How to Open a Marijuana Dispensary in Nevada

Medical marijuana in Nevada was legalized in 2000, but the state of Nevada did not legalize the recreational use of marijuana until 2016. Like most states, you need to have a cannabis business license to open and run a cannabis retail store in Nevada. There are also specific compliance guidelines and adult-use marijuana laws you need to be aware of before you go into the cannabis dispensary business.

Even though marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, states have enacted their own laws regulating cannabis. A majority of states have passed laws legalizing the consumption and sale of medical marijuana. Several others have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana.

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) regulates cannabis licenses and the Nevada cannabis industry as a whole. The following table briefly outlines laws and compliance issues you need to know prior to applying for a marijuana dispensary license.

Relevant Laws


  • For a retail sale, a 10% excise tax is paid by the store
  • Cannabis retail sales tax is determined at the local rate
  • County sales tax varies across states

Different Types of Licenses

Nevada has five types of marijuana licenses:

  • Distributor
  • Product Manufacturing Facility/Production Facility
  • Marijuana Cultivation Facility
  • Retail Marijuana Store
  • Testing Facility/Testing Laboratory

Criminal Record

The CCB will do a thorough criminal history check on every applicant. Applicants must submit their fingerprints and an authorization form to allow CCB to conduct a background check.

How Much Cannabis Can I Sell?

Senate Bill 277 limits the amount of cannabis products a cannabis business owner or budtender can sell to a customer:

  • 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or other marijuana products
  • 1/4th ounce of concentrated cannabis

Age Requirements

A marijuana establishment cannot sell recreational cannabis to any person who is under 21 years of age. Budtenders must verify the customer's age by asking for a government-issued identification.

License and Application Fees

  • Non-Refundable Application Fee: $5,000
  • Licensing Fee (Medical): $20,000
  • Licensing Fee (Recreational): $30,000
  • Annual Renewal Fee (Medical): $5,000
  • Annual Renewal Fee (Recreational): $6,600

Note: 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 licensing?

Before the enactment of Assembly Bill 533, the Nevada Department of Taxation handled all marijuana industry licenses. Now, the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board handles the licensure of both medical and recreational cannabis establishments. Before starting the application process, you should check to see whether the CCB is accepting applications for marijuana businesses. If it is not, make sure you take note of the next application period.

Can my dispensary location be anywhere?

No. Cannabis dispensaries can't be:

  • Within 1000 feet of either private or public schools if the school existed prior to submission of the license application
  • Within 300 feet of a community facility or religious organization, if it existed prior to the licensing application

What if my application is denied?

The CCB will deny your application if it's not compliant with the law. However, the CCB may give you an opportunity to correct your errors before it denies your application.

Is there a limit on hours of operation?

You need to submit your anticipated business operation hours to the CCB along with your application. You should research local laws prior to submitting your application. Local laws determine specific hours of operation in their respective jurisdictions. Reno, Nevada requires a dispensary to close at midnight and reopen the next day. However, Las Vegas allows twenty-four (24) hour access to its customers.

Are there advertisement restrictions?

If you are running a marijuana business, you must be aware of Nevada's advertisement restrictions. Dispensary owners can't promote the overconsumption of cannabis. It's also important to know your local ordinance's advertisement restrictions to ensure your compliance.

What are the packaging requirements?

A marijuana dispensary owner must affix certain labels to each package, which include:

  • A warning stating “THIS IS A MARIJUANA PRODUCT"
  • A warning stating "This product may have intoxicating effects and may be habit forming"
  • A statement that says “This product may be unlawful outside of Nevada"

The complete list of labeling requirements is under section 453D.824 of the regulation.

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

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

The CCB provides a complete list of packaging requirements and warnings.

Are the laws the same throughout the state?

Cities and local ordinances may have additional requirements before allowing new business owners to begin cannabis sales in their jurisdiction. The city of Las Vegas, for instance, has a separate licensing process in addition to the regular licensing requirements of the CCB. It's important to know the local laws prior to opening a marijuana business.

Additional Resources

Do you need an attorney to help with the cannabis business process?

Non-compliance with Nevada marijuana laws is very costly and may result in the suspension of your cannabis license. You should consult with a Nevada cannabis attorney to assist with the process to save you time and money. Put their experience to work for you.

Was this helpful?

DIY Forms for Cannabis Business

Restrictive federal laws and ever-changing state laws make the marijuana industry a dynamic environment for cannabis business owners. Before you open a cannabis business, make sure it is legal in your state, and follow your state laws. Once you decide on an LLC, S-corp, or C-corp business, you can register your business entity online using DIY business formation forms.

Start Planning