Opening your dispensary is an amazing business opportunity. With more than 80 billion dollars in cannabis sales expected by 2030, this emerging industry is experiencing incredible growth.

While your investment in a cannabis dispensary can prove to be a very lucrative opportunity, the barrier to entry is not cheap. Dispensaries require a large upfront investment to get started. They also have to deal with constantly changing regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in the closure of your dispensary which is the last thing you want to happen after investing a significant amount of money.

Regulatory systems vary from state to state, but each has its demanding guidelines. These guidelines are established to ensure that dispensaries are conducting business in a way that does not negatively impact the community they are a part of. (Pro-tip: Check out our markets pages to find state-specific information for your dispensary’s location)

Market Regulations and Jurisdictions

Many local jurisdictions are still in the process of ironing out the regulations that will be implemented in their area. This means that the regulatory landscape is constantly changing which is fundamental to the growth of the cannabis industry. By keeping an eye on your state’s regulations, you can ensure that you will be operating in compliance with your local laws.

With the importance of regulation in mind, we have created a general dispensary compliance checklist that can be applied loosely to all jurisdictions where marijuana is legal.

Compliance Checklist for Dispensary Owners

Compliance Checklist for Cannabis Dispensary Owners

This checklist covers general rules that apply across most jurisdictions and saves you from having to go through the hundreds of pages of documentation published by state authorities.

Dispensary Location and Exterior

  • Signage: Make sure your dispensary sign follows all local ordinances. One of the most dangerous things you could do is display any signs or advertisements that promote images that cater to minors. Make sure your signage is appropriate to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
  • Windows: Many jurisdictions mandate that dispensaries cover their windows to prevent pedestrians from looking in. This ordinance has been established to deter minors from being exposed to the industry from an early age.
  • Zoning: Most states require cannabis dispensaries to operate in specific areas that are away from schools or similar municipal establishments.
  • Security: If your jurisdiction requires cannabis dispensaries to be monitored by cameras, make sure these cameras are accessible, visible, and functional.

Dispensary Interior

  • Signage: Interior signs should be visible and conform to all state and local regulations.
  • Licensing: Every dispensary should display its license in an easy-to-see spot inside the building. Find a prominent place to hang your license, this will be one of the first things regulators look for during an inspection.
  • Lighting and Visibility: Dispensaries need to be arranged in a way where everything is well lit. The layout also needs to be constructed in a way that makes it possible for all employees to see what is happening in every corner of the building. Clear visibility and an open floor plan make it easier to prevent minors from getting into the dispensary.
  • Product Prices and Information: Be sure to display all product information in a prominent and easy to view manner. You should also include any mandated messaging that is required by your state.

Dispensary Operations

  • Inventory: Cannabis inventory needs to always be protected. Make sure that all flowers and other products are kept in a secure warehouse only accessible to employees. It is also important to keep track of individual purchase limits to ensure inventory compliance in your state.
  • Insurance: Commercial liability insurance is usually a requirement for most states. Make sure to keep your insurance plan up to date and reflective of your current operating conditions.
  • Disposal: Complying with disposal requirements is crucial for all dispensaries and is highly regulated. With that in mind, it is recommended that you hire a third-party vendor who specializes in compliant waste disposal.
  • Labeling: It is important to follow the labeling requirements provided by your state. Labeling compliance is highly regulated and requires cannabis products to be labeled clearly and placed in appropriately labeled containers.
  • Seed-to-Sale Tracking: Regulatory compliance requires that you report seed-to-sale tracking data for every transaction. Be sure to audit your records to verify that your inventory corresponds to the actual sales figures.
  • Employees: Having a system in place to make sure your employees are properly trained to understand all compliance regulations is crucial to avoid any unnecessary trouble from state regulators.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis Business Owners - Compliance List

Having gone over a general checklist of the things your new dispensary should pay attention to, it has become clear that the cannabis business, while extremely lucrative, comes with a high degree of local state regulation. While this can seem overwhelming when you are first getting started, it is important to break down each regulation to make sure you are following the proper local guidelines.

Local compliance

Local compliance regulations are constantly evolving, and you should always be sure to consult your specific state’s local rules. But if you are just looking for a general overview of what you should be paying attention to, we hope that this dispensary compliance checklist has served its purpose.

Signage & Zoning

In general, signage is very important and should never include any advertisements that could be interpreted as appealing to minors. Aside from that, it is important to make sure your dispensary is properly zoned and not in a location close to schools or any other similar establishments.


When it comes to the product itself, it is essential that all products are properly labeled and adhere to state requirements. Inventory also is heavily tracked and seed-to-sale tracking needs to be accounted for all transactions. Finally, you must comply with the disposal regulations that have been put in place in your particular jurisdiction.

By following this dispensary compliance checklist, you will be on the right track in keeping your dispensary thriving within a constantly changing regulatory landscape. While this can be overwhelming, following this guide can ensure your best chance of maintaining a successful and compliant cannabis business.

Paybotic Payment Processing Solutions

Are you looking for fast reliable payment solutions for your dispensary? With years of experience in the cannabis payment processing space, we can assist you with all your payment needs. Having established a strong network of domestic partners, we are able to provide solutions for every type of legal high-risk business.

Whether you are looking for debit card processing, ACH/eCheck, or other payment solutions, we can customize your experience while finding the best partners that can fulfill all your payment needs. To learn more, fill out a contact form call us at 844.420.4729 and speak directly with our team of professionals that will be glad to help you find the right payment solutions for your cannabis dispensary.

Post date: 8/20/2021
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