How to get a dispensary license in louisiana 2024

5 min read

How to Get a Dispensary License in Louisiana 2024

April 3, 2024

The cannabis industry in Louisiana offers unprecedented opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors, particularly given the state’s evolving stance on medical marijuana. As we head into 2024, understanding how to get a dispensary license in Louisiana becomes a pivotal first step for those looking to make their mark in this burgeoning market. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential steps and considerations for securing your place in Louisiana’s promising cannabis landscape, illuminating the path for aspiring dispensary owners in this green revolution.

Understanding the Legal Landscape in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the legal framework governing the cannabis industry has been carefully crafted to accommodate the growing acceptance and medical use of marijuana. The state’s marijuana business is primarily focused on medical cannabis, and is aligned with Louisiana’s marijuana laws that have established a regulatory environment for medical marijuana in Louisiana. Recent years have seen significant strides toward broadening the scope of these laws, particularly with movements to legalize medical marijuana, making it accessible to a wider range of people with qualifying medical conditions. However, Louisiana’s stance on adult-use cannabis remains conservative, with a focus on medical dispensaries for now. Legislative changes continue to shape the landscape, influencing how new and existing applicants can navigate the market. Knowledge of these laws is crucial for anyone looking to enter the cannabis industry in Louisiana, as compliance and alignment with state regulations are fundamental to securing a dispensary license and operating successfully within the state.

Eligibility Criteria for Dispensary Licenses

Securing a dispensary license in Louisiana requires adherence to the strict eligibility criteria established by the Louisiana Department of Health and the Board of Pharmacy. These bodies oversee the licensing process to ensure dispensaries distribute medical marijuana responsibly to patients with qualifying medical conditions. Louisiana issues a therapeutic marijuana pharmacy permit as its medical cannabis dispensary license. This authorization allows an individual or organization to acquire pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products exclusively from suppliers approved by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) for sale to those registered for medical cannabis use. To qualify for a dispensary license, applicants must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Louisiana’s medical marijuana regulations and an ability to meet the requirement for high operational standards. 

The list of qualifying conditions required for access to medical marijuana is extensive, underscoring the state’s commitment to providing relief through cannabis for a variety of health issues. Moreover, potential dispensary owners must undertake a rigorous application process, proving their business’s financial stability, security measures, and healthcare knowledge. This careful vetting process ensures only qualified entities are granted the privilege of operating licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, and is aimed at creating a safe and effective medical cannabis program in Louisiana.

The Application Process for a Dispensary License

The application process must begin with a comprehensive appreciation of the requirements laid out by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy, which oversees the licensing for medical marijuana dispensaries.  Your first step should be researching the next application window, then you’ll be ready to follow this step-by-step guide to streamlining your application:

Preparation: Before applying, ensure you have a thorough business plan that includes security measures, product sourcing, and patient education strategies. Comprehending the medical marijuana program in Louisiana is crucial, as your operation will directly impact patients under this program.

Documentation: Gather all necessary documentation, which may include background checks, financial statements, and business incorporation documents. This stage is critical, as missing or incorrect information can delay your application.

Application Submission: Create an account at eLicense Online Platform for your new dispensary application: Select the “Create/Resume an Application” tab and choose the “Application for Therapeutic Marijuana Pharmacy” option. Include details of your proposed dispensary, including location, ownership structure, and operational plans.

Fees: Pay the compulsory $5000 application fee and $150 licensing fee, which supports the processing and evaluation of your application. Don’t forget to include this in your initial budget planning.

Evaluation: In deciding whether to grant a therapeutic marijuana pharmacy permit, the LABP evaluates:

The proposed dispensary’s location, ensuring the population of qualifying patients is sufficient to necessitate a medical marijuana pharmacy; the suitability and integrity of the owner, the pharmacist-in-charge, or anyone else who might oversee the proposed dispensary; and the level of financial stakes held by the applicant in any other entity that has been or is currently being licensed or has applied for a license from the LABP.

Approval: If your application meets all criteria, you will be granted a dispensary license. This license represents your permission to operate within the medical marijuana program in Louisiana, subject to ongoing compliance with state regulations.

Preparing for Your Dispensary Business

Securing approval from the LABP for a therapeutic marijuana pharmacy license in Louisiana may take several months, and, on receiving the marijuana pharmacy permit, the recipient is required to initiate operations within 310 days of its issue. Failure to do so allows the LABP to retract the pharmacy permit at its discretion, unless the delay is due to force majeure. 

Opening a cannabis dispensary in Louisiana requires careful preparation and an exhaustive understanding of both regulatory and market demands. Key to this preparation is in-depth knowledge of the inventory requirements, including the critical “14 grams rule,” which governs the maximum amount of flower cannabis an individual can purchase in a given period. This rule highlights the importance of managing your inventory effectively to ensure compliance while meeting patient needs. 


Securing a dispensary license in Louisiana in 2024 could mark the beginning of a promising enterprise within the state’s legal cannabis industry. This guide has outlined the crucial steps and considerations for prospective dispensary owners, from a detailed awareness of Louisiana’s legal conditions to completing the application process and beyond. As the industry continues to grow, the opportunities for dispensaries will expand, offering a rewarding venture for those who are well-prepared and ready to embark. Take the necessary steps today to stake your claim in Louisiana’s growing cannabis market, and be at the forefront of a dynamic and evolving industry.