How to start a dispensary in Canada

How to start a dispensary in Canada

The ‘green rush’ in Canada is just getting started. Since the Trudeau government legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, the market for weed has been booming. If you’re thinking of getting in on the action by opening your own dispensary, there are a few things you need to know first.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of opening a dispensary in Canada. We’ll go over the different steps you need to take before you can start selling weed and how to avoid costly mistakes. 


1. Do Your Research

The first step to opening a dispensary is doing your research. You need to make sure that you understand the ins and outs of the cannabis industry before you start your own business.

This means learning about the different types of weed, the different ways to consume it, and the laws around selling it. You can do this by reading books or articles about the industry, talking to other dispensary owners, or attending industry events.


Lawyer up!

Even after getting familiar with the basics of cannabis law in Canada, it might be a good idea to consult with a lawyer specializing in cannabis law. They can help you navigate the legal complexities of opening and running a dispensary and make sure you’re in compliance with all the regulations.


2. Get a License

In Canada, there are two sets of laws that you need to be aware of when selling cannabis: federal and provincial. Both have their own rules and regulations around dispensaries.

The federal Cannabis Act regulates the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis across Canada. Under this act, it is illegal to sell cannabis without a license from Health Canada.

In order to get a license from Health Canada, you need to fill out an application and pay a fee. You will also need to provide a detailed business plan, including information on your proposed location, security measures, and product sourcing.

Your provincial government will also have its own rules and regulations around dispensaries. In some provinces, like Ontario, you will need to obtain a second license from the province to sell cannabis. In others like Quebec, only growers’ licenses are available for private vendors. The SQDC has a monopoly on retail weed in the province.


3. Find the Right Location

Finding the right location for your dispensary is critical to its success. It would be best to find a spot that is easily accessible and visible to potential customers. You also need to ensure that your dispensary complies with all the local zoning laws.

The best way to find a good location for your dispensary is to talk to a commercial real estate broker. They will be able to help you find a property that meets all your requirements and is within your budget.

Alternatively, you could open a mail-order dispensary. This would allow you to operate from anywhere in Canada, but you would miss out on the foot traffic that a brick-and-mortar location brings.


4. Budget Your Operation

Running a dispensary is not cheap. You need to make sure that you have enough money to cover the costs of lease, inventory, labour, and marketing.

One way to cut down on your costs is to buy your weed in bulk to benefit from wholesale prices. You can also grow your own weed if you have the certifications, space and expertise.

You should also save some money for dispensary essentials like bongs, pipes, and vaporizers. You can order cheap bongs at wholesale prices from suppliers like Wacky Tabacky. They have a wide selection of bongs, pipes, and vaporizers at wholesale prices.


5. Hire a Staff

You will need to hire trained professionals to run your dispensary. This staff includes budtenders, security guards, and managers. You can find qualified employees by posting job ads online or cannabis industry publications.

Make sure to properly train your staff on the different types of weed, the different ways to consume it, and the laws around selling it. You don’t want your employees giving out bad information to customers.

Do a thorough background check on applicants, as some provinces require that cannabis industry employees have a clean criminal record.


Partner up

Your in-house staff is crucial for day-to-day operations, but you’ll also need to develop relationships with other businesses in the cannabis industry. These partnerships will help you source products, get discounts on supplies, and reach new customers.

One business you want to have on speed dial is a reputable bong shop. Bong shops can be a great source of weed pipes, bongs, and other smoking accessories. Many of them also offer discounts to dispensary owners.

It’s essential to have paraphernalia in stock because customers will often buy it impulsively. If you don’t have what they’re looking for, they’ll go to another dispensary that does.


6. Market Your Dispensary

Once the foundation of your dispensary is in place, it’s time to start marketing your business. You need to let people know that you exist and have the best weed in town.

There are many ways to market a dispensary. You can go old school and hand out flyers in high traffic, advertise online, or hold special events. You can also partner with other businesses in the cannabis industry to cross-promote your products and services.

More recent dispensary marketing trends include using social media Influencers, participating in cannabis festivals, and leveraging the hype of crypto and NFTs. No matter what marketing strategy you choose, make sure that you target your ads to the right audience. You don’t want to waste your money on ads that no one will see.


7. Sell Your Weed!

Finally, it’s time to start selling weed! Best practices for running a dispensary include having a well-trained staff, a good selection of products, and strict security measures. Try to use environmentally-friendly packaging and don’t overcharge your customers. You want them to come back!



The cannabis industry is constantly evolving, so you should always be learning and growing (pun intended) as a marijuana business owner. Pay attention to changes in the law and keep up with industry news.

By following these tips, you will be on your way to opening a successful dispensary in Canada! If you need any glassware or other cannabis accessories for your dispensary, be sure to check out Wacky Tabacky’s latest arrivals.


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