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

An overview of the licensing, application, legal fees, and more

By Super Lawyers staff on July 1, 2019
Updated on April 13, 2020

In November 2016, voters in Nevada weighed in on Question 2, the state’s Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana. By a margin of 54 to 46, the ballot measure passed, paving the way for the state to permit the sale and use of marijuana. Among other things, the law creates fresh commercial opportunities.

If you’re looking to apply for a dispensary license, however, you’re probably out of luck.

“There is not an open application period currently,” says Amanda N. Connor of Connor & Connor in Henderson. “The last one … those licenses were awarded in December 2018. Since then, there has not been an open application period, and there is not one planned.”

Nevada’s regulations currently allow for a set number of licenses, and for dispensaries and retail cannabis stores, the maximum number has been awarded: 132. However, if any licenses are revoked, someone surrenders them, or the law changes to increase that number, there may be another application period. If so, here’s what you need to know.

Applying for the Appropriate Marijuana License

Under Nevada law, there are four different types of commercial marijuana licenses available.

  1. A marijuana dispensary license
  2. A marijuana cultivation facility license
  3. A marijuana production facility license
  4. An independent testing laboratory license

An applicant must have the appropriate license for their specific operations. If you are seeking a dispensary license in Nevada, it can be expensive. The fees alone are $5,000 for the initial application fee (non-refundable if denied), $30,000 initial licensure fee, and $5,000 annual license renewal fee.

Compared to many other businesses, the application and licensing fees are especially high. Of course, these costs are only the beginning. You must also have enough capital to get the business up and running—including selecting and securing property for the proposed dispensary.

Meeting the Application Requirements

To obtain a marijuana dispensary license in Nevada, you must meet a number of different specific requirements. Perhaps most notably, the state requires all dispensary applicants to prove that they have control of $250,000 in liquid assets for the business entity.

If you lack sufficient startup capital, your dispensary license application will be denied on those grounds. Beyond paying for the application fee and the initial license, you and your business partners must get sufficient liquid capital.

Further, as part of the dispensary application process, property for the proposed site must be obtained. The selected property should comply with all state and local regulations related to marijuana dispensaries. Notably, most property must be renovated before it can be turned into a marijuana dispensary. This is because Nevada law requires all marijuana establishments to have secure entrances and to be built in the style of a traditional medical or pharmaceutical facility.

“The way to get involved in Nevada’s marijuana industry currently would be to purchase an already issued license, because they are transferrable,” says Connor. “You have to pass a criminal background check and have no excluded felony offenses within the last 10 years. And then there’s also a financial component: The company or individual has to show a minimum of $250,000 in liquid assets in a U.S. banking institution.”

Protect Your Investment

Opening and operating a marijuana dispensary in Nevada is a complicated process. If you are considering making a major investment in the industry, it is imperative that you consult with a Nevada cannabis attorney. Your business lawyer can advise you on all relevant issues related to the application and licensure process. It is highly recommended that you speak to an experienced attorney before purchasing any real estate to open up a dispensary.

How Much Would It Cost to Open a Dispensary in Nevada? – an article appearing in Super Lawyers Magazine July 2019

Nevada Marijuana Business Licenses

Status: In Nevada, individuals age 21+ may be in possession of Marijuana, and state licensed businesses may cultivate, manufacture, distribute and sell Marijuana.

CBD Program Medical Program Recreational Program Are Applications Open?
Legal Legal Legal closed

Number of Nevada Marijuana Business Licenses Licenses Available

Dispensaries Cultivation Manufacturing/Processing Transportation
0 0 0 0

Nevada Marijuana Cultivation License Guidelines

  1. Allowed to cultivate, process and package marijuana to sell to other state licensed marijuana facilities.
  2. Not allowed to sell marijuana directly to consumers.
  3. Must apply for a cultivation license with the state before cultivating marijuana.
  4. Applicant must submit a non-refundable application fee of $5,000.
  5. Applicant must show evidence of the amount of taxes paid, or other beneficial financial contributions made, to this State or its political subdivisions within the last 5 years by the applicant or the persons who are proposed to be owners, officers or board members of the proposed marijuana establishment.
  6. Cultivation Facility must be at least 1,000 feet from a public or private school and 300 feet from a community facility.

RECOMMENDED NEVADA MARIJUANA BUSINESS PLANS FOR CULTIVATION APPLICATION:

  • Nevada Marijuana Business Plan Package
  • Cultivation Plan Template
  • Environmental Plan Template
  • Financial Plan Template
  • Fire Safety Plan Template
  • Inventory Control Plan Template
  • Product Safety Plan Template
  • Security Plan Template
  • Staffing Plan Template
  • Suitability of Proposed Plan Template
  • Transportation Plan Template

Nevada Marijuana Product Manufacturing License Guidelines

  1. Allowed to purchase marijuana, manufacture, process and package marijuana and marijuana products, and sell to other state licensed marijuana facilities.
  2. Not allowed to sell marijuana directly to consumers.
  3. Must apply for a manufacturing license with the state before producing marijuana products.
  4. Applicant must submit a non-refundable application fee of $5,000.
  5. Applicant must show evidence of the amount of taxes paid, or other beneficial financial contributions made, to this State or its political subdivisions within the last 5 years by the applicant or the persons who are proposed to be owners, officers or board members of the proposed marijuana establishment.
  6. Manufacturing Facility must be at least 1,000 feet from a public or private school and 300 feet from a community facility.

RECOMMENDED NEVADA MARIJUANA BUSINESS PLANS FOR MANUFACTURING APPLICATION:

  • Nevada Marijuana Business Plan Package
  • Manufacturing/Processing Plan Template
  • Environmental Plan Template
  • Financial Plan Template
  • Fire Safety Plan Template
  • Inventory Control Plan Template
  • Product Safety Plan Template
  • Security Plan Template
  • Staffing Plan Template
  • Suitability of Proposed Plan Template
  • Transportation Plan Template

Nevada Retail Marijuana Store License Guidelines

  1. Allowed to purchase marijuana and marijuana products to sell directly to consumers.
  2. Must apply for a retail marijuana store license with the state before selling marijuana and marijuana products.
  3. Applicant must submit a non-refundable application fee of $5,000.
  4. Applicant must show evidence of the amount of taxes paid, or other beneficial financial contributions made, to this State or its political subdivisions within the last 5 years by the applicant or the persons who are proposed to be owners, officers or board members of the proposed marijuana establishment.
  5. Retail Marijuana Store must be at least 1,000 feet from a public or private school and 300 feet from a community facility.Not more than 80 licenses issued in a county with a population that is less than 700,000. Not more than 20 licenses issued in a county with a population that is less than 700,000 but more than 100,000. Note more than 4 licenses issued in a county with a population that is less than 100,000 but more than 55,000. Not more than 2 licenses issued in a county with a population that is less than 55,000.

RECOMMENDED NEVADA MARIJUANA BUSINESS PLANS FOR RETAIL STORE APPLICATION:

  • Nevada Marijuana Business Plan Package
  • Business & Operations Plan Template
  • Financial Plan Template
  • Inventory Control Plan Template
  • Patient Education Plan Template
  • Patient Recordkeeping Plan Template
  • Security Plan Template
  • Staffing Plan Template

Nevada Marijuana Distributor License Guidelines

  1. Allowed to transport marijuana and marijuana products from a state licensed marijuana facility to another.
  2. Only licensed distributors are allowed to transport marijuana and marijuana products to licensed retail marijuana stores.
  3. Must apply for a marijuana distributor license with the state before transporting marijuana and marijuana products.
  4. Applicant must submit a non-refundable application fee of $5,000.
  5. Applicant must show evidence of the amount of taxes paid, or other beneficial financial contributions made, to this State or its political subdivisions within the last 5 years by the applicant or the persons who are proposed to be owners, officers or board members of the proposed marijuana establishment.
  6. Marijuana distributors are not allowed to store marijuana or marijuana products overnight and shall only provide direct transport services.

RECOMMENDED NEVADA MARIJUANA BUSINESS PLANS FOR DISTRIBUTOR APPLICATION:

  • Nevada Marijuana Business Plan Package
  • Transportation Plan Template
  • Business & Operations Plan Template
  • Financial Plan Template
  • Inventory Control Plan Template
  • Security Plan Template

The History of Nevada Marijuana Business Licenses Marijuana

In November of 2000, Nevada legalized medical marijuana, however, the state’s program did not go into effect until June 12, 2013, when the Governor signed S.B. 374 into law- a medical marijuana bill that established a state regulated dispensary system. This new law finally fulfilled the state constitution’s mandate that the legislature provides for appropriate methods of supply for medical marijuana. Dispensary and cultivation licenses were awarded in 2014 and the medical marijuana facilities started opening in 2015.

Question 2, an Initiative on the Nov 2016 ballot to legalize recreational marijuana in Nevada, made it legal for adults age 21 and older to buy marijuana for recreational use, possess up to an ounce and grow up to six plants at home — if that residence is more than 25 miles away from a licensed dispensary. The initiative includes some limitations on the number of retail outlets in a specific county — the populous Clark County, home to Las Vegas, can have up to 80 shops, while every other county under 55,000 people can have no more than two recreational stores. Wholesale marijuana is subject to a 15 percent excise tax. Cannabis consumption is restricted to private premises, which includes a retail marijuana store.

On July 1, 2020, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) became fully authorized and took over regulation of the state’s cannabis industry. Last year, Gov. Steve Sisolak signed AB 533, creating the CCB. The CCB’s inaugural board meeting was held on Tuesday, July 21.

Open A Dispensary In Nevada – This new law finally fulfilled the state constitution’s mandate that the legislature provide for appropriate methods…