Dispensing any drugs without a pharmacist's license is illegal in most states. However, in states where marijuana has been legalized, it is not pharmacists that run the dispensaries. So, how do owners and operators of marijuana dispensaries get around this particular sticking point? How do you get a license for a marijuana dispensary if you are not a pharmacist? It goes something like this.
A Dispensary Dispenses ONLY Marijuana
Because the marijuana dispensaries (in states where marijuana is legal, of course) only dispense marijuana, they are not considered pharmacies. Even though most of the people that come into the dispensaries are using marijuana for medical purposes, they are only allowed incredibly small amounts with each visit. Hence, the owner/operator of the dispensary only needs a commercial/business license to operate within that state, and not a pharmacist's credentials.
Additionally, most dispensaries provide multiple open jars and cases of marijuana varieties. The clerks in the stores are not officially dispensing anything as it is the customers picking out and picking up the products they want. The only things the clerks are present for is to make sure no one is stealing, to view the medical marijuana cards at the point of "sale," and to weigh the amount of marijuana leaving the dispensary with each customer to make sure the amount does not exceed legal limits for personal use.
How You Can Get a License to Open a Marijuana Dispensary
Well, first and foremost, you can only get a license IF you live in a state that has legalized marijuana. You must also be a resident of that state. You have to pass an extensive background check and a criminal background check before the city in which you plan to open your dispensary will consider your application for said license. There are also several operating fees you must pay, along with the taxes you will have to pay when your dispensary opens.
Most states that have made marijuana legal, like Colorado, use the taxes they garner from marijuana dispensaries to reduce state deficits and fund community programs. This is why they made this drug legal in the first place. When you are finally granted your license to open shop, you have to sign government paperwork that stipulates that you will pay the taxes owed on all the marijuana sales that leave your shop. Your license must be renewed semi-annually or annually, depending on the state in which you live.
Talk to other local marijuana dispensaries to find out more information on starting your own.