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How to Open a Marijuana Dispensary in Nevada

Even though marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, States have enacted their own laws regulating cannabis. Most States still prohibit the sale and use of marijuana, but some states allow it. Several states have passed laws legalizing the consumption and sale of medical marijuana. A few others have legalized both the medical and recreational sale and use of cannabis.

Nevada legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2016. Medical marijuana in Nevada was legalized in 2000. Like most states, however, you need to have a license to open and run a cannabis dispensary in Nevada. There are also specific requirements and compliance guidelines you need to be aware of before you go into the dispensary business.

The following table briefly outlines laws and compliance issues you need to know prior to applying for a marijuana dispensary license.

Relevant laws you need to be aware of



  • For a retail sale, 10% excise tax paid by the store
  • Retail sales tax that will be determined at the local rate.
  • County sales tax varies across states.

Different Types of Licenses

You can establish five types of retail licenses:

  • Distributer
  • Product Manufacturing Facility
  • Cultivation Facility
  • Retail store and
  • Testing Facility

Criminal Record

The department will do a thorough criminal history check. According to section 453D.305 of the regulation, applicants must submit their fingerprints along with an authorization of release of information to the department.


How Much Cannabis Can I sell?

According to section 453D.562, a cannabis business owner can only sell marijuana products that do not exceed

  • 1 ounce of unconcentrated usable cannabis
  • 1/8th ounce of concentrated cannabis containing less than 3500 milligrams of HTC
  • Edible marijuana products that contain no more than 3500 milligrams of HTC or 1/8th ounce of concentrated cannabis.

Age Requirements

You can only sell Cannabis to a person who is 21 or older. You must verify the consumer’s age by asking a government-issued identification.

License and Application Fees

  • Non-Refundable $5000 application fee
  • Licensing fee of $20,000

Can I sell other items in my dispensary?

  • The regulation restricts cannabis businesses to selling only marijuana. That means you can’t sell food, beverage or nicotine in your dispensary.


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Who Oversees the Licensing?

The Department of Taxation is the organization that handles registration and licensing of both medical and recreational marijuana. You should visit the department’s website prior to submitting an application to see whether it is accepting applications for marijuana businesses.

Can My Dispensary Be Located Anywhere?

No. According to chapter 453D.210 of the Regulation, dispensaries can’t be located within:

  • 1000 feet of either private or public schools if the school existed prior to when the license application was submitted or
  • 300 feet of a community facility, if it existed prior to the licensing application

Was Your Application Denied?

The department will deny your application if its not compliant with the law. However, per section 453D.312 the department may give you an opportunity to correct your errors before it denies your application. You can also file a notice of appeal if your appeal falls under one of the grounds stated in NRS 233B.135.

Is There a Limit on Hours of Operation?

You need to submit your anticipated hours of operation to the department along with your application. You should research local laws prior to submitting your application since local laws determine specific hours of operation in their respective areas.

Are There Any Advertisement Restrictions?

If you are running a marijuana business, you must be aware of the advertisement restrictions imposed under section 453D.470 of the regulation. For instance, the law prohibits a marijuana store from contracting with third parties to advertise delivery to consumers. In addition, dispensary owners can’t promote overconsumption of cannabis. It’s also important to know the local advertisement restriction of your ordinance to ensure your compliance.

What Are the Packaging Requirements?

A Marijuana dispensary owner must affix to each package certain labels. These include:

  • A warning stating “THIS IS A MARIJUANA PRODUCT”
  • Statement that says “This product might be unlawful outside of Nevada”

The list of the complete labeling requirements can be found under section 453D.824 of the regulation.

The department also requires full disclosure and notification of warnings to consumers using the following statements including:

  • Marijuana should be kept out of the reach of children
  • The health risks associated with consumption of the product

The complete list of warnings can be found under section 453.D.832 of the regulation.

Is the Law the Same Throughout the State?

Cities and local ordinances may have additional requirements before allowing new business owners get a license. The city of Las Vegas, for instance has a separate licensing process in addition to the regular licensing requirements. In addition some cities like Fallon completely prohibit the sale of marijuana. It is therefore very imperative to know the local laws prior to opening a marijuana business.

Still Have Questions?

The Recreational application checklist and the scoring review procedure can serve as additional resources to help you prepare for opening a dispensary in Nevada. The official state information about Marijuana in Nevada can also be another place to look for further information about acquiring dispensary licenses.

Additional Resources

Do You Need an Attorney to Help with the Process?

Understanding and properly applying the regulations is essential to run a successful marijuana dispensary. This may prove to be difficult because the laws are intricate and complicated. Non-compliance is also very costly and may result in your license being suspended. You may want to consult with a Nevada cannabis attorney to assist with the process.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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