How to Open a Dispensary in Minnesota

How to open a dispensary in minnesota

Are you thinking about opening a recreational dispensary in Minnesota? Congratulations!

The land of 10,000 lakes legalized adult-use cannabis in 2023, with the passage of HF100 by Governor Walz.

Medical cannabis was legalized in MN in 2014, though it was largely limited to oils, capsules, and other non-smokeable products until 2022, when small amounts of hemp-derived THC were permitted as edibles.

Recreational use of cannabis was officially legal for adults 21 and older on August 1st, 2023, when Minnesota became the 23rd state in the country to legalize adult use.

Even though legalization has occurred, adult-use dispensaries likely won’t open until 2025 as regulators establish their new licensing office, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), and figure out their licensing system and processes. While potential business owners wait on details, get started by familiarizing yourself with Minnesota’s cannabis laws.

This guide will outline how to open a dispensary in Minnesota, including information on types of licenses, financing, real estate, security, staffing, compliance, inventory, and tech stack.

Scroll through for a step-by-step process for getting a dispensary open in Minnesota, or use the links on the left to jump directly to your most pressing questions.

Disclaimer: Always consult your lawyer, accountant, realtor, or other trusted consultants to help you navigate the complexities of opening a cannabis dispensary. The information provided herein is designed to illustrate and educate, but is not to be construed as legal or financial advice.

Plan your Minnesota cannabis business

The first step for cannabis business owners is to get your affairs in order. You’ll need to understand your state’s cannabis laws, create your formal business entity, write a business plan, find a location, and prepare to submit your license application.

Form a business entity

If you haven’t yet officially formed a business entity, that’s the first task. Work with a lawyer to ensure everything is correct, but at a minimum, you’ll need to decide whether you’re creating an LLC or corporation and file with the state of Minnesota.

Then you can get tax ID numbers for the business, open a business bank account at a cannabis-friendly bank or credit union, and decide on your business insurance needs, including general liability insurance, property insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and product liability insurance.

Can dispensaries use banks?

Note: Every city, county, and state is different. You may have additional steps for taxes, licenses, or fees based on your business type and location.

Write a business plan

Cannabis is a complicated industry, with more compliance and legal considerations than other types of businesses. Having a rock-solid dispensary business plan can help ensure you are set up for success.

It may be tempting to skip this step, but your dispensary business plan must be submitted to the OCM as part of your application.

A good business plan should include:

  • The physical location of your dispensary

  • Funding plan, or where your startup and ongoing capital will come from

  • Sourcing plan for procuring your cannabis products

  • Revenue projections

  • Estimate or the actual number of employees, or who you’ll hire for what roles, and your dispensary org chart

  • Diversity and equity plans

  • Marketing plan

  • Safety and security plan

  • Technology plan, including which cannabis point-of-sale and compliance software you’ll use to manage your dispensary

  • Any other relevant information you want to document

The state of Minnesota also requires you to have documentation around:

  • Record retention:
    • Keep financial records for the current and previous tax years at your main business location.

    • These records should be available for inspection during regular business hours.

    • If required, maintain financial records for the past ten tax years and make them available within one business day of an inspection request.

    • Note: The office can require your business to undergo an audit; your business would be responsible for the audit’s cost.

  • Diversity reporting:
    • Annually report on diversity in ownership, management, employment, and contracted services in your business.

  • Disposal and loss documentation:
    • Process for disposing of damaged, contaminated, or expired cannabis plants, products, and hemp-derived items, using the office-approved methods of disposal.

    • Document disposal and any loss or theft of these items in the statewide monitoring system.

    • Immediately report loss or theft to local law enforcement and log it in the statewide monitoring system.

Note: A cannabis retailer may operate up to five retail locations in Minnesota, though there are limitations on where they are located. Businesses holding a cannabis retailer license may also hold a cannabis delivery service license, a medical cannabis retailer license, and a cannabis event organizer license. They may not hold other license types; vertical integration is prohibited.

Dispensary business plan template

Find a location

Your dispensary location is a critical piece of the puzzle, but not an easy one. You’ll need something in a visible location, with ample parking, and enough space to achieve your ideal workflow.

But most importantly, it needs to be in a municipality that accepts cannabis businesses. In Minnesota, local municipalities are allowed to temporarily restrict recreational marijuana sales until Jan. 1, 2025. Several cities and towns have—or are considering—similar measures.

Local governments will also be able to limit the number of retail stores, based on population. The law allows cities to limit the number of retailers to one for every 12,500 people, with a minimum of 1 retail dispensary. Local zoning ordinances will also apply.

Municipalities may also adopt reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of operation for cannabis businesses (so long as they don’t prohibit the establishment or operation of the business). They may prohibit dispensaries within:

  • 1,000 feet of a school

  • 500 feet of a daycare

  • 500 feet of a residential treatment facility

  • 500 feet of an attraction within a public park that’s regularly used by minors, such as playgrounds or athletic fields

Find a local real estate professional who specializes in cannabis real estate to help in your search. And use the public resources available to you, like city zoning and administration offices.

When looking for a location for your dispensary, focus on spaces that:

  • Align with your business plan

  • Are large enough to meet your needs

  • Are in an appropriate location to serve foot traffic

  • Have enough parking

  • Have opportunities for expansion/growth

  • Are within your budget

Don’t just look at monthly costs, but also factor in how much it’ll take to renovate or retrofit the space for your business needs. Finally, look at local competition (both existing and planned).

Many factors go into finding the perfect location for your retail dispensary. Take the time necessary to secure the best possible space to help ensure your success.

Secure funding

Now that you have a plan for your new recreational use dispensary, you can start to put together a more clear budget and plan.

A cannabis business can generally expect expenses in these categories:

  • Real estate and build-out - consider your initial costs, plus ongoing rent or mortgage. You’ll probably also have renovation expenses to start.

  • Licensing/application fees - the cost of getting licensed to run a dispensary in Minnesota. You’ll also need to plan for your renewal fees—$5,000 for retailers annually.

  • Operational costs - your day-to-day business operating expenses including, but not limited to, utilities, business or professional fees, marketing, etc.

  • Hardware, software, security, and other tech - many of these are monthly or annual subscriptions, but may include more sizable startup costs.

  • Staffing costs - the cost of hiring employees, including salaries, benefits, taxes, etc.

  • Inventory costs - or the actual expense of sourcing and purchasing your cannabis products. You’ll need to have enough stock on your shelves for opening day and beyond.

  • Taxes - cannabis businesses are heavily taxed and can’t participate in normal business write-offs like 280E, so plan ahead for your quarterly tax payments.

Do you have a plan for where this money will come from? As a cannabis entrepreneur, you have a few options for funding:

  • Self-funding - the easiest option is to already have access to capital (acquired through legal means).

  • Friends and family - another potentially easy way to meet dispensary capital requirements is through loans or investments from family and/or friends.

  • Partners - many cannabis businesses are legally set up as partnerships, where each partner contributes something meaningful. Partners can be silent (they primarily serve as the funder), or active; both are great if they serve your needs. Be sure to check eligibility requirements to ensure your partnership meets the criteria to apply for a license.

  • Loans - depending on your personal finances, you may be eligible for a personal loan to cover some (or all) of the upfront costs of opening a dispensary. You may also be able to secure a dispensary business loan, but be honest with your lender about how the funds will be used; not all financial institutions will work with cannabis businesses.

  • Private funds - whether it’s private equity, angel investors, or venture capital, you may have to look to outside investors to fund your cannabis business. This option will decrease your ownership stake in your company.

  • Crowdfunding - another less-popular but potentially viable option is to look to the general population to support your business venture.

  • Brokers - cannabis-specific brokerage companies can help you find funding for startup expenses, equipment, and more. FundCanna is one option for Minnesota dispensary businesses.

  • State funding - Capital from the Minnesota Cannabis Grant Programs is used to help entrepreneurs succeed and promote social equity.

Note: You are required to submit an explanation detailing your funding sources used to finance the business with your application.

What does it cost to open a dispensary in Minnesota?

Most sources suggest having between $250,000 – $1 million+ to open a dispensary. But that’s not all that helpful. Here’s a formula to give you a sense of what to expect. You can come back and fill in the details as you know your unique estimates.

Note: This estimate is for a standard license. Micro businesses and lower-potency hemp license types have significantly reduced application and renewal fees. Minnesota also has a social equity program to assist those who qualify with the cost of starting a dispensary.

Application and licensing fees for cannabis retailers in Minnesota = $5,000

  • Dispensary application fee = $2,500
    • Due when the application is submitted.

    • This fee is non-refundable.

  • Initial license fee = $2,500
    • Due upon licensing.

    • This fee is non-refundable.

  • Renewal Fees = $5,000 every year

Note: If you also want a delivery license, plan for an additional $250 application fee, $500 initial license fee, and $1,000 renewal license fee.

Real estate fees = $150,000

  • Includes annual rent or mortgage premiums, plus upfront design costs.

  • Will be higher in more expensive cities, like Minneapolis, or for larger remodels, or cheaper in more affordable areas of the state.

  • Plan for higher costs up-front, but it’ll stabilize over time to just rent/mortgage and maintenance/repairs.

Employee salaries = $300,000

Your store size and operating procedures will determine how many initial staff members you’ll need, but plan for around six employees to start, including a manager, several budtenders, and an inventory specialist. This figure includes an average of $20/hour, plus overtime, benefits, etc.

Professional fees and services = $50,000

This may decrease in future years, but to start, expect to pay for legal, financial, insurance, and other professional consulting fees to get your business started.

Security, hardware, and software = $50,000

This covers all network, security, hardware, and software for your business, including computers, TVs, printers, scanners, internet, and other software like POS, ecommerce, payments, etc.

After your initial investment, plan for at least $2,000 per month in recurring software expenses.

Marketing expenses = $100,000

Perhaps the most variable of your costs when opening a cannabis business, this factors in one full-time marketing staff person (or agency costs per year), plus costs for your website, ads, printing, etc. to promote the dispensary.

Cannabis products = $1,500 per pound

Your cost of products for opening day (plus ongoing stocking) will vary greatly based on your store size, number of SKUs, stock on hand, and supplier rates, but plan for an average of $1,500 per pound of cannabis products, including flower, edibles, vape cartridges, tinctures, topicals, lotions, capsules, beverages, prerolls, etc.

GRAND TOTAL = $655,000* (not including cannabis product inventory)

*Disclaimer: This is a rough estimate of the upfront and first-year costs of opening a cannabis dispensary in Minnesota. It is to be used for informational and illustrative purposes only as every market, location, and business will have unique startup costs.

Note: There is a separate process and fee schedule to open a medical dispensary in Minnesota.

Apply for a Minnesota recreational dispensary license

To open a dispensary in Minnesota, you’ll need a license to be able to possess, sell, or deliver cannabis.

The Office of Cannabis Management has not yet released information about the application process or regulations for how and when businesses can participate in the new adult-use industry in Minnesota.

The regulatory framework for legal adult cannabis, including processes and timelines to apply for different licenses, is expected to be developed in 2024. Watch the OCM website for updates.

The basics of applying for a dispensary license in MN

  • To open a dispensary in Minnesota, you need a dispensary license. There is no stated limit to the number of dispensary licenses that will be available, though they will issue “the necessary number of licenses to ensure the sufficient supply of cannabis flower and cannabis products to meet demand, provide market stability, ensure a competitive market, and limit the sale of unregulated cannabis flower and cannabis products.” Municipalities may also limit the number of dispensaries within specified distances.

  • Applications for business licenses will be available once rulemaking is complete. OCM expects applications for licenses to be available in early 2025.

  • If you’re planning to operate a small operation, you may be eligible for a microbusiness license, which limits the amount of cannabis a business can grow or possess.

  • If you’ve been negatively impacted by the failed war on drugs, you may be eligible for the social equity program in Minnesota.

  • Currently, only those in the Tribal Nations, as well as existing medical marijuana dispensaries, can sell cannabis in Minnesota. Retailers may also sell low-potency hemp products but must register with the state.

How to get a dispensary license in Minnesota

Regulators in Minnesota are still working out the process for licensing, but here’s what we know so far about applying for a dispensary license in Minnesota.

1. Applicants must submit all required information on prescribed forms. Incomplete applications will receive a deficiency notice, and failure to provide necessary information results in rejection.

2. Applicants must provide the following information:

  • Personal details like name, address, and date of birth

  • Detailed information about the management structure, ownership, and control, including the names and ownership percentages of various stakeholders, including information on any previous or current ownership interests in cannabis businesses, corporate documents, financial agreements, and financial obligations.

  • Proof of trade name registration and copies of partnership agreement, operating agreement, or shareholder agreement (if applicable)

  • Bankruptcy history

  • Address and legal property description of the business

  • General description of the location (or locations) that the applicant plans to operate, including the planned square feet

  • Security plan

  • Business plan showing the expected size of the business, anticipated growth, the methods of record keeping, the experience of the applicant and any business partners, the environmental plan, and other relevant financial and operational components.

  • List of operating and investment accounts for the business

  • Explanation detailing the funding sources used to finance the business

  • Employee training and education plans

  • Business policies for compliance

  • Labor peace agreement

  • Compliance certification

  • Designated agents for communication

  • Willingness to respond to supplemental requests

  • Proof of social equity eligibility (if applicable)

3. Completed applications are forwarded to local governments for zoning and building code compliance checks.

4. If you're applying for a cannabis business license, you, and key members of your business (like directors, managers, or partners), must undergo a criminal history check. This involves submitting a consent form, fingerprints, and any required fees to the office. The office will then forward these to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for both state and national criminal history checks.

    • Note: The office will decide if certain felony convictions disqualify you from holding a cannabis business license or working in the cannabis industry. However, certain violations, like those under section 152.025, won't automatically disqualify you. If you have a disqualifying record, the office might still grant you a license if you can prove that you don't pose a risk of harm.

    5. The office must issue a license or a notice of rejection with specific reasons within 90 days of receiving a completed application and any required criminal history checks.

      Minnesota social equity program for cannabis businesses

      The legislation prioritizes applications for business licenses from people who are considered social equity applicants, which includes:

      • People who were convicted of possessing or selling cannabis

      • Family members of someone convicted of possessing or selling cannabis

      • Service-disabled veterans, current or former members of the National Guard, or any military veteran or current or former member of the National Guard who lost honorable status due to an offense involving the possession or sale of cannabis

      • Residents for at least five years in a neighborhood that experienced a disproportionately large amount of cannabis enforcement

      • Emerging farmers

      • Residents of at least five years of census tracts with high poverty rates

      Apply today: Find out if you qualify for Flowhub’s Social Equity Program

      Design your Minnesota dispensary

      Dispensary design isn’t just about where your dispensary is, or what it looks like. It’s how your shoppers experience your brand.

      Dispensary store layout
      Pictured above: The bank model – a common dispensary layout

      Here’s a short list of your considerations in store design and layout:

      • How customers will move throughout the store

      • Whether they will pay at a terminal, handheld device, or kiosk

      • Whether there are different pathways for in-store vs. online orders

      • How your products will be displayed/showcased

      • Your brand elements and design

      • Use of entry or waiting room space

      • Security concerns of doorways

      • Where secure inventory is stored (both on the floor, if applicable, and in a vault)

      • Where staff will stand and work

      • Breakroom or safe staff area

      • Bathrooms

      Minnesota also has several specific requirements that may impact how your dispensary looks and functions:

      • Dispensaries must maintain adequate systems for odor control as required by the office.

      • Medical cannabis colocation: If your dispensary is also a licensed medical cannabis retailer, you need to provide a separate area for medical sales, including space for pharmacist consultations.

      • Standard operating hours prohibit you from conducting sales between 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. Be aware of any additional restrictions imposed by city or county ordinances.

      • You must adhere to all state regulations and local building, fire, and zoning codes.

      • You must maintain a clean, sanitary, and pest-free environment.

      • Display required notices, including product recalls, warnings against intoxicated driving, and age restriction advisories.

      • Dispensaries must have a specific, designated retail area for displaying samples available for sale.

      • A cannabis retailer may display one sample of each type of cannabis flower or cannabis product available for sale. Samples of cannabis flower and cannabis products must be stored in a sample jar or display case and be accompanied by a label or notice containing the information required to be affixed to the packaging or container containing cannabis flower and cannabis products sold to customers. A sample may not contain more than eight grams of adult-use cannabis flower or adult-use cannabis concentrate or an edible cannabis product infused with more than 100 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol. A cannabis retailer may allow customers to smell the cannabis flower or cannabis product before purchase.

      • All products not on display must be stored in a secure area.

      🤔🏬 Take the Store Layouts Quiz to find the perfect layout for your dispensary.

      Create a safe and secure Minnesota dispensary

      A cannabis business authorized to sell cannabis flower or cannabis products shall maintain compliance with security requirements established by the office, including but not limited to requirements for:

      • Maintaining video surveillance records

      • Using specific locking mechanisms

      • Establishing secure entries

      • The number of employees working at all times

      • Training employees on safety protocols

      Dispensaries must have:

      • Surveillance cameras with recording capabilities.

      • Access control systems to restricted areas, including logging names, times, and authorization for anyone entering.

      • Lighting—both inside and outside the location—in good working order and with sufficient wattage for security cameras.

      • Protocols for accepting deliveries in designated, secure areas, away from public access.

      A cannabis business must maintain and follow a security plan to deter and prevent the theft or diversion of cannabis products, unauthorized entry into the cannabis business, and the theft of currency.

      If security or monitoring systems are compromised, dispensaries must halt sales.

      🔐 Learn more about dispensary security

      Read the Dispensary Security Guide to find out where most dispensaries are at risk, then take action with best practices for both physical security and cybersecurity.

      Hire and retain qualified dispensary employees

      Now that you’re getting closer to opening day, it’s time to hire and train your dispensary employees. This team is vital to the success of your dispensary.

      First, create your dispensary org chart. Based on your business plan, location, store design, and vision, what role are you going to play in the day-to-day operations and what additional staff do you need? What is the hierarchy? What benefits will you offer? And do you have the funds to pay your staff appropriately?

      As a starting point, you’ll need someone to manage your store, budtenders or cannabis sales associates to serve customers and fulfill orders, someone to greet your shoppers (and secure the entryway), security, and someone to manage inventory and/or compliance. Based on the size and complexity of your business, you might need more or fewer people on your team.

      Be sure to understand Minnesota’s ordinances around hiring and staffing and follow all requirements, both specific to cannabis brands, and general hiring/staffing rules. These could include procuring cannabis employment IDs, processing fingerprints and background checks, age requirements, and mandating attendance of certification training, payroll taxes, at-will parameters, and more.

      Edible cannabinoid product handler endorsement

      Any person seeking to manufacture, process, sell, handle, or store an edible cannabis product or lower-potency hemp edible (not including edible cannabis products or lower-potency hemp edibles that have been placed in its final packaging), must first obtain an edible cannabinoid product handler endorsement.

      On-site employee consumption

      Employees generally can't consume on-site or during work, except medical cannabis patients.

      However, employees can sample products for quality control but must not interact with customers for three hours after sampling and are limited to three samples per day.

      Understand compliance

      At this point, you should understand Minnesota cannabis laws and how to stay compliant.

      Dispensaries cannot sell, deliver, or give away cannabis or cannabis products to anyone under the age of twenty-one, or any visibly intoxicated individual. Valid identification and proof of age is required.

      As a reminder, here are the purchase limits for Minnesota, as of August 1st, 2023:

      • Adults may purchase the following amounts per transaction: Up to 2 ounces of adult-use cannabis flower or equivalent hemp products, 8 grams of concentrate, and edibles with up to 800 mg of THC.

      • Adults over the age of 21 can possess up to 2 ounces or less in public.

      • Adults are allowed to have up to 2 pounds of cannabis in a private residence or up to 8 grams of concentrate or edibles with up to 800 milligrams of THC.

      • Adults may grow up to eight marijuana plants in their homes, though only four can be mature enough to be flowering at once.

      The Seed-to-Sale Tracking program chosen by the OCM is Metrc. Metrc offers a wealth of education and training for new and prospective dispensary owners. We recommend attending those trainings and taking advantage of the Minnesota-specific resources provided by Metrc.

      Cannabis stores in Minnesota are required to track all adult-use cannabis and cannabis products at every stage of their lifecycle. This includes all transportation to the store, up until the point of being sold to a customer, delivered to a testing facility, or disposed of/destroyed.

      It’s imperative that licensees not only use Metrc to its full ability, but integrate it with their POS and inventory management software to ensure compliance. Flowhub can meet all the state’s requirements for product intake and control. We’ll talk more about your software vendors in a moment.

      Non-compliance may be grounds for a penalty or the surrender, suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of licenses. Selling cannabis without a license can come with hefty civil penalties of up to 3 times the current market value of the sale in question.

      Note: Effective July 1, 2023, all sellers of taxable cannabis products must register with the Minnesota Department of Revenue to remit the new Cannabis Tax. Learn more.

      To learn more about Metrc, including how to report to Metrc, the difference between plant and package tags, making sense of Metrc receipts, managing inventory, and more, consult these resources:

      Source and intake cannabis products

      Now’s when things really start getting fun: ordering and receiving your product! Since vertical integration is prohibited in Minnesota (with exceptions), you’ll need to find cannabis growers, manufacturers, and/or distributors to supply your store.

      In Minnesota, you are allowed to sell:

      • Cannabis flower

      • Edibles - not exceeding 10 mg of THC per serving, with a total of 200 mg of THC per package

      • Concentrates

      • Beverages and seltzers - limited to 10 mg of THC per serving and 20 mg per container

      • Cannabis seeds

      • Cannabis paraphernalia, like childproof packaging containers and safe storage devices

      • Hemp-derived topical products that are applied to the skin

      • Non-cannabis items such as non-alcoholic drinks, educational materials about cannabis, publications, bags, logo-branded clothing, hemp fiber products, and fentanyl detection products

      As you look for suppliers in Minnesota, there are several things to keep in mind:

      • What products they carry (think about your product mix)

      • The taste and quality of the products

      • Prices (including the ability to negotiate bulk discounts)

      • Fulfillment (how they get products to you and when)

      • Testing processes and results

      • Reliability (will they run out suddenly, stop communicating, etc.)

      • Process for placing orders and overall organization

      You also need to ensure your suppliers are licensed facilities, as you cannot order supplies from unlicensed distributors, and are in good standing with the state. All products must comply with packaging and label requirements.

      There is an exclusive contracts prohibition in Minnesota, meaning you can’t create exclusive agreements with retailers that limit their ability to buy from other cultivators or manufacturers. Both parties in such an agreement are responsible for any violation.

      Note: Testing is required for cannabis products in Minnesota.

      Intake and store inventory

      Now that your inventory is starting to arrive at your store for opening day, you must “intake” those products the right way.

      Once your cannabis products arrive, you must “intake” them into your store in a specific way to remain compliant with Metrc. Before you can bring physical inventory into your store, you must receive and review a manifest. The manifest is created by the supplier — which will either be you or other cannabis companies.

      The manifest includes the harvest, weight, unit of measure, cost, etc. of the product.

      You must review the manifest, and if everything is correct, accept it. When the package comes in, you'll physically inspect the package, and make sure it’s exactly as ordered.

      You then accept it in Metrc, which tells Metrc that you are in legal possession of this inventory.

      Now you can stock your shelves and sell the product. But you’ll also need to develop SOPs for intaking and auditing your inventory.

      Pro tip: Use this 📝 Inventory Intake SOP to document your processes!

      Packaging and label requirements

      Regulators haven’t yet specified packaging and labeling requirements for recreational cannabis, but here are the specifications for medical products:

      Product naming

      Medical cannabis brand names must comply with the following standards and are subject to approval by the commissioner:

      • Names are limited to those that clearly reflect the product's medical cannabis nature

      • Any name that is identical to, or confusingly similar to, the name of an existing non-cannabis product is prohibited

      • Any name that is identical to, or confusingly similar to, the name of an unlawful product or substance is prohibited

      • Any name that contains language that suggests using medical cannabis for recreational purposes or for a condition other than a qualifying medical condition is prohibited

      • Any name that is likely to be attractive to children is prohibited

      • A brand name for dried raw cannabis may include the use of strain names. Brand names that include strain names that are likely to appeal to children may only be published or advertised on the manufacturer's website and in its distribution facilities.


      The medical cannabis manufacturer must package all medical cannabis intended for distribution according to the following standards:

      • In addition to the requirements in Minnesota Statutes, section 152.29, subdivision 3, paragraph (c), clause (5), medical cannabis containers must be:
        • Plain, tamper-evident, opaque, and child-resistant

        • Designed to maximize the shelf life of contained medical cannabis

      • If a cannabis product, lower-potency hemp edible, or hemp-derived consumer product is packaged in a manner that includes more than a single serving, each serving must be indicated by scoring, wrapping, or other indicators designating the individual serving size

      • Edible cannabis products and lower-potency hemp edibles containing more than a single serving must be prepackaged or placed at the final point of sale in packaging or a container that is resealable

      Packaging may not:

      • Bear a reasonable resemblance to any commercially available product that does not contain cannabinoids, whether the manufacturer of the product holds a registered trademark or has registered the trade dress

      • Be designed to appeal to persons under 21 years of age

      • Depict images other than the cannabis manufacturer's business name or logo.

      • Contain or be coated with any perfluoroalkyl substances

      • Be packaged in a material that is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in packaging food


      All cannabis products must be labeled with at least the following information:

      • The name and license number of the cannabis microbusiness, cannabis mezzobusiness, cannabis cultivator, medical cannabis cultivator, or industrial hemp grower where the cannabis flower or hemp plant part was cultivated

      • The net weight or volume of cannabis flower or hemp plant parts in the package or container

      • The batch number

      • The type of cannabis product, lower-potency hemp edible, or hemp-derived consumer product

      • The serving size

      • The cannabinoid profile per serving and in total

      • A list of ingredients

      • A universal symbol established by the office indicating that the package or container contains cannabis flower, a cannabis product, a lower-potency hemp edible, or a hemp-derived consumer product

      • Verification that the cannabis flower or hemp plant part was tested according to section 342.61 and that the cannabis flower or hemp plant part complies with the applicable standards

      • The maximum dose, quantity, or consumption that may be considered medically safe within a 24-hour period

      • A warning symbol developed by the office in consultation with the commissioner of health and the Minnesota Poison Control System that:
        • is at least three-quarters of an inch tall and six-tenths of an inch wide

        • is in a highly visible color

        • includes a visual element that is commonly understood to mean a person should stop

        • indicates that the product is not for children

        • includes the phone number of the Minnesota Poison Control System

      • The following statement: "Keep this product out of reach of children."

      • Any other statements or information required by the office

      Labeling text must not include any false or misleading statements regarding health or physical benefits to the patient.

      A package may contain multiple labels if the information required by this part is not obstructed.

      A manufacturer must include a supplemental label that contains information about each pesticide, including the manufacturer's name and brand name of the pesticide, that was applied to the cannabis plant or growth medium before or after harvest.

      Choose your network, hardware, and cannabis tech stack

      Your technology stack is crucial to success as a cannabis business owner. Some are must-haves for compliance, like your security system and cannabis point-of-sale, while others are important to differentiate your store and create a great customer experience.

      Here are some of the technology solutions you may want for your dispensary:

      • Network

      • Hardware
        • Printers (both letter-sized and receipts)

        • TVs

        • Cash drawers

        • Computers (for staff work, like inventory)

        • Tablets or terminals

        • Barcode scanners

      • Software
        • POS

        • Ecommerce

        • Compliant payment provider for non-cash transactions

        • Digital menus

        • Kiosks

        • Loyalty programs

        • CRM

        • HR/Payroll tools

        • Accounting software

        • Analytics software

        • Social media management and monitoring

        • Website

        • Mobile app

      You don’t need to invest in every possible cannabis-specific technology solution. But be sure to invest in tools that will help you achieve your sales goals, stay compliant, and satisfy modern shoppers.

      📖 See the complete list of top cannabis companies for your dispensary tech stack.

      Remember: While non-cannabis-specific tools exist, they often can’t handle the complexities of the cannabis industry, such as compliance and inventory management. Be sure to thoroughly vet every potential partner to ensure that they can handle your actual needs.

      cannabis technology

      📖 Read the Guide to Cannabis Tech Software for a complete list of top cannabis companies for your dispensary tech stack.

      Market your dispensary

      Ok, your store is ready, the team is trained, and you have inventory. Now you need to get the word out that your dispensary is opening soon.

      Cannabis businesses notoriously have more challenges with marketing than traditional brands because of stigma, regulations, and the federal illegality of cannabis. But there are still many marketing tactics you can use to promote your new dispensary.

      1. Develop a beautiful, functional dispensary website. Enabling online ordering through your website is a great way to appeal to digital-friendly shoppers.

      2. Fine-tune your social media presence (though be careful with what you post!).

      3. Consider events to attract new customers to your store.

      If you're opening a dispensary in Minnesota and need to understand the advertising regulations. Generally, your ads must be truthful and include appropriate health warnings. Be cautious with the medium and placement of your ads, ensuring the audience is predominantly 21 and over. Direct marketing requires age verification, and special rules apply to healthcare practitioners in the medical cannabis program.

      Here's a detailed breakdown of the rules:

      • Do not publish advertising that contains false or misleading statements.

      • Do not make unverified health or therapeutic claims.

      • Don't promote overconsumption.

      • Don't depict or appeal to individuals under the age of 21 (e.g., using cartoons, toys, animals).

      • Include warnings about impairment and health risks as specified by the office.

      • Outdoor advertisements for cannabis and hemp businesses are generally not allowed. Though you can have up to two fixed outdoor signs on your business premises.

      • Outdoor ads for non-cannabis hemp businesses unrelated to the manufacture or sale of lower-potency hemp edibles are allowed.

      • Don't advertise in any medium where 30% or more of the audience is under 21 (e.g., certain magazines, or TV shows).

      • Avoid using unsolicited pop-up ads on the internet.

      • For direct, individualized communication (e.g., email marketing), verify the recipient is 21+.

      • Don't target ads to location-based devices like cell phones unless the device owner is confirmed to be 21+.

      • Avoid giveaways, use of drive-through windows, or vending machines for cannabis products.

      • All advertising must contain a warning as specified by the office regarding impairment and health risks.

      There are also special rules for healthcare practitioners in the Medical Cannabis Program:

      • Don't make false or misleading statements about the registry program.

      • Avoid colloquial terms for cannabis (like "pot" or "weed").

      • Don't imply endorsement by medical cannabis authorities.

      • Don't use images of cannabis flower, hemp plant parts, or smoking paraphernalia.

      • Avoid medical symbols that could be confused with established medical associations.

      • Include required warnings about impairment and health risks.

      Violating these rules can result in a healthcare practitioner being barred from certifying patients for medical cannabis.

      How to choose a cannabis retail POS system

      Your cannabis point-of-sale system is the single most important tool in your stack. It is the central driver for compliance, inventory management, and customer satisfaction.

      Every POS option is a little bit different—and not all work in every state—so be sure to do your homework before signing that dotted line.

      Here are 10 tips for choosing marijuana retail software.

      Flowhub cannabis point of sale for Maryland

      What to look for in a cannabis POS:

      1. State compliance tracking: State reporting (in Minnesota’s case, Metrc) is why software is so important. Look for an API integration that manages this all seamlessly to save you time and provide peace of mind.

      2. Hardware compatibility: As mentioned above, make sure the software and hardware you choose are compatible. Pick a cloud-based software that doesn’t restrict hardware options so that you don’t incur any additional hardware costs or have to change hardware if you change point-of-sale systems later.

      3. Customer support: Your ability to get up and running quickly is important, but getting your questions answered long-term is just as vital. As you look at different software, ask about the level of support you’ll receive.

      4. Ease of use: Software that fuels your medical marijuana or adult-use retail stores must be easy and intuitive and staff need to learn it quickly. Pay attention to how the system functions and whether you think it’ll make your staff more productive.

      5. Inventory management: You have requirements for managing inventory, as mentioned earlier. Make sure the POS you choose has all the capabilities you need (and then some).

      6. Built-in compliance: Software isn’t just important for compliance related to state reporting (like Biotrack), it also should help you stay compliant with state laws, such as purchase limits. Make sure the software you choose has built-in safeguards that address your market-specific needs.

      7. Discrepancy reporting: Your Metrc inventory, physical inventory, and point-of-sale inventory must always be aligned. If there is a discrepancy, you need to know about it and how to resolve it. Your software should include built-in tools to help you identify and resolve inventory discrepancies.

      8. Activity tracking: In an industry with more loss and theft than others, it’s important to see what employee made what actions, and when those actions occurred, like making a sale, opening a drawer, moving inventory, etc.

      9. Open API and integrations: Is the software compatible with other vendors? It’s important to consider integrations, especially if you’re interested in online menus, delivery, loyalty programs, or other technology offered by partners.

      10. Specialization: Consider the best software for each part of your business. If you have marijuana cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, and cannabis retail operations, it’ll be tempting to pick one software for it all. Better visibility is tempting—you can’t deny that—but all software is best at one thing. If you choose one for all, it means you’ll be putting the other two parts of your business at a disadvantage. Instead, look for vendors who integrate seamlessly.

        Need help opening your dispensary?

        Opening a dispensary in Minnesota is quite an accomplishment. The market is ripe with opportunity!

        If you have any remaining questions about opening a dispensary in Minnesota, our team of cannabis retail experts would be happy to support your journey.

        Book a meeting with Flowhub to chat!

        Amber erickson

        Amber Erickson

        Amber's goal is to create helpful and engaging content to empower cannabis professionals to run a successful and compliant dispensary. Connect with Amber on LinkedIn.

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