How to open a head shop?
Head shops, stores that sell items like rolling papers and pipes as well as tapestries, incense, magazines and other items of interest to members of the cannabis community and other subcultures, are nothing new. But they are changing.
A head shop is no longer a seedy joint with a poor reputation for selling drug paraphernalia and slinging weed out the back door. With the changing marijuana laws in North America, the cannabis industry is expected to reach over $30 billion by 2023, so there has never been a better time to join the industry. So, how to open a head shop?
Selling marijuana for recreational use is still illegal on the federal level. Each state has its own laws and regulations for marijuana, and these laws are continually evolving. Research this thoroughly in your state to get an idea not only of what the laws are now, but any changes expected to be coming down the pike. As of early 2019, 10 states have legalized cannabis for recreational use, and all but three states have a medical marijuana program in some form.
For instance, in Colorado weed is essentially treated as alcohol historically has been – you must be over 21 to purchase and partake. Louisiana has legal medical marijuana, but it isn’t legal recreationally and still other states like Iowa and Alabama maintain very harsh laws. Not only do you need to have an eye on marijuana possession laws, but those for head shops and dispensaries who serve consumers. Even possessing and selling items used to consume cannabis, known collectively as “paraphernalia,” can lead to criminal charges and penalties.
There are plenty of online resources that are able to acquaint you with the most up-to-date information about the legality of marijuana in your state or you can always consult a lawyer. Of course, you need to contact the local and state government to make sure you adhere to all regulations just like any other business would.
Head shops should be located on a main thoroughfare in the community you wish to serve. A small spot of several hundred square feet will do nicely to start. Make sure your location is commercially zoned and is centrally located close to colleges or other areas that feed pedestrian traffic. Be far enough away from any other head shop to prevent too much direct competition – ideally, nothing within a 20-minute walk from your place.
You will need several thousand dollars to set up your head shop with inventory. Offer a wide array of smoking devices, wholesale head shop products, custom smoking accessories wholesale products, books and other media related to marijuana. It’s also a good idea to have a cozy place for people to relax, because head shops traditionally foster a communicative atmosphere, and you want people to be comfortable. Keep track of your inventory, compared to your overhead so that you make sure you are inching toward potential profitability.
Starting a month or so before your doors open, start advertising. Have your signage in front of your head shop to get word of mouth working for you. Create social media profiles under your business name. Start engaging with your target market online and in real life to foster excitement.
How you market your business to the community will determine the type of clientele you attract. You might not be after the demographic traditionally associated with head shops, especially in today’s changing cannabis culture. Instead, you might be most interested in adults trying cannabis for the first time or in selective consumers who seek out luxury products. Plan your marketing strategy around which customers you want to pursue and what will be most attractive to them.
If you balance your business choices correctly, you will soon go from the red to the black, courtesy of the green. As fun as open a head shop seems to own, never lose sight that it is a business and one that has fantastic fiscal potential.