March 21, 2023

3 Things CAURD Licensees Should Keep in Mind When Opening Their Dispensary

Jalen Jones
March 21, 2023

This article was originally published in NYUpstate.

As New York continues the push to get more dispensaries open throughout the state, the intense and sometimes rushed process can be a whirlwind experience for Conditional Adult-use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees.

If you’re one of these folks, whether you are waiting to open your space or have already begun operating, it’s easy to become overwhelmed amidst all the excitement, which can take away from your experience, your achievements and hinder your decision making as a business owner. For CAURD operators beginning to feel this way, here are three core concepts you should focus on as you gear up to open your store.

1. Ambition is great, but scale responsibly

Receiving your license and subsequently opening the doors to your legal cannabis operation can be overwhelming, exciting and surreal. It’s likely that this is something
you’ve dreamt of for a long time and understandably, you want it to be exactly as you’ve envisioned from the get-go. But remember not to put the cart in front of the horse, especially if you are still learning the intricacies of owning a retail business.

It’s great to have big ideas and ambition—those qualities likely played a part in your success in obtaining a license—but remember that establishing a retail operation takes time, especially in a nascent market like cannabis where rules and regulations are not only complicated, but always evolving.

Make sure you remain realistic while delegating your resources and getting your dispensary functioning. If you focus on making your operation sustainable, you’ll give
yourself the opportunities to truly make it your own down the road.

2. Block out the noise

In the early going especially, it is critical to operate efficiently in pursuit of one goal: building a profitable business. You are opening a dispensary to sell well-regulated, high- quality legal cannabis products to consumers, and that should always be your core focus from the moment you open your doors.

This doesn't mean you shouldn’t want your dispensary to be something more than a retail operation, but that is something that should come later, after you’ve gotten the swing of operating a retail cannabis store.

There is most definitely a science that goes into building a strong retail brand. Identifying the right product mix, providing a stellar customer experience all the while
maintaining healthy profit margins are all key components that should be ingredients for your recipe.

Try to block out the noise. The high number of unlicensed shops and limited products are definitely early barriers, but if you stay the course, you will have the opportunity to pursue your greater vision for your store, whether that be stocking specific products, introducing new innovations and technology, or becoming a pillar for your community.

3. The only constant in cannabis is change

There’s a lot of pressure associated with being a CAURD licensee. Not only are you one of the first people in the state to open a legal recreational dispensary, you’re also one of the first places the conditional cultivators and processors can sell their products.

Not to mention, New York is making great investments to license CAURD applicants first and help get them started. But that does not mean that prioritization is not
accompanied by high expectations and a lot of pressure to succeed.

Anyone who takes the leap to open and operate their own business deals with this, but you also have the attention of lawmakers, the media and the rest of the supply chain that currently depends on you. It can be easy to feel the weight of the market on your shoulders.

Nothing will be perfect from the get-go, and you don’t have to have everything figured out on day one. Feeling anxious or uncertain is normal but remember that opening a business takes time and a lot of trial and error.

Take advantage of the fact that you are one of the first retail operators in the state and allow yourself the opportunity to work out the kinks. And most importantly, leverage the resources present for you to lean on once you get up and running.

There are plenty of people in the community and industry who want to help and want to see you be successful, and there is no shame in accepting help from them. If you are making consistent progress and improving your operations slowly, you are on the right track.

If you keep these three core concepts in mind as you navigate the process of launching and operating your business, you’ll not only feel more in control, but will also be more likely to achieve and maintain success. Eventually, the market will become more

If all goes to plan, there will be 300 CAURD dispensaries. This is why it’s critical to prioritize what’s most important now: operating a profitable business, learning and growing into your role as an owner, and leveraging the opportunities and resources presented to you early on.

If you maintain this focus, you’ll feel more in control and be best equipped to be successful.

About Dutchie

Dutchie is the leading technology partner for cannabis retailers of all sizes. With a range of solutions covering point of sale, payments, ecommerce, insurance, and more, Dutchie empowers dispensaries to run efficiently, scale their operation easily, stay compliant, and offer outstanding experiences to the customers who rely on them.

About the author
Jalen Jones
Sr. Account Executive @ Dutchie