Looking for information about how to serve medical marijuana patients in New Jersey? Or perhaps you want to get a medical marijuana card in Jersey.
Medical marijuana patients need to obtain medical marijuana. But it’s equally important that businesses handling legalized medical marijuana in the Garden State understand everything that’s involved.
The state medical marijuana program has nuances that must be followed. And if you plan to consume or distribute medicinal marijuana in New Jersey, you’ll find all of the information you need here and now.
Medical marijuana patients and business owners in New Jersey need to know what to expect in this budding space. In this post, we cover the ins and outs of the New Jersey medical marijuana card, how to get it, and how to serve a New Jersey resident through the state’s medical marijuana program.
Looking to scale your medicinal marijuana business in New Jersey’s cannabis sector? Northstar is here to help.
Contact us now for expert assistance navigating New Jersey’s medicinal cannabis industry with financial services.
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Laws
Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act
It wasn’t always possible to obtain a medical marijuana card in New Jersey. The Jersey medical marijuana program came along after the Legislature passed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), or S 88, in January of 2010.
New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program
Governor Jon Corzine signed CUMMA into law on January 18, 2010. However, this law was stalled after Governor Chris Christie took office the following day. It wasn’t until August 9, 2012, when New Jersey’s medical marijuana patient registry opened that registered physicians were allowed to initiate patient certifications with the state’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP).
S 2842 in 2013
Eventually, more legislation was passed to expand the New Jersey medical marijuana offerings. Through S 2842, New Jersey medical marijuana included edible forms of medical marijuana that can be consumed by patients less than 18 years of age. Governor Christie signed this into law on September 10, 2013.
Governor Phil Murphy signed Jake’s Law on June 2, 2019. This law, also known as A 20, was named after Jake Honig, a patient who was using medical cannabis during his battle with cancer. Through this bill, New Jersey medical cannabis laws changed. It added provisions to increase the amount of cannabis allowed, permit home delivery, and expand the accessibility with additional cultivators, retailers, and manufacturers.
The Marijuana Legalization Amendment
Then, on November 3, 2020, New Jersey voters approved the Marijuana Legalization Amendment. This is also known as New Jersey Public Question 1. Through this amendment, the state legalized possession and use of marijuana for adult residents at least 21 years of age.
This same constitutional amendment made the New Jersey state sales tax rate (6.625%) apply to recreational cannabis purchases while allowing local municipalities to impose an additional tax of up to 2%.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, & Modernization Act
Months later, on February 22, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act. Through this new law, possession of up to 6 ounces of cannabis became legal, as did 17 grams of hashish. It also set the marketplace framework up for cannabis business operators.
A1897 in 2021
Governor Murphy also signed A1897, which lessens the penalties for possession for as much as 6 ounces of cannabis flower and 17 grams of hashish. The governor also signed A5342, which made it so minors would receive written warnings instead of criminal penalties or fines for possession of cannabis products.
Where can medical marijuana patients in New Jersey access medical cannabis?
Medical marijuana can be accessed through New Jersey’s Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs). The patient must visit a medical marijuana doctor to get a physician’s recommendation before making their purchase.
What taxes do card holders in New Jersey pay?
Each medical marijuana patient must have a state medical marijuana card. They also have to pay 4% in sales taxes, although that’s expected to be gone by July 2022.
Medical marijuana cardholders in New Jersey can be either patients or caregivers. They can buy up to 3 ounces each month. For terminally ill patients and those on hospice, there’s no monthly limit for the amount of medical marijuana they can buy.
What do medical marijuana patients in New Jersey have access to?
After visiting a licensed medical marijuana doctor in New Jersey, the patient is on the Jersey medical marijuana registry. Then, the medical marijuana patient will have access to the following forms of medical marijuana:
Infused Oral Lozenges
Medical Marijuana Topicals
Where can New Jersey medical marijuana patients consume medical marijuana safely?
New Jersey medical marijuana cardholders can consume medical marijuana at their private residences. However, some dispensaries might offer cannabis consumption areas for patients.
The Smoke-Free Air Act
At this point, patients can smoke medicinal marijuana while adhering to the Smoke-Free Air Act, which allows public consumption in much the same way as tobacco.
Regardless, the fact that medical marijuana establishments are allowed to offer consumption areas is massive for the industry. Medicinal marijuana consumption zones give these operations the chance to appeal to new patients by showing them how to use medical marijuana on-site.
Can New Jersey patients possess medical marijuana?
Yes, a medical patient can possess up to 3 ounces of New Jersey medical marijuana during a 30-day period. If the medical marijuana cardholder is terminally ill or in hospice care, they don’t have a limit.
Keep in mind, if you’re a medical patient or caregiver in New Jersey, you cannot cultivate cannabis plants.
How to Get a Medical Marijuanas Card NJ
How do I get a Jersey medical marijuana card?
First, you’ll need to speak with a doctor registered with New Jersey’s medicinal marijuana program. Jersey patients can only get a medicinal cannabis recommendation from physicians who are registered with the state program.
Once you meet with your physician, you’ll need to ascertain if medicinal marijuana is right for your condition. Terminal illness is usually a quick ‘yes’ for medicinal marijuana. But other conditions will be covered below.
Your medical marijuana evaluation will involve looking over your medical records. But the analysis goes further than your medical history; you’ll need to show that you need medical marijuana products to treat one or more medical conditions.
Here’s a list of the qualifying medical conditions a patient can have to get a medical marijuana card in New Jersey:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
Nausea and vomiting
Opioid use disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
Terminal cancer or illness, if the physician determines the patient has less than 12 months to live
Regardless, you’ll need to become a qualified New Jersey medical marijuana patient. This involves visiting a licensed medical marijuana doctor in the state. You’ll need to register and get a valid state-issued identification card from the Department of Health (NJDOH) Medicinal Marijuana Program, as well.
Next, go to NJ Health’s ‘How to Register’ page. Here’s what you’ll need:
Your NJ Health medical marijuana reference number (your doctor will provide this)
Passport-style photo from within the last 60 days
Government-issued photo ID
Proof of New Jersey residency (discussed more in-depth below)
Registration fee of $100. However, some patients may pay a reduced fee of $20
You’ll need to submit the application on the NJ Health website. Patients cannot register in person.
Once NJ Health gets your application, it usually takes weeks to process. Once processed, it may take longer to receive your card by mail.
State-issued medical marijuana registry cards are valid for two years from their issue date. However, patients have to check in with their certifying physician a minimum of one time every 12 months.
Whether you need a medical card to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, chronic pain, a terminal illness, or something else, your medical history can tell your marijuana doctor all about your medical conditions. If there’s nothing on your medical records that shows your need for a medical card, you’ll likely need to get some additional tests.
You’ll also need to prove New Jersey residency. This is easy to do, and it can be done by presenting your driver’s license, motor vehicle registration, or voter registration along with three other forms of proof like income tax returns or proof of 12 months’ employment.
What happens after I get a New Jersey medical card?
Once you visit your New Jersey medical marijuana doctor, you’ll be allowed to legally buy and consume marijuana products as part of your treatment. Your medical cannabis card will tell Alternative Treatment Centers that they’re allowed to sell to you.
But on the other end of the spectrum, what’s involved in operating one of these ATC’s?
Operating a Medical Cannabis Business in New Jersey
The New Jersey Department of Health is responsible for regulating the state’s ATC’s. If you haven’t already received permission from the Jersey Department of Health, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to open an ATC.
Here’s a list of the ATC’s that currently operate under the regulations of the New Jersey Department of Health:
If you do decide to try opening an ATC in New Jersey, you’ll need to go through the Department of Health, which operates in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office. This entity has developed two screening tools it uses to efficiently and effectively oversee ATCs applying to the Department for permits to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New Jersey.
Through the Compassionate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act, the Department has the authority to verify the information in all applications to get an ATC permit. It also has the right to ensure effective documentation of each ATC’s operations before issuing the permit. Furthermore, the Department is responsible for overseeing, monitoring, and investigating the activities related to all ATCs interested in operating in New Jersey.
The Department uses the Permitting Request Form and the Personal History Disclosure Form 1 and 2 to review all changes from the original application. It also uses this to collect and consider all relevant information from the ATCs and related entities. This offers guidance as it conducts background checks for all owners, officers, directors, and employees of the ATCs.
Contact the Medicinal Marijuana Program through the New Jersey Health Department to obtain these forms.
Best Practices for Serving Medical Marijuana Card Holders
While it’s difficult to start an ATC, recreational marijuana is now legal in New Jersey. If you haven’t already been approved to operate an ATC, you might be considering operating in the state’s recreational space.
Regardless of whether you distribute medicinal or recreational cannabis, you’re likely to serve medical marijuana cardholders. Military veterans, those who have social security disability benefits, and other people with a debilitating medical condition will still shop at adult-use operations.
Here’s a list of tips to keep in mind as you serve medical marijuana card holders in New Jersey:
Welcome New Jersey Patients
It should go without saying that as a cannabis business operator, you should welcome New Jersey patients with open arms. Besides encouraging patients to shop your assortment of products, you should also have plenty of information about each of your products and how patients can use them to treat their ailments.
Patients who use medical marijuana to treat their conditions need access to services. They will look for information about how cannabis affects the body. Some patients will also want to know how it interacts with other medications they are already taking. You should be ready to answer all of these questions and help patients find the right cannabis products for them.
Understand Debilitating Medical Conditions
Many medical conditions qualify patients for medical marijuana in New Jersey. Here’s a list of the medical conditions you should familiarize yourself with if you plan to serve patients in New Jersey.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a condition where your nerve cells gradually die, limiting your ability to control muscle movement.
Medical cannabis can help with ALS by easing stiffness, spasticity, pain, and cramping.
Anxiety is the feeling of unease, worry, or fear. It’s generally triggered by a specific stimulus such as an event or substance.
Medical marijuana helps with anxiety by stimulating the body’s own endocannabinoid system. In particular, THC found within cannabis provides a calming effect that helps reduce anxiety and stress.
Cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome, is a condition where you lose weight and muscle mass. It’s often caused by heart disease, HIV, cancer, or other diseases.
Medical marijuana can help with cachexia by stimulating appetite, reducing nausea and vomiting, relieving pain, and improving mood.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in your body. These cells form tumors that can invade the tissue around them and spread to other parts of your body.
Medical cannabis can help with cancer by inhibiting angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels, in tumors. It can also reduce nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy treatments.
Chronic pain can include neuralgia, arthritis, migraines, and sickle cell disease. It’s a lasting pain that continues after the body’s initial injury has healed.
Medical marijuana can help with chronic pain by reducing inflammation, muscle spasms, and stiffness. It can also increase appetite and reduce weight loss associated with chronic pain.
Dysmenorrhea is pain and cramping associated with menstruation.
Medical marijuana can help with dysmenorrhea by reducing the muscle tension, inflammation, and nausea that contribute to pain and cramping.
Glaucoma is a condition where your optic nerve becomes damaged. This damages your sight and can eventually lead to blindness.
Medical cannabis can help with glaucoma by reducing the ocular pressure associated with the condition. This way, it reduces one’s risk of optic nerve damage and eventual blindness.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, attacks the patient’s immune system and weakens it over time. AIDS is a later stage version of this condition where this attack depletes your white blood cells to dangerous levels.
Medical marijuana can help with HIV/AIDS by reducing pain, increasing appetite, reducing nausea and vomiting associated with treatment, and improving mood.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a condition where your intestines become chronically inflamed. This can happen to your small intestine or large intestine.
Medical cannabis can help with inflammatory bowel disease by reducing inflammation and cramping associated with the condition. It can also stimulate appetite and reduce nausea and vomiting from treatment.
Intractable Skeletal Muscular Spasticity
Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity is a condition where the patient has persistent muscle spasms that are resistant to treatment.
Medical cannabis can help with intractable skeletal muscular spasticity by reducing the number of spasms, improving sleep quality, and increasing patient’s feelings of relaxation.
Migraines are severe, recurring headaches associated with nausea, photophobia (sensitivity to light), and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound).
Medical cannabis can help with migraines by reducing the number of headaches a patient gets. It’s also known to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with migraine treatment.
Multiple sclerosis is a condition where the patient’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells. This can eventually lead to muscle weakness and tremors in the patient.
Medical cannabis can help with multiple sclerosis by reducing inflammation, pain, spasms, and drooling associated with the condition. It may also provide relief from depression associated with multiple sclerosis.
Muscular dystrophy is a condition where the patient’s muscles become weakened and eventually stop working properly.
Medical cannabis can help with muscular dystrophy by reducing muscle spasms and muscle twitches associated with the disease. It may also improve appetite and reduce weight loss in patients with muscular dystrophy.
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea is a feeling of unease and discomfort in the stomach that can lead to vomiting. It’s an undesirable side effect of some medications, as well as some diseases.
Medical cannabis can help with nausea and vomiting by improving appetite, reducing gastric pain associated with the conditions, relieving anxiety associated with being sick, and reducing stress caused by pain.
Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder is when a patient overuses opioid drugs. These drugs have an addictive tendency, which can have a negative impact on the patient’s life and those around them.
Medical cannabis can help with opioid use disorder by reducing withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and the desire to continue using opioids. It’s also known to reduce the pain that opioids are used to treat.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a chronic condition where the patient’s memories of traumatic events can come back to haunt them. It often results in hallucinations, flashbacks, trouble sleeping, and severe anxiety.
Medical marijuana can help with PTSD by reducing stress associated with the disorder, lowering anxiety, and improving sleep quality for patients struggling with PTSD.
Seizure Disorder, Including Epilepsy
Seizure disorder, including epilepsy, is a condition where the patient suffers from recurrent seizures. These seizures can impact physical and mental health in a variety of ways.
Medical marijuana can help with seizure disorder by reducing the severity and duration of seizures for patients struggling with this chronic illness. It’s also known to reduce anxiety associated with living with a chronic illness.
Terminal Cancer or Illnesses
Terminal illnesses are diseases where the patient isn’t expected to live for more than 2 years. Glaucoma, one of the qualifying conditions to obtain medical marijuana in New Jersey, is an example of a terminal illness that is often treated with medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana can help with terminal cancer or illnesses by improving appetite and relieving pain associated with diseases like cancer.
Tourette’s syndrome and tics are neurological symptoms where the patient makes involuntary sounds or movements. The severity varies from patient to patient.
Medical marijuana can help with Tourette syndrome by reducing tics, relieving stress associated with the condition, and improving sleep quality for patients struggling with this chronic illness.
Offer Flower Cannabis & More to Help New Jersey Patients
It’s common knowledge that smoking flower cannabis is not recommended for patients with certain conditions. Many people who don’t know this also think that medical marijuana is only available in flower form, which isn’t the case.
Patients can find cannabis-infused products like oils, vapes, and edibles at dispensaries around New Jersey. These products are often used to treat qualifying conditions that require different forms of cannabis.
New Jersey has made it very clear that patients should have access to medical marijuana in several forms. Here’s what you should familiarize yourself with to give New Jersey patients the best products for treatment:
Cannabis flower might seem basic, but it’s anything but. In New Jersey, many strains are available, and it’s up to you to know which ones will work best for which treatment.
Sativa-dominant strains are great for those who need to increase their appetite because it stimulates the brain and tricks the body into thinking that it’s hungry. Indica-dominant strains are perfect for those who struggle with insomnia.
Extracts such as oil, wax, rosin, shatter, and others come from cannabis flower and represent a potent form of medical marijuana. These extracts are often consumed on their own or used as a substitute for flower.
Cannabis vape cartridges contain oil that’s extracted from cannabis and mixed with a carrier liquid to be inhaled into a vaporizer pen. After the patient inhales, they can instantly feel the effects of medical marijuana without having to smoke flower or wait for edibles to kick in.
Infused Oral Lozenges
Infused oral lozenges are an edible form of medical marijuana. These lozenges come in different flavors and can be used to treat a number of qualifying conditions. The lozenges are much like cough drops and dissolve slowly in the patient’s mouth.
Medical Marijuana Topicals
Medical marijuana topicals are used to alleviate pain in a specific area of the body. They come in forms like lotions, transdermal patches, and even bath soaks.
These topicals are effective ways for patients with chronic pain conditions to get needed relief without having to resort to opioids or other pharmaceuticals that could be addicting or dangerous to mix with other medications.
Offer Deals & Discounts to Patients
Offering deals and discounts to patients is an excellent way to show them that you care. It can also help encourage them to try new products and make purchases they might not have considered before.
If you offer deals and discounts, be sure that all patients qualify for the same promotion. It’s wrong to advertise that one patient has access to a deal while others don’t, and patients will appreciate the extra assistance.
Patients really like it when dispensaries offer special promotions and sales on medical marijuana products, so make sure you mention this in your marketing and advertising.
Offer Discounts for Veterans
Military and law enforcement veterans in New Jersey are also medical marijuana patients. The state’s MMJ program allows patients to register as a veteran and receive a reduced price on their purchases.
Make sure that your dispensary offers the same discounts to all veterans, whether they’re patients or not. You can even offer extra specials for military vets stationed in New Jersey’s various veterans homes.
Servicing Medical Marijuanas Card Holders in New Jersey
Looking to scale your operation in New Jersey? Northstar is here to help!
The right financial services will enhance your operations and prepare you for growth. Contact us now to expand your Garden State cannabis business in this budding space now.
Love this article? Here are a few other NJ medical marijuana posts you might also enjoy!
The cost to start a grow operation can be quite high. But it ultimately depends on what you’re willing to invest.
Minimally speaking, the cost to start a grow operation that will turn a massive profit will usually range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, if you’re looking to build out a grow room on a shoestring budget, it’ll ultimately come down to how many square feet you’ll have in your grow operation.
You’ll need to think about all of the variables involved to accurately determine your cannabis grow operation startup costs. In this post, we’ll cover all of the considerations to give you a good idea of the average startup costs associated with indoor grow rooms and outdoor grows.
Interesting in scaling your grow operation? Northstar is ready to help!
Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how our financial services will grow your operations in this budding space.
Growing in the Legal Cannabis Industry
So, how much does it cost to grow cannabis in the legal space? Well, if you want to grow marijuana legally, you’ll need all the equipment, real estate, and cultivation license.
First, let’s cover the licensing fees for a legal cannabis grow.
Application & Licensing Fees for Cannabis Cultivation
A legal cannabis grow operation needs to worry about the application and licensing fees first and foremost. These costs vary from state to state.
For instance, if you were to get a cultivation license in California for a 22,000 square foot canopy grow operation, you’d have to pay $4,945 for the application fee. You’d also need to pay the annual fee of $44,517.
Other states have their own specifications. But it’s important to remember that while you might save money growing cannabis illegally, it’s best to legitimize your operation.
Average Startup Cost Considerations in Cannabis
Think about how much cannabis you plan to grow. Then, consider whether you’ll use a grow room or focus on large-scale cultivation outdoors.
These operating costs will vastly differ from one another.
Here’s a list of average startup cost considerations for startup businesses growing cannabis.
The big question: how many square foot is your operation?
If you’re a master grower, you probably already know the cost per square foot for growing indoors is significantly more expensive than the average cost to grow weed outdoors. But for the new growers, this is still an important consideration.
If you plan to grow a few plants in your closet, this doesn’t apply to you. However, if you plan to use an industrial space, the price per square foot will rise.
The number of square feet in your operation really becomes costly if you’re planning to rent the space. For example, it could cost nearly $20 per square foot just to rent the space.
This is because landlords tend to charge more than four times as much for anyone looking to participate in the green rush. Regardless of whether you focus on outdoor grows or plan to get into a larger facility for an indoor grow, the ideal environment isn’t going to come cheap.
If you’re not using solar power or growing outdoors, you’re probably wondering what grow lights cost. Growing indoors means you’ll have less reliance on outdoor variables. However, you’ll need more equipment to enhance the environment.
So, how much does it cost to set up LED lights for a larger scale indoor grow?
LED lights are the most expensive option at first. However, they save money for your commercial grow. And this means you’ll get to keep more revenue or allocate it towards other business expenses.
The average cost, minimally speaking, it around $1,800. But this is just part of the cost to start a small operation with minimal plants.
Then, you’ll need to factor in the cost of electricity. But there’s more to it than that.
Grow room air circulation is essential for humidity control. But how much does it cost to get more fans running and humidity control systems in place?
More fans and more ventilation are needed if you have more plants in your grow room. This is how you maintain an ideal growing environment for your cannabis grow.
For a commercial grow, you’ll likely need to spend at least $100 on each fan. And if your commercial grow is massive, you’ll need quite a few fans and a ventilation system.
All of this costs money, of course. And for a decent size commercial grow, you should expect to spend at least $1,000 on the basic equipment you’ll need to produce air circulation that nurtures each plant.
Your grow room will need electricity. But what should you expect to spend on it?
That’s like asking how much does it cost for your electric bill each money without knowing the size of your house and how often you run your air conditioner. This will vary from grow room to grow room.
So, how much money should you expect to pay monthly for your power bill? It depends on what you’re running and the equipment efficiency.
If you have a grow room large enough to generate significant profits, your power bill will probably be $1,500 or more.
Water is essential for cannabis cultivation business success. Some growers even choose to use it as their growing medium as an alternative to soil.
But this is something for master growers.
If you’re just starting your marijuana cultivation business, you’re probably only using water to nurture your plants and flush the soil before harvest.
Most of the time, you’ll spend the same amount on the water as you do on electricity. With this in mind, you’ll likely spend at least $1,000 per month on your water bill if you have a sizable business.
Think about the growing medium you plan to use. If you want to cultivate premium marijuana plants, you can’t go wrong with organic soil. Organic living soil, to be exact.
Organic living soil has all of the nutrients your marijuana plants want and need. And this is something you can’t usually get from hydroponics systems.
However, organic soil isn’t perfect for every type of commercial grow operation. If you plan to use a hydroponics system or some other growing medium like coco coir, you’ll pay less for your initial setup and ongoing costs.
The medium you choose will affect your initial and ongoing costs. So, these can vary depending on your situation.
Consider Rockwool, hydroponics, organic growing soil, and other options. They all range in price, but you can expect to spend between $15 and $30 per plant on the medium.
Keeping marijuana plants healthy involves giving them the right nutrition. This is true, regardless of the medium you use for your grow.
The most common type of commercial cannabis fertilizer is a premixed blend that contains various nutrients, vitamins, and other chemicals your plants need to stay strong and resist disease.
Fertilizer costs will vary depending on the brand you choose and how often you plan to fertilize your grow. But, depending on how many plants you’re cultivating, you should expect to spend around $1,000 or more per harvest.
Feminized seeds take the guesswork out of growing marijuana. Rather than risking growing male cannabis plants, you’ll know you have female plants growing.
This is essential to avoid wasting resources on growing male cannabis plants.
Most of the time, you can expect to spend between $30 and $60 on each pack. But ultimately, the cost for feminized seeds is related to the strains you plan on growing.
Indoor Grow Room Costs
An indoor commercial grow produces throughout the year. However, this requires expensive equipment, so expect an indoor operation to cost more money.
Even with this being the case, an indoor marijuana grow has the potential to generate between one and twelve harvests annually. But the initial expenses could exceed what you’re willing to spend on your new cannabis grow operation.
Here’s what you can expect to spend on large scale indoor grows:
Warehouse rental – $50,000+
Build out, improvements – $50,000+
Growing equipment – $100,000+
Lighting system – $100,000+
Alarm & Security System – $25,000+
Licensing & legal fees – $55,000+
Direct costs (first months before profit) – $200,000+
Administrative expenses – $50,000+
Other expenses – $100,000+
Total = $730,000+
Concluding on Grow Operation Costs
Your grow operation will cost more than just seeds and nutrients. You’ll find yourself spending on electricity, water, and other supplies to get your grow started.
You can cut down some of your expenses, but ultimately, you’ll need to account for everything you spend on. This is something that can be handled with financial services.
Looking to scale your grow? Northstar is ready to help.
Contact us now for insight into how our financial services will expand your grow in this budding space.
If you liked this post, here are a few others you might enjoy, too!
Operating a cannabis dispensary? Thinking about dipping your toes in the cannabis industry as a dispensary owner?
In this post, we cover everything you should know about operating a successful cannabis dispensary from a financial perspective.
Looking for expert assistance managing your legal cannabis business’s financials? Northstar is ready to increase your dispensary’s profitability!
Contact us now to learn more about how we’ll enhance your weed profits with the right financial services.
What is the Average Dispensary Profit Margin?
Whether you’re operating in medical or recreational marijuana, your average profit margin is important. Besides the cost of opening a dispensary, other expenses exist – and these will impact your profit margin.
Medical and recreational marijuana cannabis dispensaries usually operate with an average net profit margin between 15 and 21 percent after accounting for taxes. However, equally important to note is that this percentage varies in accordance with state or provincial regulations.
The cannabis dispensaries distributing medical marijuana and recreational cannabis usually have the best net profit margin. However, creative recreational dispensaries can dominate the dispensary space, too.
After your initial investment to open your doors, you’re ready to operate. But ongoing expenses can affect profitability.
Here’s a list of the expenses likely to affect your operating profit margin:
Cannabis Real Estate
Besides the initial licensing fees for cannabis businesses, dispensaries should expect to spend at least $100,000 annually in rent. But if you find real estate for cannabis that requires renovations, this could increase the initial cost to $50,000 or more.
However, if the cannabis dispensaries locations are purchased outright, dispensary owners mainly have to worry about property taxes impacting their net profit margin. For additional insight, make sure to check out our post on buying commercial cannabis property.
Cannabis Industry Banking Fees
Part of your estimated annual revenue will go towards banking fees. It costs money to have your own growing business, but the cost of banking is higher in this grey-area space.
Since cannabis is still technically federally illegal in the US, many banks still refuse to work with dispensaries. However, it’s still possible to work with credit unions and private marijuana banks in some regions. Even with this being the case, some of these organizations will charge holding fees as high as $2,000 per month.
Cannabis businesses need electronics to operate successfully. Each square foot of space could be holding thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars worth of inventory. So, you’ll need a security system and a fully compliant POS system to manage your inventory.
Advertising budgets in cannabis vary, of course. But, depending on your location, you may need to invest more than a quarter of your annual revenues in an advertising budget to compete.
Attorney on Retainer
While a dispensary makes money, these earnings don’t always come without risk. This is why it’s a good idea to have an attorney on retainer.
Dispensaries are especially vulnerable to lawsuits. Thus, having an attorney ready for a worst-case scenario situation is always ideal in this space. This could cost up to $50,000 annually.
Even a smaller dispensary serving the adult market will need a team to operate successfully. Depending on the size of your cannabis operation, your annual payroll could be $250,000 or more!
How Much Does a Dispensary Owner Make?
How much a dispensary owner makes depends on several variables. For example, medicinal weed sales might earn more in one cannabis market than it does in another. However, in some spaces, medical marijuana might not be as popular as adult use.
Furthermore, your cannabis business might grow its own marijuana indoors. This would minimize your inventory cost while allocating some of your operating income towards elevated utility costs.
The money dispensaries or cannabis retailers spend on inventory varies. Some might spend more to supply stores with special medical-grade strains while others need to focus on stocking other cannabis products like extracts or edibles.
Operating dispensaries isn’t an exact science. But you can learn a lot from your sales data and use this to increase your annual revenue and average profit margins.
But how much money should you expect as a dispensary operator? If your business generates over $5 million annually, you could expect to pay yourself an annual salary of $500,000+.
How Much Does a Dispensary Make in Sales?
Dispensary sales are much like coffee shops; annual sales depend on several factors.
Think about the market competition. Dispensaries focusing on patient access to marijuana can run a profitable company. But they miss the adult-use market.
However, entrepreneurs interested in operating a dispensary in the recreational marijuana space will need a strong marketing campaign to acquire customers. Medical dispensary businesses will also need marketing, but the operation can become profitable based solely on word of mouth if they’re in the right location.
If a location is saturated, running a profitable marijuana business becomes more difficult. Business opportunities become more profitable with less competition, and this holds true in cannabis, too.
Tips for Maximizing Dispensary Profit Margins
Find Your Break-Even Point
Use the break-even formula to determine your break-even point. This is the point at which marijuana dispensaries break even, meaning this is the minimum dispensaries must earn to continue operating.
Check each month’s revenue receipts to determine whether you’re within the threshold of breaking even. Marijuana dispensaries are notorious for having high inventory costs. But if you’re selling enough product to cover all costs and then some, your cannabis supply store could be running at a profit.
Research Your Competition
Marijuana prices have been dropping throughout the US. As more competition enters the space, more marijuana is available, and this drives the price down.
Look at your competition. They likely use professional packaging, sales, and digital marketing to increase their market share. See what you can do and how you can improve upon what your competition is doing.
Improve Your Product Offerings
Whether you operate a recreational cannabis supply store or a dispensary focused on medical marijuana, you’ll need to offer more than just cannabis.
You might even go the extra mile for your customers by offering their favorite infused snacks or drinks. You can win over customers by analyzing what the market demands.
For example, your average supermarket might notice that more customers are looking for organic items. To compete with the local Whole Foods Store, it might begin offering more organic options.
For a dispensary, you might notice that more people are looking for quality concentrates. If this is the case, sourcing these products from top producers could be a good idea. While you might need to charge a premium, you could maximize your profit margins by offering products no one else is offering.
The same goes for impressive flower strains, edibles, and other product offerings.
Doing promotions on a limited-time basis is a good way to increase dispensary sales. And if it’s something you can purchase in bulk at a great price, you could increase your profit margins tremendously with the right promotion.
For example, you can run a promotion offering a first-time discount on concentrates on first visits. You could even try implementing a loyalty program that offers customers high-quantity discounts for purchasing regularly from your dispensary.
You might also consider providing a daily deal. You could offer 50% off a single item or a free gram with a purchase of an ounce.
Streamline Your Operations
One of the simplest most direct ways to optimize a dispensary’s profitability is to make it more efficient. Identify your operation’s daily functions and look for ways to reduce costs. With the right system of checks and balances in place, you can ensure your business is operating as cost-effectively as possible.
Business owners should also make every effort to only carry the products they need. Being selective about inventory will help save on monthly carrying costs while minimizing costs related to these risks.
For example, if you’re already paying rent for space, using that space effectively can increase dispensary revenue and profits. What’s more, adding storage shelves or cabinets to that space can help you store more product, allowing you to purchase in bulk at a discounted rate.
Manage Your Inventory
Inventory control is one of the most critical aspects of operating a marijuana dispensary. Government regulatory requirements in the US demand dispensaries closely monitor their inventory. Without a POS system in place to manage inventory data in real-time, inventory audits and discrepancy reporting are nearly impossible, and this can result in costly compliance violations that put dispensaries out of business.
Also, if you lose track of what you have, you could find yourself with excess products and nowhere to store them. Or worse, if your records aren’t accurate, you could run out and jeopardize the health and well-being of your customers.
You can avoid these issues by ensuring that your inventory records are organized and up-to-date. This can also help you make better purchasing decisions moving forward.
Staying mindful of dispensary costs is essential for success in this competitive industry. Profitability depends on bringing money in. But if costs become too excessive, this can become a serious problem.
Regularly monitor your dispensary expenses and make adjustments as needed. Focus on the expenses that have the most significant impact on the business’s profitability, and outsource critical non-retail operations to experienced professionals.
Think about your marketing activities and how you can enhance them. Use your sales data insight to get the most out of your marketing budget, as well.
Dominating the Cannabis Industry with Northstar
The marijuana industry is growing exponentially every year, and attracting more people to the market means that there’s room for many dispensaries to do well in spite of competition from larger businesses.
Looking to increase your dispensary’s profitability? Northstar scales dispensary profit margins successfully with the right financial guidance.
Contact us now to learn more about how we’ll grow your dispensary in this budding space.
If you liked this post, here are a few others you might enjoy, too!
Now that Virginia marijuana legalization is just on the horizon before marijuana sales begin, it’s important to understand the rules in place. The Cannabis Control Authority of Virginia will regulate marijuana plants, marijuana sales, and other key aspects of this budding space’s regulatory framework.
In this post, we cover some of the most frequently asked questions about selling marijuana, possessing products made from the marijuana plant, commercial sales, and more. Keep reading to learn how the legal sale of this formerly prohibited plant will look once the new law takes effect.
Looking to break into the Virginia legal marijuana space in this southern state? Northstar is ready to help you get your share of the green rush!
Contact us now to learn how we’ll use processes and financial organization to scale your operation in time for the CCA to issue business licenses!
Virginia Marijuana Legalization
Now that Virginia is on the path to legalize marijuana, the state will go beyond allowing minimizing marijuana-related offenses. The licensing provisions will eventually allow for the legal sale of these products, and while it’s still currently illegal to possess marijuana in some places, the state will stop restricting marijuana businesses from operating once the regulatory framework is in place.
For now, here’s what Virginia’s law on cannabis will allow:
✓ Adults (21+) to possess marijuana (up to one ounce) in public;
✓ Adult-sharing of no more than an ounce in private without remuneration;
✓ The continuation of the state’s medical cannabis program that allows medical marijuana purchases at Virginia dispensaries; and
✓ Personal cultivation of up to four plants per household by adults 21+ at their primary residence.
What Remains Illegal?
While it’s big news that marijuana-related offenses will no longer be so commonplace, much remains illegal, including the following:
X Public consumption
X Buying or selling cannabis seeds or cannabis products
X Gifting schemes to give cannabis away
X Possession of cannabis on school grounds or a school bus
X Consumption in a motor vehicle while being driven (passenger or driver)
X Open cannabis containers in a vehicle
X Possession or consumption of marijuana by persons younger than 21
X Buying or selling cannabis outside of the state’s medical program
X Sharing or offering marijuana in public
Personal Cultivation Guidelines for Marijuana Plants
Now you know you can’t use marijuana on school grounds, on a school bus, or while driving. But what about growing it at your private residence? What does this entail?
Here’s some more insight into personal cultivation guidelines for those who want to grow at their private residence:
Each plant needs a tag with the owner’s name, driver’s license/state ID number, and for personal use;
Plants must be hidden from the public;
Prevent unauthorized access by any persons under 21;
Cultivation is allowed indoors or outdoors but rental housing or an apartment owned by someone else can prohibit grow operations; and
Cultivation is only allowed at the person’s primary residence.
Motor Vehicle Transporting Passengers/Commercial Vehicle Possessing Marijuana
Marijuana-related offenses can occur on the road, and in some cases, they can result in driver’s license forfeiture. Here’s a list of the complete regulations in effect with Virginia’s law:
It’s illegal to drive while impaired;
Drivers or passengers cannot consume marijuana or possess an open container of cannabis while a vehicle is in operation;
Cannabis transportation must be done in a completely sealed (preferably locked) container located in the trunk of a passenger vehicle, or in the area behind the last upright seat of a hatchback, station wagon, SUV, passenger van, or similar vehicle out of the driver’s reach.
Adults 21+ may share up to one ounce of cannabis in private, much like they could share a bottle of wine
Cannabis may not be offered to or shared with anyone in public
There may not be any exchange of goods or services (no gifting schemes)
Other Common Virginia Marijuana Questions
Where can I buy cannabis in Virginia?
Legal retail sales are only allowed by licensed dispensaries to registered medical marijuana patients. To receive your certification for the medical cannabis program, you’ll need to speak with a licensed medical practitioner.
Can I order cannabis from a legal state?
No. Importing or transporting cannabis across state lines is still illegal.
Can I buy seeds in Virginia?
No. At this point, until the 2022 General Assembly confirms it once more, retail sales are not allowed in Virginia.
Can I order seeds online?
No. Even if the site says you’re allowed to order seeds to grow your four plants per household, it’s still not legal to order seeds online.
Can my business give away or sell seeds or clones?
No, “Adult sharing” does not include giving away or selling seeds or clones. The list prohibiting this includes the following (i) marijuana is given away contemporaneously with another reciprocal transaction between the same parties; (ii) a gift of marijuana is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services, or (iii) a gift of marijuana is contingent upon a separate reciprocal transaction for goods or services.
Is it legal to give away seeds, plants, or cannabis in public?
No, it’s illegal to offer cannabis in public. Here’s the exact rule:
4.1-1108. Consuming marijuana or marijuana products, or offering to another, in a public place; penalty.
No person shall consume marijuana or a marijuana product or offer marijuana or a marijuana product to another, whether accepted or not, at or in any public place.
Any person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $25 for a first offense. A person who is convicted under this section of a second offense is subject to a $25 civil penalty and shall be ordered to enter a substance abuse treatment or education program or both, if available, that in the opinion of the court best suits the needs of the accused. A person convicted under this section of a third or subsequent offense is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
Can I open a consumption venue for cannabis?
No. “Public place” includes any place, building, or conveyance that the public has, or is permitted to have, access. This also includes restaurants, hotel dining areas, hotel lobbies, and corridors. But the definition also includes any park, place of public resort or amusement, highway, street, lane, or sidewalk adjoining any highway, street, or lane.
My plants will produce more than one ounce. Is that legal?
The law explains that “a person 21 years of age or older may lawfully possess on his person or in any public place not more than an ounce of marijuana.” However, the state lacks a law specific to what an adult 21+ may possess in private. Keep in mind, you cannot have more than an ounce on your person for personal use at any time. And if you get caught with intent to distribute, you may need legal counsel.
How much marijuana concentrate/edible can I possess?
Until the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority implements its regulations during the legalization process, there isn’t an equivalent possession limit specification. Virginia officials have defined the limit for legal possession on their person or in public by adults 21+ as one ounce of marijuana until regulations regarding other cannabis products can be enacted.
What about paraphernalia?
There’s a new definition for “marijuana paraphernalia” that went into effect on July 1, 2021. It removes the term “marijuana” from § 18.2-265.1 but still requires reenactment by the 2022 General Assembly for it to become law. However, the intent of this legislation was not to legalize cannabis consumption, possession, and cultivation of cannabis by adults 21 years of age and older while keeping these devices illegal
4.1-600. Definitions. (Effective July 1, 2021)
“Marijuana paraphernalia” means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind that are either designed for use or are intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, strength testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body marijuana.
Can I be fired for testing positive?
Yes. Limited employment protections are only extended to registered medical cannabis patients.
40.1-27.4. Discipline for employee’s medicinal use of cannabis oil prohibited.
As used in this section, “cannabis oil” means the same as that term is defined in § 54.1-3408.3.
No employer shall discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee for such employee’s lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner for the treatment or to eliminate the symptoms of the employee’s diagnosed condition or disease pursuant to § 54.1-3408.3.
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, nothing in this section shall (i) restrict an employer’s ability to take any adverse employment action for any work impairment caused by the use of cannabis oil or to prohibit possession during work hours, (ii) require an employer to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law or that would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding, or (iii) require any defense industrial base sector employer or prospective employer, as defined by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, to hire or retain any applicant or employee who tests positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in excess of 50 ng/ml for a urine test or 10 pg/mg for a hair test.
Will I lose my guns?
Losing your guns as a result of cannabis legalization doesn’t seem likely. You’ll need to answer background check questions about marijuana use, but it’s doubtful that you’ll need to worry about losing your guns as a cannabis consumer or business operator.
Concluding on Virginia Marijuana Legalization
As a consumer, you’ll experience more freedom with the plant than ever before. You can hold up to an ounce of marijuana on your person, grow it at home, and consume it. It won’t be long until you’ll be able to start making your purchases at a local dispensary.
For business operators looking to get involved in Virginia’s cannabis space, the opportunities are just on the horizon. Once the 2022 General Assembly reconfirms legalization and implements the state’s regulations, we can expect the social equity program to take precedence as cannabis business licenses are awarded.
Social equity is essential for Virginia as intent to distribute and simple possession violations have historically impacted certain communities more than others. With this in mind, those originally sentenced to prison for simple possession or other cannabis-related offenses experienced the worst this industry has to offer.
Looking to become involved in Virginia’s cannabis space? Northstar is here to guide your success!
Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how your budding operation will scale with the right financial services and processes in place.
Interested in state cannabis laws? Make sure to check out our other Virginia posts, too!
Virginia cannabis laws weren’t as in-depth in 2020. But on April 7, 2021, everything changed when Virginia became the first Southern state to start the process of making adult-use cannabis legal.
But what do these laws say? Can Virginians possess marijuana for recreational use legally? Or will they continue to be limited to medical cannabis?
More importantly, what does marijuana legalization in Virginia mean for business operators?
Interested in expanding your adult-use or medical marijuana business in Virginia? Northstar is here to help!
Scale your operation in preparation for the VA green rush. Contact us now to learn how we’ll grow your business with financial planning and processes.
Virginia Marijuana Legalization 2021
HB2312 (Herring) and SB1406 (Ebbin; Lucas) were introduced by Governor Northam and passed by the 2021 General Assembly. These laws prioritize social equity, public health, and public safety while outlining a three-year road map to legalize cannabis and create a regulatory framework for marijuana sales.
Upon the authorization of the new state authority working to regulate the space, changes to the law began to take effect on July 1, 2021. This law legalizes simple possession up to one ounce and home cultivation for adults 21 years of age or older.’
The Cannabis Control Authority in Virginia is advised by a Health Advisory Council. Once the 2022 General Assembly completes its reenactment, the Virginia CCA will complete its list of regulations, implement its social equity program, and begin issuing cannabis business licenses. As long as the reenactment happens, retail sales of cannabis products to adults 21 years of age or older will begin on January 1, 2024.
What Changed on July 1, 2021?
Virginia Legalization Changes
Adults 21 years of age or older are now allowed to possess marijuana. However, they cannot hold onto more than an ounce at a time.
While adults are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use, they can feel comfortable consuming it at private residences, too. Even with this being the case, private residence owners are still allowed to restrict the use of cannabis products on-site.
Besides being allowed to possess not more than one ounce of marijuana, adults at least 21 years old can grow up to four plants per household. This means that regardless of the number of adults living at a residence, only four plants can be grown for home cultivation purposes.
Adult sharing is also allowed. For those who haven’t heard of adult sharing, this involves transferring not more than one ounce of marijuana between adults 21 years of age or older. If someone wants to transfer more than an ounce, this would be classified with retail sales.
However, adult sharing has its limitations. Instances that do the following are not considered adult sharing:
Marijuana that’s given away in trade for a separate reciprocal transaction between the same parties.
Marijuana that’s provided or advertised as a gift that comes with a purchase of goods or services.
Marijuana that’s given as a gift after someone purchases goods or services.
What Remains Illegal?
Virginia Marijuana Possession Laws
While Virginians can consume marijuana, it’s still illegal to possess more than one ounce of marijuana. Anyone who is found guilty of possessing beyond an ounce but less than a pound must pay a civil penalty that does not exceed $25. Anyone found guilty of possessing beyond a pound of marijuana faces a felony charge.
If someone is under the age of 21, they cannot consume, purchase, or possess marijuana. This, of course, includes attempting to consume, purchase, or possess this plant.
Medical cannabis legality differs, of course. But the patient must have a guardian and a recommendation for medical cannabis from a doctor specializing in chronic and debilitating diseases. When it comes to the human body, marijuana for medical applications is permitted for those under the age of 21.
Distributing or selling marijuana and/or possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute or sell it is still illegal. Businesses are also not allowed to sell, “gift,” or distribute marijuana in any other way without the appropriate license.
It’s also illegal to operate a motor vehicle, including a motor vehicle transporting passengers, while under the influence of marijuana use. This action could put a person at risk of losing his or her driver’s license.
Marijuana possession on school grounds is also prohibited, as is operating a school bus after marijuana use. It’s also still illegal to consume cannabis while operating a commercial vehicle, which includes driving a school bus. Even cannabis oil or marijuana concentrate consumption before driving is an offense that can result in the loss of a person’s driver’s license.
Also, this isn’t a new law, but to consume marijuana products or offer marijuana to another person in a public place is not legal in Virginia.
Laws About Virginia Marijuana Plants
Virginia rules on cannabis plants offer several opportunities to ganjapreneurs. Working in this space does not mean your customers have to purchase cannabis from your location.
Rather than sell marijuana, a Virginia cannabusiness can offer the support a private residence needs for home cultivation. Now that home grows are legal in Virginia, here’s what home growers can do at a private residence:
Home Cultivation: Up to Four Plants
Home cultivators are allowed to grow up to four plants per household. However, while growing for personal use is legal, cultivating for commercial marijuana sales remains illegal without the proper licensure.
Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA)
The Virginia CCA has a Business Equity & Diversity Support Team. This team will give technical assistance to qualified applicants, perform outreach throughout the regions most damaged by marijuana prohibition, and determine potential barriers to entry for minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
The CCA will also handle a loan program that will give loans to qualified social equity cannabis licensees. In turn, the expectation is that business ownership and economic growth in the communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition will thrive.
The new law also creates the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund. Through this community-led fund, 30% of all tax profits will be utilized to directly confront the economic disinvestment and disproportionate enforcement of drug laws with resources that will support the proper responses to these impacts.
Virginia Cannabis Laws & Adult-Use Commercial Sales
Virginia Cannabis Industry Regulation
The Cannabis Control Authority will be responsible for regulating Virginia’s marijuana industry. This includes issuing cannabis business licenses, creating health and safety guidelines, and promoting diversity in the space.
Governor Northam has already appointed members to the CCA’s Board of Directors. The Board will work with the CEO to create the recreational cannabis marketplace. However, the CCA expects to finish the list of regulations and start accepting cannabis business license applications in 2023.
How to Apply for a Marijuana Business License in Virginia
Recreational use marijuana sales will not happen before 2024. At this point, it’s still a crime to sell anything other than medical cannabis.
Licensing provisions of the bill must be reenacted during the 2022 General Assembly session. Once this happens, entrepreneurs will probably be able to apply for a Virginia marijuana business license in 2023.
Steps to Take Before Applying in 2023
While we all hope federal law legalizes cannabis and cannabis oil nationwide, the CCA will be the authority in VA. The Board members have been appointed, but the regulatory process is still being created.
Once the regulations are in place, the CCA will start engaging with interested stakeholders. But we expect this to take around two years before you can begin preparing to apply.
How Will the Licensing Process Work?
Licensing will not start until the CCA has hired staff and created regulations. Furthermore, we’re still waiting on the bill to be approved again by the 2022 General Assembly. Thus, we cannot determine exactly what will be involved in the licensing process.
Marijuana Plant Possession
Personal use and possession are now legal in Virginia. The law’s provisions do not allow anyone under the age of 21 to possess marijuana.
Cultivation of Marijuana Plants
Home cultivation is allowed as of July 1, 2021. This allows people to grow up to for plants per household at their primary place of residence.
However, this comes with some rules, including:
Plants may not be publicly visible;
Precautions must be taken to prevent unauthorized access for persons younger than 21;
Each plant must have a legible tag including the person’s name, driver’s license or ID number, and a notation highlighting that the plant is for personal use as authorized by the state.
If you want to grow four plants at home, it’s still challenging to buy seeds or clones. The law doesn’t allow people to sell marijuana seeds, flower, clones, and other parts of the marijuana plant within this state.
Even though other states have made marijuana sales legal, it’s still federally illegal to bring these products across state lines. It’s also not legal to sell or distribute cannabis from home, nor is it legal to manufacture cannabis oil or concentrate.
While someone might get a civil penalty for some marijuana-related offenses, illegal businesses or individuals in possession of large quantities of legal marijuana isn’t enough to prove intent to distribute. However, if someone is caught in possession of and distributing beyond an ounce but less than five pounds, they’re breaking the law and will face a Class 5 felony that’s punishable by a minimum of one year but not more than 10 years in prison. For first-time offenders, a judge can use his or her discretion for the sentence of not more than 12 months in jail and a fine that does not exceed $2500.
Someone caught distributing beyond five pounds but less than 100kg is committing a felony. The law states that this is punishable by a minimum of five years but not more than 30 years in prison.
If someone is caught distributing beyond 100kg of marijuana, they face an automatic 20 years to a life sentence in prison. However, the mandatory minimum can be reduced by the judge if the offender meets the following criteria:
First offense/no prior convictions for drug-related offenses;
No use of violence or credible threats of violence, no dangerous weapon used while committing the offense, and did not convince another participant in the offense;
No deaths or serious bodily injuries occurred to any person as a result of the offense;
The offender wasn’t an organizer, manager, leader, or supervisor of others in the offense and did not engage in a continuing criminal enterprise; and
The offender cooperated with police and judicial officials by giving information and evidence to the State.
Virginia Recreational and Medical Marijuana Laws
While Virginia is a long way off from receiving federal funding and an education program for the cannabis space, the state has made some tremendous strides. Registered patients still have access to their medicine to some degree, and we can expect regulatory sections in these laws to open the doors for business operators interested in this space.
Opportunities will reveal themselves over the next few years. But until then, it’s important to stay vigilant in checking the updates to regulatory sections as the CCA makes them.
Now is the time to begin scaling ancillary operations in Virginia! While the ball is rolling for legalization, marijuana sales in VA will not happen for a few years. But we answered some of the questions you might have in this Virginia Marijuana Legalization FAQ.
Looking to scale your cannabis business to prepare for VA’s green rush? Northstar is ready to help!
Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how financial services will grow your business in this budding space!