You might also find it tough to find payment gateways to run your store.
Lastly, there will be a lot of paperwork.
The guidelines are extremely strict, and you don't want to take them lightly.
What Are The Advantages of Opening a Dispensary?
Now, moving on to the good news.
If you’re reading this article, then you probably already know how the cannabis industry is performing.
It’s almost worth $7 billion, and it's just the beginning.
Most states that are made it legal are reaping the profits.
If you start now, imagine where you'd be when it takes off.
Sure, the laws are strict, but that makes it even better.
With reports suggesting that the sales could reach $75 billion by 2030, it’s more profitable than Soda!
If there was a dispensary in every block, you'd have way too much competition.
But since this industry rewards only the perseverant, you can reap more than you imagined.
Traditional advertising channels like Facebook or Google may turn you away.
However, you can use cannabis friendly sites to market your product.
You can also talk to doctors that understand the benefits of medical marijuana.
In turn, he can recommend you to patients to drive sales your way.
Lastly, you can make money.
The state of Arkansas will provide only five licenses for cultivation.
Arkansas will also be divided into 8 zones when it comes to licensing.
And each county will have about four licenses simultaneously.
In 2019, Arkansas plans an early opening and plans to give out 32 licenses.
Now, there are only 5-6 dispensaries open, and some are not even operational yet.
In 2016, Arkansas finally legalized medical marijuana even after failing in 2012.
The state is still lagging behind compared to other states, but there’s hope.
Sales in Arkansas alone are expected to cross above $56 million by 2021!
And there are almost 6000 patients waiting to get their medication.
What Are The Requirements To Open a Dispensary In Arkansas?
According to the law, local municipalities have the power to shut down dispensaries.
Therefore, read this carefully.
The first requirement is that you need to be a resident of Arkansas.
Plus, you need to provide proof that you've lived there for at least seven years.
The state opened its doors for applicants only in July 2017.
Then they were closed in September.
Currently, the application process is closed, and you cannot apply.
However, you can still prepare and get ready by the time the state decides to reopen the process.
If you apply, the commission shall review your assets.
Based on your financial status, you may or may not receive a license.
You must also show proof that you own at least $200,000 in assets.
A surety bond of the same amount will also do.
Next, you need to provide evidence that you own liquid assets.
And liquid assets must be at least $100,000.
At the time you apply, a fee of $7500 will be applied.
Out of that amount, only 50% or $3750 can be refunded.
Getting a license for cultivation is another matter though.
For licensing, a $25,000 fee will be applied.
However, if you don’t wish to open a cultivating division, you need to cough up only $2500.
How to Prepare in Advance?
You might want to open a dispensary because you want to help others.
You may have altruistic reasons, but everything relies on your documents, bank balance, and perseverance.
Apart from saving money to pay the fees, you can prepare in several other ways.
Know the Law
The first thing you need is research.
Now, you need to understand that your product will be a medicinal plant.
So, you have to know the law like the back of your hand.
Whether it’s federal or municipal or provincial laws, you need to be prepared.
Because even though cannabis is legal, your dispensary could be raided with only a few complaints.
Compliance and coordination with the authorities will save you a lot of headaches.
If this feels like too much, then invest in a good attorney.
Yes, it will cost you more money, but comparing the risks, it's worth it.
Maintain Great Public Relations
As a dispensary owner, you may face challenges when it comes to advertising.
Most people still have negative thoughts about the herb.
It might feel like a downhill battle to convince people.
Since you can’t take traditional routes for advertisements, you need to build a strong community.
If you succeed in convincing people to accept cannabis, your job is already half done.
The next thing remaining is to make them come to you.
How do you do that?
You employ knowledgeable people.
It’s important for employees in the dispensary to know what they are talking about.
A qualified physician will do the trick because people trust doctors.
Your customers must also feel comfortable to discuss anything.
Not only the product but the brand you build will hold utmost importance.
After all, this business will run completely on trust.
You want people to come to you because they trust your product’s quality.
You also have to conduct your research on other dispensaries and be abreast of what they are doing.
Another vital necessity – don’t forget to know your neighbors!
Your location and neighbors will play a big role to ensure that your dispensary runs with no problems.
If your neighbors don’t like what they see, they can complain about you.
Not that you’re doing anything wrong.
But you don't want people knocking your doors now and then.
Invest in Marketing
Like every other business, marketing will do you a world of good.
You need to think a little out of the box here.
From understanding price projections to using software that tracks everything, you need to be up-to-date.
Hiring a creative marketer with experience in the cannabis industry will be awesome.
Word of mouth is another way to advertise, so keep your customers happy!
Offer discounts to returning customers and help them when they don’t understand something.
You will be dealing with sensitive data that contains information about a patient.
Therefore, invest in security and let the customer know that his/her information is protected.
All these strategies mean that you will be spending more money.
So, make sure you have your finances sorted out.
Opening a dispensary is one of the most fruitful business opportunities out there.
Just take a look at some cannabis sales projections.
It is a bit complicated, but like they say, where there’s no pain, there’s no gain!