How to Open a Dispensary in Nevada

6 min read

How to Open a Dispensary in Nevada

February 10, 2023

Medical marijuana was first legalized in Nevada in 2000, when voters approved Question 9, which added the Nevada Medical Marijuana Act to the state constitution. This allowed patients with qualifying medical conditions to use marijuana for medicinal purposes with a recommendation from a licensed physician. The state established a registry program for patients and created guidelines for producing and distributing medical marijuana.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Nevada in 2016 with the passage of Question 2, which legalized the possession, use, and sale of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. The state established a system for licensing and regulating retail marijuana establishments, which began operations in July 2017. 

Many cannabis experts and market analysts believe that Nevada will issue additional dispensary licenses in the future. It is crucial to educate yourself on the requirements and responsibilities of operating a cannabis retail business in order to be successful as a dispensary owner. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of how to open a dispensary or how to get a dispensary license in Nevada.

For further details regarding the marijuana laws in Nevada, please follow this link.

How to Get a Dispensary License in Nevada

To get a Nevada dispensary license and to operate a retail marijuana business in the state, you must submit an application through the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB). You can find the required paperwork on the CCB’s website, which you must fill out and send to their office. In addition to the paperwork, you must also provide comprehensive information and documents outlining your plans for the dispensary, including details about its operations and management.

Here is the list of required documents:

  • Application & license fee;
  • Owner affiliation statement;
  • Owner agent cards provide;
  • Verification of medical certificate;
  • A copy of your medical certificate or provisional letter;
  • Zoning approval letter;
  • Distance requirements met;
  • Certificate of occupancy;
  • Landlord approval letter;
  • Registration with Nevada Secretary of State;
  • Local business license;
  • Pre-operating inspection.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Dispensary in Nevada?

The cost to open a dispensary in Nevada can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the size and location of the dispensary, the cost of licenses and permits, and the cost of startup expenses such as rent, inventory, and staffing. 

On average, it might cost anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million or more to open a dispensary in Nevada. This includes costs such as obtaining a license from the state, paying for legal and consulting services, leasing a storefront, purchasing equipment and supplies, and marketing and advertising expenses. It is important to thoroughly research the costs involved and develop a comprehensive financial plan before opening a dispensary in Nevada.

Nevada’s licensing and application fees align with the national average for states with recreational marijuana laws. To begin the process, you will be required to pay a non-refundable initial application fee of $5,000. Once your application is approved, you will need to pay an additional $20,000 license fee for your cannabis retail business.

Can I Open a Dispensary in Nevada Now? 

The Department is temporarily not accepting any applications for marijuana licenses or medical marijuana registration certificates at this time. Before accepting applications, the Department will provide a 45-day notice to give interested parties adequate time to prepare their submissions.

How to Draft a Business Plan for Your Dispensary in Nevada

Market Analysis

Begin by researching the cannabis market in Nevada, including the current demand for cannabis products, the number of cannabis dispensaries in operation, and the types of products offered. Analyze the competition and identify any gaps in the market that your dispensary can fill. Consider factors such as location, product quality, and customer service to determine your target market and how you can differentiate your business from others.

Business Structure

Determine the structure of your dispensary, including ownership, management, and staffing. Consider the state and local regulations surrounding cannabis businesses and develop a plan for obtaining the necessary licenses and permits. You’ll also need to decide on a business model, including the types of products you will offer, pricing strategies, and marketing tactics.

Financial Projections

Develop a comprehensive financial plan that includes start-up costs, operating expenses, and projected revenue. This should also include a realistic forecast of sales and cash flow and a plan for securing financing. Consider the costs associated with renting or purchasing a location, stocking inventory, and hiring and training staff. You’ll also need to factor in the ongoing costs of doing business, including utilities, insurance, and marketing expenses. A strong financial plan will help you secure funding and ensure the long-term success of your dispensary.

How to Choose the Right Location to Open a Dispensary in Nevada 

Zoning Laws

Before choosing a location for your cannabis dispensary, you need to research local and state zoning laws to ensure that you are able to operate in the area you have selected. Additionally, you need to verify that your selected location is in compliance with state regulations regarding the proximity of dispensaries to schools, parks, and other community facilities. Marijuana retail facilities in Nevada must be 1000 feet from private or public schools if the school existed before the license application was submitted or 300 feet of a community facility if it existed before the licensing application.

Demographic Considerations

Consider the demographics of the area you are planning for your dispensary. Is the population predominantly comprised of potential customers interested in your products? Do you expect to draw a high volume of tourists or local customers? Understanding the needs and interests of your target market will help you choose the right location and develop a business plan tailored to their needs. 

How to Stay Compliant in Nevada  

Selecting the correct tech partner is a major decision in the cannabis industry in Nevada. There are several things you should take into account, such as inventory management, to comply with the law, which requires licensed retailers to use the METRC tracking system to monitor the inventory from cultivation to sale. 

METRC is a system specifically designed for cannabis businesses in the US to monitor production and sale by tracking each transaction, ensuring compliance with state regulations and tax collection. The Point of Sale (POS) system is a crucial part of the METRC tracking system, enabling businesses to manage sales, inventory, and customer data by integrating with the METRC tracking system for real-time recording and reporting of transactions.

IndicaOnline offers a fully compliant solution for dispensaries, including POS software, delivery, and e-commerce platforms, ensuring compliance with state laws and providing transparency for regulators and patients. With our solution, dispensaries can easily track and record all cannabis products with detailed information and generate reports automatically for tax and compliance purposes without worrying about inventory updates or customer management.

How to Get Funding to Start a Dispensary in Nevada

Securing funding for a dispensary business is the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs. There are difficulties in obtaining financing from investors as banks are hesitant to lend money to dispensary operators and are banned by the federal government. Owners must raise a substantial amount of capital on their own. 

However, some companies in Nevada offer alternative financing options for your dispensary business. These organizations specialize in providing capital to the marijuana industry and understand the unique challenges and complexities of starting a dispensary. By working with these companies, you can secure the funding you need to start and grow your business, despite the challenges posed by the federal government. It’s worth exploring this option if you’re having trouble finding traditional funding sources.


As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, it’s crucial for startups to have the right tools and support to thrive. By implementing our quality software for tracking sales and staying compliant with state laws, you can streamline your operations and establish a strong foundation for future success. With the right technology in place, you have the power to revolutionize the industry and make a positive impact on society.