The cannabis industry has snowballed in growth over the past decade, with more and more states legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use. While this evolution is exciting, it has also brought increased scrutiny from regulators and, in some cases, even law enforcement.
Like all cannabis businesses, dispensaries must comply with a complex web of state and federal regulations, from tracking inventory to managing patient information.
The most common technology tool in most dispensaries is the cannabis point-of-sale (POS) system. A cannabis dispensary POS system can help dispensaries with the very things they need to thrive.
Among other things, a cannabis POS helps manage inventory, sales, and patient data in a way that meets the requirements of state and federal regulations.
Understanding Dispensary Compliance and Regulation in the Cannabis Industry
Since the legal landscape for the industry is constantly evolving, cannabis dispensaries must stay up to date with the state and federal regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, loss of license, and even criminal charges.
State regulations for cannabis dispensaries vary widely, but may include requirements for:
- Tracking inventory: Dispensaries may be required to track all cannabis products from seed to sale, including information on the origin of the product, how it was grown or produced, and where it was sold.
- Managing patient information: Dispensaries may be required to keep detailed patient information records, including medical conditions and the products they purchase.
- Security: Dispensaries may require security cameras, alarms, and other measures to prevent theft and unauthorized access to products.
At the federal level, cannabis is still considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Since the plant is still illegal under federal law, even though some states have legalized it for medical or recreational use, cannabis dispensaries must navigate a complex legal landscape to ensure compliance with both state and federal regulations.
How a POS System Can Help with Compliance and Regulation
A cannabis dispensary POS system can help dispensaries manage inventory, sales, and patient information in a way that meets state and federal regulations. The key features that a cannabis dispensary POS system should have to help with compliance and regulation include:
- Inventory tracking: Track inventory from seed to sale, including information on the origin of the product, how it was grown or produced, and where it was sold.
- Patient management: Manage patient information, including medical conditions and the products they purchase.
- Compliance reporting: Generate reports on sales, inventory, and patient data to help dispensaries comply with state and federal regulations.
- Integration with state tracking systems: Some states require cannabis dispensaries to use a state tracking system to track inventory and sales.
- Security: Strong security measures in place to protect patient data and prevent unauthorized access to products
By implementing a cannabis dispensary POS system with these features, dispensaries can ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, and avoid the consequences of non-compliance.
Cannabis Dispensaries in Trouble with the Law
There have been several notable instances where legal cannabis dispensaries have faced legal issues with law enforcement agencies, often due to issues related to compliance and regulation. Here are a few examples:
Harborside Health Center: In 2012, federal authorities targeted Harborside Health Center, one of the largest and most well-known cannabis dispensaries in the United States. The authorities attempted to shut down the dispensary, claiming that it was violating IRS federal drug laws. The case dragged on for years, with Harborside eventually winning the right to continue operating in 2016.
Sweet Leaf: In 2018, the Denver-based cannabis dispensary Sweet Leaf was raided by law enforcement authorities, who accused the company of selling more cannabis than was allowed under state law. The company’s owners were arrested and charged with 26 counts of illegal distribution of marijuana. The case highlighted the importance of compliance with state regulations, and the consequences of failing to comply.
These cases show that legal cannabis dispensaries can still face legal issues and challenges, even in states where cannabis is legal for medical or recreational use. A well-designed point-of-sale system can help dispensaries stay compliant with state and federal regulations.
What to Look for in a Cannabis Dispensary POS System for Your Business
To choose a cannabis dispensary POS system for supporting state and federal compliance, here are some factors to consider:
- Compliance: Obviously. You’ll want to look for a cannabis dispensary POS system with features specifically designed with state and federal compliance at the forefront. Make sure the system can generate reports and integrate with state tracking systems if required by your state.
- Ease of use: A cannabis dispensary POS system should be easy for your staff to use, with a user-friendly interface and simple navigation. Look for a system that offers training and support to help your team get up to speed quickly.
- Customization: A good cannabis dispensary POS system should be customizable to meet the unique needs of your business. Look for a system that allows you to create custom reports and track the most critical metrics for your business.
- Connect with other systems: A cannabis dispensary POS system should be able to connect with other systems your business uses, such as accounting or inventory management software. This can help streamline your operations and avoid data entry errors.
- Security: Look for a cannabis dispensary POS system with robust security measures to protect patient data and prevent unauthorized product access.
- Cost: Finally, consider the cost of the system and whether it fits within your budget. Look for a system that offers transparent pricing and no hidden fees.
Compliance and regulation are too critical for cannabis dispensaries not to have a dispensary POS system with features designed specifically for the unique needs of the cannabis industry to ensure compliance with regulations, increase efficiency, and in the end, profitability.
By considering these factors when selecting a cannabis dispensary POS system, you can ensure that your business stays compliant with state and federal regulations while also improving efficiency and profitability.
Talk to one of our dispensary experts to learn how to connect your cannabis POS data to all your other software systems using our Cannahub connectors and reporting solution.