May 122014
 May 12, 2014

Massachusetts medical marijuana senate bill sb 1031File this in the “it could be worse” file. While the rules and regulations of medical marijuana facilities in Oregon are far from perfect, at least it doesn’t cost millions of dollars to get established. Medical marijuana dispensaries are not even allowed in all medical marijuana states. For those states that do allow medical marijuana dispensaries, the start up costs vary. Licensing fees are different in every state, as well as other expenses.

There is a trend in the medical marijuana industry – the newer the program, the more expensive the start up costs. When dispensaries popped up on the West Coast during the 2000-s, there were next to no regulations, and no licensing fees. Compare that to states like New Jersey and Massachusetts, which have heavy regulations and a limited number of dispensaries allowed.

Many people think that opening a medical marijuana dispensary is cheap and easy. However, that’s not the case, no matter which state you are operating in. There are a lot of expenses involved with a medical marijuana dispensary, such as staff related costs, building costs, equipment, heating bills, electricity bills, marketing, etc. And that doesn’t even include the medicine itself. It’s not as easy as renting a cheap space and putting a jar full of meds on the shelf.

In the case of one medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts, start up costs are in the millions. The New England Treatment Access is one of 20 medical marijuana dispensaries that received a license by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health earlier this year. Per MassLive.Com:

 NETA is receiving a $9 million loan from Howard Kessler of Boston. Of that, $3.8 million will go to capital costs at NETA’s three locations, with $500,000 allocated at the Northampton site. The remaining $5.2 million will go to operating costs until NETA breaks even.

In its first year of operation, NETA hopes to net more than $700,000, assuming 1.6 ounces per patient per month and a price of $4,800 per pound. Projected revenue is $9.8 million for 2015, reaching $19 million by 2017, NETA states in its DPH filings. The dispensary hopes to reach a peak patient level of 3,200 in 2016.

This of course is the high end of medical marijuana businesses. One of the people on the payroll of New England Treatment Access is retired Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, who serves as New England Treatment Access’s Director of Government and Community Relations. Before starting a medical marijuana business, research the start up costs extensively, otherwise you run the risk of getting over extended financially. Make sure to calculate for unforeseen circumstances, which in the marijuana industry, are almost virtually guaranteed to happen.

Source: Oregon Cannabis Industry Association

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About Anthony Johnson

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri.As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties.You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.
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  One Response to “Opening A Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Massachusetts Is Not Cheap”

  1.  

    This is discouraging. The more millionaires that dump money into the MMJ programs across the country, the more $ we will have fighting against full legalization. I’m feeling very pessimistic today.

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