How to Open a Dispensary in New Hampshire

  1. New Hampshire Cannabis
  2. How to Open a Dispensary in New Hampshire

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in New Hampshire?

How to Open a Dispensary in New Hampshire in 2024

New Hampshire only issues an integrated medical cannabis license, which allows licensees to cultivate, process, and dispense cannabis for registered qualifying patients. An entity must be registered in the state as a not-for-profit charitable organization before it can apply for an Alternative Treatment Center license whenever New Hampshire opens its cannabis business license application window. It must provide all required documents and information during the application process.

Why Open a Dispensary in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire allows only registered Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) to dispense medical marijuana to registered medical marijuana patients. Alternative Treatment Centers are not-for-profit organizations licensed to cultivate, process, transport, transfer, and dispense medical cannabis. The 2022 DHHS Therapeutic Cannabis Program (TCP) data report shows that there are 13,634 registered patients in the state. This is a 553% increase from the total number of registered patients of 2089 in 2016 when the DHHS first published the TCP data report. Total registered patients were 12,237 in 2021 and 10,688 in 2020. There has been a continuous increase in the number of qualifying patients over the years, and this trend will only continue. More marijuana dispensaries are needed in New Hampshire to cater to the increasing number of qualifying patients.

Types of Dispensary Licenses in New Hampshire

Alternative Treatment Center license is the only dispensary license in New Hampshire.

How to Get a New Hampshire Dispensary License

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is responsible for licensing Alternative Treatment Centers in New Hampshire. The department publishes requests for applications for new ATCs when it considers existing ATCs insufficient to serve registered medical cannabis patients in the state. It could also allow existing ATCs to increase their dispensary locations. There are currently three licensed Alternative Treatment Centers with seven dispensing locations. The DHHS is not accepting applications for Alternative Treatment Centers at this time.

Information and Documents Required for a Dispensary License in New Hampshire

The following documents and information are required to apply for an Alternative Treatment Center license in New Hampshire:

  • The completed application with the following information:
  • Name of the ATC
  • Address of the ATC dispensary, including the address of a secondary location for cultivation and processing where applicable
  • Name of the ATC’s administrator
  • Phone number of the ATC
  • The mailing address of the ATC, if different from the physical address
  • Email addresses for the ATC and its administrator
  • Evidence of charitable trust registration with the New Hampshire Attorney General
  • Certificate of Good Standing from the office of the New Hampshire Secretary of State
  • ATC’s bylaws
  • ATC article of agreement
  • Disclosure of any fines, censures, convictions, suspensions, or judicial proceedings against any board members, executive employees, corporate officer, or against the organization
  • ATC’s Floor plan
  • Organizational chart
  • Resumes of board members, executive employees, and corporate officers, including their names, addresses, and dates of birth
  • Local permits, including health, building, zoning, and fire compliant certificates for existing buildings or construction plan approval for new building
  • Results of federal and state criminal records check for each board member, executive employee, and corporate officer conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Safety
  • Documentation showing that all private water supply has been tested and approved or a copy of public water bill
  • The distance, measured in feet, between the property and any existing drug-free school zone located within 1320 feet of the property
  • A list of all persons and organizations not listed in the RFA but with direct or indirect control over the ATC policy and administration
  • Proof of a $2 million liability insurance coverage

What Plans Do You Need to Open a Dispensary in New Hampshire?

It is recommended for a cannabis dispensary to have a plan in place for handling cannabis, which is still illegal at the federal level. A business plan shows the steps and protocols that will be implemented at every stage of running the business. Prospective Alternative Treatment Centers in New Hampshire are not mandated to submit business plans while applying for dispensary licenses. However, the following plans must be in place before an ATC can begin operations:

  • Security plan
  • Crime prevention plans and employee security
  • Hour of operation and after-hours contact information
  • Marijuana storage plans
  • Descriptions of the cannabis strains to be cultivated and dispensed
  • Inventory protocols
  • Quality control plans
  • Personnel operations policy
  • Staffing plan
  • Emergency procedures
  • Policy on the use of therapeutic cannabis by ATC agents at the workplace
  • Policy on managing confidential information
  • Procedure for determining product prices
  • Procedure for production of cannabis and cannabis-infused products
  • Recall policy
  • Procedure for transferring cannabis between ATCs

Are There Municipal Requirements for Opening a Cannabis Dispensary in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire allows Alternative Treatment Centers to operate in all municipalities in the state. However, they must abide by the zonal ordinances of the local jurisdictions. They are required to submit local permits during application for ATC Licenses.

How Long Does It Take to Get a New Hampshire Dispensary License?

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services determines the process and duration for getting an Alternative Treatment Center License. They specify the timeline when they publish a request for application (RFA) notice for an ATC license.

Where Can You Locate a Cannabis Dispensary in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire prohibits operating an ATC dispensary in the following locations:

  • An area zoned as a residential district
  • A pre-existing drug-free school zone

Can Licensees Have More Than One Dispensary Location in New Hampshire?

Yes, licensed Alternative Treatment Centers can have multiple dispensary locations in New Hampshire. New Hampshire's medical cannabis law zoned the state into four geographic areas with the aim of spreading medical cannabis dispensaries across the geographic areas. ATCs cannot open more than one dispensing location in any geographic area unless the DHHS determines that a second dispensary is necessary to adequately serve the geographic area. Currently, the three licensed ATCs have multiple dispensing locations across the state.

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

The cost of opening a medical marijuana dispensary in New Hampshire depends on the size and location of the ATC’s dispensary. Typically, it can be over $1,000,000. The following are some of the average costs a prospective marijuana dispensary owner may incur in New Hampshire:

  • Request for application submission fee - $3,000
  • RFA selection fee - $20,000
  • Annual assessed fee - Depends on ATC’s percentage of total sales in the state
  • Cost of leasing cannabis cultivation and production space - This varies and depends on the size of the cultivation area. It can also be in the same location as the dispensing area
  • Cost of leasing a dispensing space - Between $40,000 and $100,000 annually
  • Security, software, and hardware costs - An average of $100,000 per annum
  • Employee salaries - About $500,000 per annum, depending on the staff size
  • Marketing/advertising expenses - $50,000
  • Local levies

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

New Hampshire mandates having a $2 million liability insurance coverage before any entity can obtain an ATC license. The liability insurance covers bodily injury or property damages that may occur on the dispensary premises. It also protects against errors and omissions by the dispensary or its employees. Additionally, marijuana dispensaries in New Hampshire can get the following insurance policies:

  • Workers compensation insurance - It covers lost wages and medical expenses for employees who sustain injuries or become ill on the job
  • Commercial auto insurance - This cover accidents and liabilities associated with business vehicles
  • Product liability insurance - It covers legal claims due to harm or injury caused by a cannabis product purchased from the dispensary
  • Commercial property insurance - It protects the dispensary’s physical assets against damages or loss due to fires, theft, or natural disasters
  • Environmental liability insurance - It covers potential harms to the environment caused by the use of chemicals and other substances by the ATC

Factors that determine dispensaries’ insurance premiums in New Hampshire include:

  • Dispensary location
  • Security measures employed
  • Coverage
  • Dispensary size and revenue
  • Employee training and safety protocols
  • Claims history
  • Compliance with regulations
  • Policy limits

How to Get a Grant to Open a Dispensary in New Hampshire

The following are a few ways to raise funds needed to open a medical cannabis dispensary in New Hampshire:

  • Self-funding - Using personal savings is the easiest source of funds for opening a cannabis dispensary in New Hampshire. It gives the owners complete control of the dispensary. However, it carries personal financial risks
  • Friends and family - Seeking investment or loans from friends and family members is another way to source funding for a dispensary. There should be formal agreements between parties
  • Equipment financing - This can be used to purchase expensive equipment for the dispensary. The purchased equipment serves as collateral for the loan
  • Partners - Partnering with established marijuana companies or other professionals who can provide funding in exchange for shares in the dispensary
  • Real estate investment - Because ATCs in New Hampshire require having extensive real estate, partnering with real estate investors can help with lease agreements and property acquisitions
  • Cannabis incubators and accelerators - Some marijuana-focused incubators and accelerators provide funds and resources to marijuana dispensaries in exchange for equity
  • Crowdfunding - Dispensary owners in New Hampshire can use crowdfunding platforms to raise funds from a large number of investors
  • Purchase order financing - Funds are borrowed to finance already placed orders and are repaid after the consumers pay
  • Hybrid financing - A combination of multiple sources of funding to meet the dispensary’s funding needs
  • Cannabis business loans - Getting loans from some financial institutions that offer loans to cannabis businesses

Does New Hampshire Have a Social Equity Program for Cannabis Dispensaries?

No. New Hampshire does not have a social equity program for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Does New Hampshire Tax Marijuana Dispensaries?

No, New Hampshire does not tax medical marijuana dispensaries. Alternative Treatment Centers are not-for-profit organizations and are exempt from state taxes. However, local jurisdictions may impose levies on cannabis dispensaries within their boundaries.

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