Starting a cannabis company in Nevada? We’ve put together a state-specific guide covering everything from available license types to fees, regulations, and what you should include in a Nevada cannabis business plan. Jump to a section by clicking below, or go straight to our sample cannabis business plan.
Since question 9 passed in 2000, Nevada adults can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or 12 plants every 14 days if they have a written recommendation from a qualifying doctor. More than 21,000 patients have registered for medical marijuana use in Nevada.
Recreational marijuana sale and use is also legal in the state. Thanks to question 2’s passage in 2016, Nevada adults 21 and over can possess up to 1 ounce of flower or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrate with up to 1,750 mg of THC for recreational use. Businesses can grow and sell recreational marijuana and products, as long as they don't look like candy or appeal to kids.
People can grow up to 6 marijuana plants at home (12 per household), either for medicinal or recreational use, as long as they live more than 25 miles from the closest state-licensed dispensary.
Nevada issues licenses for 5 broad categories of recreational cannabis businesses: retail stores (aka dispensaries), cultivation facilities (aka grow operations), product manufacturers (e.g., extracts or edibles), distributors, and testing companies. Medical marijuana business licenses are available for dispensaries, cultivation, processors, and testing labs (but not distribution).
Retail store: A dispensary where anyone 21 and over can purchase marijuana (or with a doctor’s note, if it’s a medical marijuana dispensary). Dispensaries must follow strict protocols for product tracking, security, record-keeping, and more. Marijuana retailers buy product from cultivators, product manufacturers, or other retailers. This is the only license type that can sell direct to consumers.
Cultivators: These businesses, also called grow operations, grow cannabis plants indoors or outdoors. Marijuana is then packaged and either sold to a dispensary or to a product manufacturer that will create edibles, oils, or other cannabis products. In Nevada, cultivators can’t sell directly to the public.
Processors: Cannabis processors, or manufacturers, produce and package items like edibles, tinctures, and ointments. Manufacturers can wholesale products to dispensaries and other distributors, but they can’t sell to consumers directly.
Distribution: These businesses transport marijuana between licensed cannabis companies (such as from a cultivator to a dispensary).
Testing facility: Consumers and regulators alike demand consistency and quality control in cannabis products, which creates demand for marijuana testing labs. These labs analyze products for CBD and THC content, pesticides, terpenes, bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals, to name a few.
If you don’t want to grow, test, distribute, or sell cannabis, you have plenty of other options. You can create an app, payment processing service, advertising and branding agency, ad network, consulting firm, pest management product, automated plant watering system, or security service--the possibilities are limitless.
Local governments may forbid cannabis companies or certain locations, so check city and county regulations. The following information is only for commercial (adult-use) cannabis because the state appears to be halting the acceptance of new medical licenses.
Application fees: All medical and recreational marijuana business applications have a $5,000 fee.
License fees: The license fee for a medical marijuana dispensary, cultivator, or processor costs $5,000 per year in Nevada. For recreational marijuana businesses, the license fees are $30,000 for the first and $10,000 each additional for cultivation; $20,000 for a new retail store (aka dispensary), and $6,600 for annual renewal; and $15,000 for a new testing lab or processor in the first year, with $5,000 for renewal. For distributors, the first year is $15,000 followed by $5,000 in renewal fees.
Financial requirement: Nevada requires that you have proof of $250,000 or more in liquid assets in order to get a medical marijuana business license. If you don’t have that much, you should get your business plan and pitch deck together and raise capital first.
Registered agent card: You have to apply for and get a registered agent card to work (or even just volunteer) at a marijuana retailer. You have to get a background check as part of the requirements for the agent card--you can’t have been convicted of an “excluded felony,” which is “a crime of violence or a violation of a state or federal law pertaining to controlled substances if the law was punishable as a felony” (see here for more info).
Nevada doesn’t require a business plan to get a marijuana business license, but having one will make your application process much easier. You’re required to submit an organizational chart, resume for each owner and board member, financial plan, advertising plan, security procedures, cannabis testing plan, transportation plan, inventory control plan, and more. And if you plan on raising funding from investors, you definitely need a business plan.
Google your city or municipality name and “cannabis regulations” or “marijuana laws”. If your city or municipality’s website doesn’t have information about cannabis, check recent local news coverage or contact your city clerk, city manager, or town hall.
Confused or overwhelmed yet? That’s normal. With such a highly regulated industry, and one with different rules in every state, starting a cannabis company can be very complex. Get help with your cannabis business plan from Masterplans, the industry leaders. We’ve worked with hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs like yourself to create investor-ready documents and presentations so you can not only meet regulations but get the funding you need. Click below for your free, confidential consultation: