Cannabis Franchise Helps Alleviate Hurdles for OK Dispensary Owners

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

By Chronic Staff | Resources | March 2, 2021

Oklahoma has seen incredible success with the state’s medical cannabis program as sales and patient numbers have continued to increase, indicating the market still has room to grow. The program, which launched in October 2018, has generated nearly $10 million a month in state tax revenue with retail sales expected to exceed $800 million in 2020 compared to $345 million in 2019.

“There are life-changing opportunities to build generational wealth,” said Justin Livingston, Vice President of Franchise Development for Unity Rd. “This industry is in its infancy, and franchising is the growth vehicle the industry needs to reach its full potential.”

Livingston isn’t saying that entering the industry is easy, but from his experience developing franchises across the globe, he’s positive the franchise company is charting the path for the cannabis industry in Oklahoma through the proven franchise model.

As of February 7, 2021, the state had registered 370,591 active patient licenses – roughly 10 percent of the population – and needs operational and compliant dispensaries to service those patients.

The state has licensed thousands of cannabis businesses, but only 2,090 dispensaries are open and operational to serve the high patient population as of February 12. According to Sarah Lee Gossett Parrish, an Oklahoma City cannabis attorney, roughly 30 to 40 percent of cannabis business license holders are not operational.

“The difficulty is that cannabis is one of the most complicated industries to break into,” explained Livingston. “There are barriers at every turn, from winning or acquiring a license to compliance and regulation to the consistency of product.”

The process of applying for and obtaining a cannabis business license in Oklahoma is fairly simple. However, this means that entrepreneurs who enter the industry are often underprepared for the obstacles that await them when opening and operating a compliant cannabis business. The state’s laissez-faire attitude has resulted in many license holders sitting on or forfeiting their licenses and has left patients without a selection of solid dispensaries.

Another barrier was set after the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) recognized that more detailed regulations were needed to guide businesses to success shortly after the program launched and again in October 2020. This has resulted in many existing businesses unsure how to reassess their business to become compliant with the state’s new regulations.

That’s where Livingston offers his franchise development expertise through Unity Rd. The first cannabis dispensary franchise available in the U.S., Unity Rd., alleviates the barriers and offers the safest pathway into cannabis for interested entrepreneurs. The franchise offers a supportive and dedicated team of industry experts who provide trusted resources and guidance throughout every step of the operations process – all while keeping dispensaries locally owned and operated as franchise partners keep full ownership of their license and business.

“With the right guidance and systems in place, success in the cannabis industry is attainable,” said Livingston. “When you’re working with industry veterans who have seen it all and developed sound strategies for success, it reduces the risk.”

The Unity Rd. team has stood at the forefront of Arizona and Colorado legalization, boasting a combined 120 years in the legal cannabis industry and over 50 years of collective franchise experience. The franchise partners with new or existing dispensary operators by helping them reach the next level of success.

“Our path has put us against every challenge that stands between entrepreneurs and a successful dispensary. We took the lessons from that journey and turned it into a comprehensive guide for others to open their dispensary doors with confidence,” Livingston said. “As larger, corporate-driven operators consolidate the market’s opportunity, we’re offering an alternative—a compliant, successful future with a network of local owners by your side.”

As part of a greater network, the business can operate more efficiently resulting in more time for franchise partners to focus on growing the business, rather than managing the day-to-day.

“You can only get this level of understanding through experience, which means a lot of trial and error. We want to help others succeed by giving them the roadmap we never had,” Livingston said.

Unity Rd.'s time-tested Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) are the backbone of the company's perfect compliance record as well as a guideline for team member selection and training. With their robust program in hand, franchise partners have an SOP for every step that needs to be taken from open to close and additional support in educating new team members on those standards. In short, Unity Rd. franchise partners start out the gate stronger.

“When it all comes down to it, Unity Rd. is no different than any traditional franchise opportunity,” Livingston explained. “We are here to be the road map to success.”

As Oklahoma’s program continues to grow, the state is ripe with opportunities for entrepreneurs interested in opening a dispensary.

Unity Rd. offers weekly live 30-minute presentations and question-and-answer sessions for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to learn more, Livingston said. The sessions are held every Wednesday at noon Central time. Register here.