Unity Rd. Highlights Top 8 Markets For Prospective Dispensary Entrepreneurs

National dispensary franchise identifies leading U.S. cannabis markets open for dispensary licensing and acquisition opportunities

PHOENIX--()--Today, three out of four people live in a state that has legalized cannabis. With increasing acceptance and legalization continuing across the U.S., the cannabis market is set to exceed $30 billion this year in legal sales, a 14% increase from 2022. While many are hoping to grab a piece of the budding space, multiple states are currently in various licensing stages and have differing requirements, which makes navigating market entrance even more challenging for industry newcomers.

Unity Rd., the first national cannabis dispensary franchise in the U.S., has an expert team with a combined 250-plus years of cannabis and franchise experience, who offer franchise partners the unwavering support, resources and tools necessary to thrive in the complex space through every operational function of the business.

With their finger on the pulse of the fast-growing cannabis space, the Unity Rd. team says these eight states are the best route for those looking to open a dispensary:

  • Colorado: Looking to enter a mature cannabis market with a robust consumer base? Then Colorado should be at the top of the list for existing cannabis dispensary acquisitions. Since launching its adult-use program in January 2014, Colorado has been setting sales records and generated over $12.2 billion, according to the state's Department of Revenue.
  • Maine: According to Maine's Office of Cannabis Policy, the sale of adult-use cannabis nearly doubled in 2022, increasing 94% from the total revenue in 2021. Depending on the municipality, there may be potential opportunities for residents to apply for a conditional and then active license to open a cannabis dispensary in their local communities.
  • Michigan: Have an eye on Michigan? An acquisition of an existing dispensary is the best route as initial market entrants are looking to make their exit. Though the illicit market remains a top challenge in Michigan, the state is boasting the highest growth it has seen, up nearly 40% from a year ago.
  • Mississippi: Mississippi currently boasts ample opportunity in its emerging medical cannabis market, allowing up to five dispensary business licenses per individual or entity. There is also currently no cap on the number of licenses issued in the state. Launching its legal sales this past January, MJBizDaily predicts the state will reach $265 million in the first year and $800 million by 2026.
  • New Jersey: New Jersey launched adult-use cannabis sales in 2022 and saw nearly 140% growth last year. Though real estate is extremely limited, and an approved property is part of the licensing process, the populous Northeastern state sits alongside New York and California as one of the top industry growth drivers in the next three years.
  • New Mexico: In just the first year of adult-use cannabis sales, New Mexico saw over $300 million in revenue generated in communities across the state with sales continuing to remain consistent. New Mexico currently presents untapped potential with an ongoing application process and no residency requirement, allowing eager local or out-of-state entrepreneurs the opportunity to enter the booming new market.
  • Vermont: With a rolling application process, there is no deadline to submit dispensary applications and licenses are being awarded on an ongoing basis. The state, however, only allows one dispensary license per person. The market is currently projected to generate at least $3 to $5 million by the end of 2023 and $120 to $145 million by 2026, according to the 2022 MJBiz Factbook.
  • Washington D.C.: On May 1 of this year, Washington D.C. will be opening applications for new medical cannabis dispensaries with no residency requirement or cap on licenses issued. The market reported nearly $4.7 million in monthly sales for February 2023 alone.

Beyond those eight states, there are other markets that will be opening in the year ahead. Unity Rd.’s Director of Licensing, Nate Reed shared, “While Kentucky recently passed a bill to legalize medical cannabis and Maryland to legalize adult-use, their licensing processes are expected to go live in 2024. The timeline from legalizing cannabis to opening the licensing process varies by state, but generally, we see it take around 18 months.”

Cannabis is a highly regulated industry with laws that differ from state-to-state and change day-by-day. These market conditions make it next to impossible for industry newcomers to enter – let alone operate a successful business. Unity Rd. breaks down these barriers, helping independent business owners bring the benefits of the growing industry to their hometown to strengthen their communities, invest in local programs and build a legacy.

To learn more about the Unity Rd. franchise opportunity and the top cannabis markets to enter, contact franchise@unityrd.com, call 720-923-5262 or visit unityrd.com.


Unity Rd. is the first national cannabis dispensary franchise model in the U.S. Since launching in 2018, Unity Rd. has always had one mission and vision in mind for the cannabis industry: to inspire confidence in the benefits of cannabis for all. From consumers to entire communities and investors, Unity Rd. was founded on the belief that everyone has a place in the budding $28 billion industry. The result is high-quality cannabis products guests can rely on that are sold in shops run by local entrepreneurs who are backed by Unity Rd.’s collective 250-plus years of legal cannabis and franchising experience. An industry pioneer, Unity Rd. is the retail franchise from Item 9 Labs Corp. The franchise has been named one of the top cannabis retail leaders in the nation by MJBizDaily, became the first concept of its kind to become a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and was named one of the “Best Cannabis Companies to Work For” in the dispensary category of Cannabis Business Times’ 2023, 2022 and 2020 lists. Unity Rd. currently has four shops open and multiple agreements signed with 20-plus entrepreneurial groups who are developing the brand across 10-plus states. For more information, visit unityrd.com.


Unity Rd.

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As cannabis grows, Unity Rd. provides franchise partners with guidance to navigate the complex space and suggests 8 states for opening a dispensary.

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