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How to Get a Business Loan for Dispensary in Oregon

May 3, 2023

The cannabis industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use. One state where the cannabis industry has taken off is Oregon. With the legalization of medical marijuana in 1998 and recreational marijuana in 2014, Oregon has become a hub for cannabis businesses, including dispensaries. According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, as of May 2023, there are around 1000 licensed dispensaries operating in the state.

However, despite the growing number of dispensaries, business owners in Oregon still face challenges, particularly when it comes to financing. The federal illegality of marijuana makes it difficult for traditional lenders to provide loans, leaving owners to seek out alternative financing options.

Despite these challenges, there are various financing options available to meet the financial needs of cannabis businesses in Oregon. This blog will delve into some of these options, with a particular focus on business loans. We will explore credit unions, cash advances, real estate loans, and specialized lenders. We will also discuss factors to consider when applying for a business loan, including credit scores, business plans, and cash flow.

By understanding the financing options available and being prepared with the necessary documentation, dispensary owners in Oregon can continue to grow and succeed in the thriving cannabis industry.

Federal Regulations and Financing Options

Marijuana businesses, including dispensaries, are still considered illegal at the federal level in the United States. This creates a challenging situation for business owners who are looking for financing options to support their businesses. The federal government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug means that many traditional lenders, such as banks, are hesitant to offer financing to cannabis companies. This can make it difficult for dispensary owners in Oregon to find financial solutions to support their businesses, whether it’s for working capital, real estate loans, or cash flow needs. Despite the legal hurdles, there are still options available for business owners in Oregon who are looking for a business loan. 

Credit Unions

Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives that operate to promote the financial well-being of their members. Some credit unions in Oregon have started offering loans to cannabis businesses, including dispensaries. These loans are typically structured as small business loans and may carry higher interest rates due to the associated risks. However, credit unions are a great option for business owners who need financing but do not qualify for traditional loans. Since credit unions are member-owned, they have a vested interest in supporting the local community and businesses. As a result, they may be more willing to work with cannabis businesses in need of financing.

Cash Advances

Cash advances are short-term loans that are often used for working capital. This type of loan is usually appealing to businesses that have a steady cash flow and need quick access to funds. Unlike traditional loans, cash advances are easy to qualify for, require minimal documentation, and are processed quickly. However, they can come with high-interest rates and fees, which can make them expensive in the long run. Before accepting a cash advance, it’s essential to carefully review the terms and make sure that the cost of borrowing doesn’t outweigh the benefits of having immediate access to funds.

Real Estate Loans

Real estate loans offer an alternative financing option for dispensary owners who own their buildings or plan to purchase new properties. These loans are typically secured by the property and have lower interest rates than other types of loans. Additionally, they may offer longer repayment terms, making them an attractive option for businesses that need to borrow a significant amount of money. However, it’s important to note that real estate loans can be challenging to qualify for, requires extensive documentation, and may take longer to process than other types of loans.

Specialized Lenders

Specialized lenders are financial institutions that offer loans specifically designed for businesses in the cannabis industry. These lenders understand the unique needs of cannabis businesses and can provide more flexible terms and lower interest rates than traditional lenders. Some specialized lenders may also offer other services, such as consulting or marketing, to help businesses succeed in the competitive cannabis market. However, it’s crucial to research and compare the different lenders’ terms and fees to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. It’s also important to note that some specialized lenders may require businesses to meet certain criteria or operate in specific states.

Factors to Consider When Applying for a Business Loan

Lenders consider several factors when assessing business loan applications for dispensaries in Oregon. These factors may include credit scores, business plans, and cash flow. It’s critical to be prepared with all of the required documentation and to be transparent with lenders about your business and its financial requirements.

Credit scores are a significant factor in obtaining loans. Make sure that you have a good credit score before applying for a loan. You may also need to provide a business plan that outlines your dispensary’s operations, financial projections, and marketing strategies. Lenders want to see that you have a solid plan in place to ensure the success of your business. Finally, you need to demonstrate that your dispensary has a steady cash flow to ensure that you can make timely loan repayments.


In conclusion, there are several financing options available for dispensary owners in Oregon who are in need of a business loan. While traditional lenders may be hesitant to offer financing to cannabis businesses, there are still options available through credit unions, specialized lenders, and real estate loans. It’s important to carefully consider the terms and fees associated with each option before taking out a loan and to be prepared with all necessary documentation when applying. With the right financing solutions in place, dispensary owners can continue to grow and thrive in the ever-evolving cannabis industry.