How to Open a Dispensary in Mississippi

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  2. How to Open a Dispensary in Mississippi

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Mississippi?

How to Open a Dispensary in Mississippi in 2024

Only medical cannabis is legal in Mississippi. Therefore, to open a dispensary in the state, you must have a medical cannabis dispensary license issued by the Mississippi Department of Revenue. The state allows non-residents to open dispensaries, provided they meet the required conditions for a license. Not all Mississippi municipalities allow dispensaries to operate within their borders. So, you must research local laws in the municipality where you intend to set up a store.

Why Open a Dispensary in Mississippi?

Opening a medical cannabis dispensary is one way to invest in the growing medical cannabis industry in Mississippi. Although the state only legalized medical cannabis in 2023, and its first sale happened in January 2023, more than 150 dispensaries have since been licensed. Furthermore, there are already over 21,000 medical cannabis patients registered under the Mississippi medical cannabis program. According to a report, retailers have sold medical cannabis products worth over $15 million since the medical cannabis program started in the state.

It is worth noting that the medical cannabis laws in Mississippi are more favorable than in most states in the United States. For instance, Mississippi residency is no longer required to obtain a license, and HB 1158, passed in March 2023, now allows dispensaries up to 18 months after licensure before becoming operational, contingent on timely annual license renewal. Hence, there is ample opportunity for persons or entities interested in entering into the budding cannabis market in the state.

Types of Dispensary Licenses in Mississippi

Mississippi issues only one type of dispensary license - the medical cannabis dispensary license. Note that only medical marijuana is legal in the state. The medical cannabis dispensary license authorizes the licensee to obtain cannabis and cannabis products from licensed cannabis processors in the state for sale to registered medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

How to Get a Mississippi Dispensary License

In order to be eligible to apply for a Mississippi medical cannabis dispensary license, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Be aged 21 or older
  • Any owner, officer, board member, or anyone with an economic interest in your business entity must be at 21
  • You must not currently be serving as a member of the state Senate or House of Representatives or be a spouse of a member of the Senate or House of Representatives
  • You must not have previously held a cannabis-related license that has been revoked
  • You must have no outstanding tax liabilities owed to the State of Mississippi
  • You must not have been convicted of a disqualifying felony under the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act. Owners or agents who directly or indirectly own 10% or more of a medical cannabis dispensary must get a background check completed with the state Department of Health. The Criminal History Fingerprint unit of the Mississippi State Department of Health processes background checks through the state Department of Public Safety. The checks are then transmitted through the Mississippi Criminal Information Center and FBI databases to complete the requirements for state and federal background checks

Medical cannabis dispensary license applications are available on the Mississippi electronic medical cannabis licensing system. Before accessing the system, it is recommended that you:

  • Register for a Mississippi Sales Tax account and obtain a sales tax permit via TAP
  • Register with the Mississippi Secretary of State for an applicable business entity type

To begin the application, create an account on the online portal. After, select a starting application type by selecting a medical cannabis dispensary. Subsequently, you will receive an email message to confirm your registration. Follow the instructions in the mail to confirm your new account. You may now sign into the portal using the login credentials created to begin the application. If you are experiencing technical difficulties when applying on the portal, contact the medical cannabis program tech support at or by phone at (601) 351-5023.

For detailed instructions on accessing the online application system, see the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Program Industry user guide or email

Information and Documents Required for a Dispensary License in Mississippi

The following information and documentation are required when submitting a medical cannabis dispensary license application on the Mississippi electronic medical cannabis licensing system:

  • Business owner government-issued identification
  • Legal Name of Business and Physical Address
  • If applicable, proof of Mississippi Secretary of State Registration
  • Mississippi Sales Tax Permit Number
  • Background check affidavit
  • Vendor contractor agreements
  • Proof that the proposed dispensary location is not within 1,000 feet of a school, church, or childcare facility (Distance Waiver form required if the dispensary property is within 1,000 feet)
  • List of all professional licenses held by every member and proof that each is in good standing
  • List of all owners, board members, partners, members, officers, and anyone with an economic interest
  • Acknowledgement of Waiver and Authorization to Release Information for each member
  • Licensee certification oath
  • Operations plan
  • Security plan
  • Site plan
  • Evidence of local business permit or license (municipality or county)
  • Zoning approval
  • SOPs consistent with the rules and regulations for oversight of medical cannabis establishment
  • SOPs for recordkeeping
  • SOPs for security measures
  • If applicable, Management Service Agreements
  • If applicable, a Deed of Trust, Lease Agreement, or Contingent Agreement

What Plans Do You Need to Open a Dispensary in Mississippi?

A business plan is vital for any entrepreneur, including a cannabis dispensary entity. If you want to open a medical cannabis dispensary in Mississippi, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funds if needed and plan out the growth of your business to improve your chances of success in an ever-competitive industry. Your business plan should have the following sections and critical information:

  • Executive Summary
  • Overview of the cannabis business
  • Mission statement and business goals
  • Brief description of the products offered
  • Summary of financial projections and funding needs
  • Company Description
  • Detailed information about the business structure (such as LLC, corporation)
  • History and background of the business
  • Legal and regulatory compliance information
  • Market Analysis
  • Overview of the cannabis industry, including trends and growth prospects
  • Target market demographics and size
  • Analysis of competitors and their market share
  • Market research findings, including consumer preferences and behaviors
  • Products or Services
  • Detailed description of the cannabis products or services offered
  • Unique selling points and product differentiation
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy
  • Marketing plan, including online and offline strategies
  • Sales strategy, pricing, and distribution channels
  • Sales forecasts and goals
  • Management and Organization
  • Information about the management team and their qualifications
  • Organizational structure and roles
  • Advisory board or key partnerships
  • Funding Request
  • Total funding required for startup and operations
  • Breakdown of how funds will be used
  • Details on the type of funding sought
  • Financial Projections
  • 3-5-year financial projections, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements
  • Assumptions and methodologies used in projections
  • Break-even analysis and return on investment (ROI) estimates

Besides a business plan, you will also need the following plans to complete a medical cannabis dispensary application:

  • Operations plan: The operating plan must detail how you intend to operate your business in compliance with all applicable Mississippi laws and regulations
  • Security plan: This document must detail how you plan to protect your cannabis dispensary from robbery, theft, and other security threats
  • Site plan: This must detail your premises, including parking areas, exits, entry points, customer areas, and employee areas

Are There Municipal Requirements for Opening a Cannabis Dispensary in Mississippi?

Mississippi municipalities are permitted to set further requirements for establishing a medical cannabis dispensary within their jurisdictions. You will need to obtain zoning approval and a business license or permit from the county or municipality where you are establishing a dispensary. Zoning approval indicates that your proposed location complies with all municipal requirements for where and how a dispensary may be established, while a local business permit or license authorizes a dispensary to conduct dispensary operations in the municipality where the permit or license is issued.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Mississippi Dispensary License?

The Mississippi Department of Revenue will review and make a determination within 30 days of receiving a completed application with all supporting documentation.

Where Can You Locate a Cannabis Dispensary in Mississippi?

According to the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, a dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school, religious institution, or childcare facility unless the cannabis business has obtained approval to operate within a lower distance buffer to these sites. Per state law, even when a waiver has been obtained, a medical cannabis dispensary may not be located within 500 feet of a school, religious site, or childcare facility.

Also, Mississippi allows its municipalities to opt out of permitting cannabis businesses, including dispensaries, to operate within their borders. Hence, you must find out if a municipality allows you to operate a dispensary within its limits before seeking to establish a dispensary there.

Can Licensees Have More Than One Dispensary Location in Mississippi?

Yes. Mississippi allows medical cannabis dispensaries to have multiple locations in the state.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Marijuana Dispensary in Mississippi?

To apply for a medical cannabis dispensary license, you must pay an application fee of $15,000. If your application is successful, you will also pay a licensing fee of $25,000. However, other costs are associated with opening and running a medical cannabis dispensary. These costs vary per the scope of the dispensary business. They include:

  • Startup costs: $100,000 - $2,500,000 (includes business incorporation, real estate, equipment, legal, inventory, and marketing costs)
  • Operating costs: $50,000 - $400,000 (includes staffing, POS, security, inventory, and marketing costs)

Do You Need an Insurance Policy for a Cannabis Dispensary in Mississippi?

While not mandatory for medical cannabis dispensaries in Mississippi, having multiple coverages under well-crafted cannabis insurance policies is a wise choice. It enables you to safeguard your business against potential financial setbacks, unforeseen events, or legal claims, protecting both the business and its clients. Some of the recommended protections for a medical cannabis dispensary in Mississippi include:

  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Regardless of your business type in Mississippi, you are required to have workers' compensation insurance if you have 5 or more employees. When an employee is injured on the job or contracts an occupational disease, this policy covers the medical treatment. It also offers disability benefits of up to two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage while they are unable to work
  • General Liability Insurance: This provides protection against fundamental risks that a cannabis dispensary can face. It covers personal or property damage and offers protection against bodily injury occurring on the premises of the dispensary
  • Property Insurance: This policy reimburses cannabis dispensaries for direct property loss, such as fire, vandalism, or natural disaster. It provides cover for business personal property, real property, and cannabis inventory
  • Product Liability Insurance: Cannabis dispensaries may face lawsuits claiming bodily injury from using a product sold in the store. Having product liability insurance can help you cover defense fees and settlement arising from such claims

How to Get a Grant to Open a Dispensary in Mississippi

Due to the unique legal and regulatory challenges of the cannabis industry, raising funds for a cannabis dispensary can be challenging. However, you may consider some of the following options to navigate the hurdle:

  • Personal Savings: You may use your personal savings or sell some assets to fund the startup costs
  • Family and friends: You may approach family members or friends who may be willing to invest in your business
  • Revenue Sharing: You can consider revenue-sharing agreements where investors receive a portion of the dispensary's profits in exchange for their capital
  • Private Loan: To raise capital, you may seek private loans from individuals or organizations willing to lend capital to your business
  • Equity funding: Equity funding is a type of financing in which investors exchange money for ownership shares in your company. If dispensary startup is successful in raising equity funding, the investors will become shareholders in the company
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a way to raise money from a large number of people, typically through the Internet. To obtain a loan or grant via crowdfunding to start a dispensary, you will need to create a crowdfunding campaign on a crowdfunding platform
  • Cannabis-specific brokers and lenders: Some lending institutions specialize in cannabis-related financing. You may be able to access a startup loan from one of such lenders

Does Mississippi Have a Social Equity Program for Cannabis Dispensaries?

No, Mississippi does not have a social equity program for medical cannabis dispensaries.

Does Mississippi Tax Marijuana Dispensaries?

Mississippi medical cannabis dispensaries charge a 7% sales tax to medical cannabis buyers at the point of sale. Dispensaries are also responsible for special tax levies in Jackson and Tupelo. Medical cannabis tax in Mississippi is remitted to the Department of Revenue.

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Mississippi Marijuana Business