I went to visit a friend who owns a marijuana dispensary in San Diego. Like most who do not live in one of the marijuana-friendly states, I found I had many misconceptions about the business and that just finding marijuana dispensary real estate in California was a big challenge that involved a lot of research and knowledge of laws and community-specific regulations.
My friend had been in the medicinal marijuana business for a number of years and his dispensary offered delivery to patients as well. He was looking at expanding his business to have another brick and mortar dispensary and was also interested in opening a grow farm with both indoor and outdoor space to grow marijuana plants. This required numerous meetings with county government, applications for permits and a lot of time spent attending local government meetings.
I quickly learned that opening a dispensary or farming marijuana wasn’t quite as simple as picking an empty store and setting up shop or finding a parcel of land and planting some seeds, While considered legal to use for medicinal, as well as for recreational purposes, marijuana is still highly regulated in California with each county, city and community having specific laws regarding locations for both dispensaries and growing facilities. While properties were abundant, finding one that fit within the very specific limits was challenging. I could completely understand why this process was so time-consuming and frustrating after several days of driving around and checking out properties proved fruitless.
While I had thoughts of moving to California to get into the business myself, I had a very different vision of what being in the marijuana business would entail. It is truly a business like any other and filled with far more regulatory demands that must be met and maintained to enjoy any success.