A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

Cannabis Retail Licensing

Cannabis Retail License Types:

  • M: Allows for the sale of cannabis products to those aged 18 or older.
  • A-U: Adult-use license types allow for the sale of cannabis products to adults ages 21 or older.
  • Combo: Allows for both consumer-types to be serviced by one location. The tax regulations pertaining to each consumer-type doesn’t change for those operating under a combination license.

Individuals interested in opening a delivery service must consider the two different licenses that are offered to the public by the BCC. These two license types are broken down into M (Medicinal) and A-U (Adult-Use) licenses.

Those with a class M license may service individuals that have a state-approved MMICP enrollment. MMICP allows for individuals ages 18 and older to engage in the purchasing of cannabis products from retailers without paying the sales & use tax. However, this does not meant that they are exempt from the 15% state excise tax.

A-U license holders may engage in the recreational sale of cannabis products to individuals that are aged 21 and older. These clients must pay the excise tax of 15%, local tax, and sales tax. They are not exempt from taxes in the way that MMICP holders are.

Annual License Fees

Associated fees to obtain a cannabis retail license in California.

The latest regulations do not require for the entirety of the annual license fee to be paid until a business license for the applicant has been approved. Moreover, the fees associated with annual licenses have changed and are now based on a tiered system that depends on the amount of estimated annual revenue that is to be made.


A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

Regulations state that there mustn’t be a reticle location within 600 feet of a pre-existing school, child care center, youth center, or any location where kids are prevalent in presence. Schools are defined as being limited to that of children in grades 1-12, although kindergartens and pre-school should be considered to fall under this umbrella.

Modification of Premises

A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

The modification of any premises must be recorded and submitted to the BCC. This includes, but is not limited to the modification of entryways in a building, relocation of doorways, and serious modifications such as wall creation or removal. To stay safe on and err on the side of caution, be sure to record all of the modifications and have professional diagrams which show the progression of these changes.

Note: The latest regulation changes require submission of a Notification and Request Form, BCC-LIC-027

Receiving Shipments

Shipping Manifests are required per BCC regulations.

To accept shipments, cannabis retailers can chose to accept the entirety of a shipment or choose to reject part of the delivery. Goods that are different from what is on the invoice, damaged, or fall under non-compliant practices can be rejected and must be recorded into the METRC system.

Staff Requirements

21+ employees only!

Employees of any given retail location must at least 21 years of age or older. Other requirements for staff include the need for an identification badge to be worn at all times by staff. Badges must include the business’ name, license number, first name & employee number, and a color picture of the employee that is at least 1in. wide x 1.5in. tall.

Hours of Operation

9am – 10pm are common business hours!

A storefront retailer, or dispensary, must be open no sooner than 6am and finish conducting business on any given day by 10pm. It’s common for retail locations to operate between 9am – 10pm.

Limited Access Areas

Limited access areas should be reserved for employees & approved partners.

Limited access areas are to be utilized by employees of any given location and any approved contractor. Customers are not permitted to have access to this area—period.

Alarm System

There’s a plethora of commercial-grade alarm companies to choose from.

Must be capable of alerting staff immediately. Alarm features such as motion sensors and audio devices should be considered!


Commercial-grade locks are required by law!

Must be commercial-grade and non-residential. This means that using a household lock will not fall under regulations. Common practice is to have multiple locks for entrances and exits.

Video Cameras

You can never have too many video cameras to protect your dispensary.

Cameras used to monitor the premises must do so 24 hours a day at a minimum of 15 frames per second with a time and date stamp. Cameras should produce an image of 1280×720 pixel quality and be installed in permanent locations which have a 20-foot clear line of sight of each entrance/exit. Perspectives of the cameras should be from both the interior and exterior of the building. Limited access areas must be capable of being sen in video recordings as well as locations where cannabis products are packed, stored, loaded and unloaded for transportation, prepared, or moved on the dispensary premises.

Storing Video Surveillance

Videos should be kept for a minimum of 90 days and be housed in a secure, tamper-proof device with the ability of being copied for the BCC at any point in time.


Inventory Reconciliation

A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

Consider doing weekly inventory reconciliation to stay up-to-date with purchasing trends while avoiding dispensary and delivery service fines!

A 3% inventory reconciliation buffer of the average monthly sales is acceptable per BCC regulations. Inventory management must be assessed and completed once every 30 days, although regular reconciliation is recommended! Be sure to have backups of every document as BCC inspections may occur at any point.

DISCLAIMER: The materials made available in this resource guide are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your cannabis attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem!

5 Habits of Highly Successful Cannabis Dispensary Locations

Where does your loyalty lie?

Top-notch dispensaries are capable of providing their customers with an experience that is consistent time and time again. This means that best practices in every aspect of daily operations are fulfilled from the minute doors open to the time that they close. The best dispensaries provide value to consumers by way of curating a thoughtful purchasing experience that makes customers wishing they had more time and money to spend.

It’s no easy task to be the best dispensary in the area so be sure to pay attention to the habits formed by some of the top producing dispensaries out there!

They take online orders.

Moxie 710’s eCommerce Simplifies Purchasing

Utilizing eCommerce to process online orders works to a retail location’s advantage by streamlining the purchasing process for consumers. What this means is that impulse buys can be converted without worry of losing a sale. In a world where e-commerce dominates purchasing situations of goods and services, it’s no surprise that cannabis is starting to fall under the same purchasing methods.

See, the cannabis industry is quickly emerging and changes are being made day in and day out. The industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon and with e-commerce penetrating traditional purchasing methods, it’s no surprise that the top dispensaries are capable of taking orders online and fulfilling the cart before the consumer arrives.

It’s a pretty simple formula: online orders streamline the ordering process for your customers while giving you the opportunity to list all of your available retail items. Let the results of online ordering speak for itself!

Their menu is up-to-date and live-synced.

WebJoint offers live inventory adjustments for dispensaries.

Finding cannabis products that consumers enjoy and want to purchase comes down to being able to read the trends as they stand and adjust to the changes in purchasing habits. Trends in the industry are in a constant flux with new technology constantly being developed that customers want to get their hands on.

By updating your menu on a consistent basis or even better, live-syncing your inventory with your website, customers can be assured that they are able to get the product they want without having to organize a search party! Retail operations are centered on being able to provide satisfactory customer service and what better way than being able to guarantee your customer the product they are looking for?

Take influence from the best of the best—update your menu throughout the day and live-sync your inventory.

Rewards programs for their customers make sense!

Competitive rewards programs play on cannabis dispensary customer loyalty.

Creating a unique way to make sure that your customers return to your dispensary starts with the ability to offer a simple rewards program. Loyalty points, tiered rewards, and an MVP program are all ways to build customer retention.

Loyalty points can be used by customers to “bank and save” to put towards the purchasing of things like vape pen batteries, brand merchandise, and offer discounts on wax, eights, or joints. Tiered rewards allow for an initial customer retention method to be used by offering a way of “buying into” special offers that are exclusive to the selected tier membership at your dispensary. Some of the top dispensaries have begun to use MVP programs that allow members to take part in exclusive launch parties, networking events, and sneak-peeks into major adjustments being made!

Offering your customers a rewards program that is easy to understand and realistically tangible is an effective method of building your consumer base.

Budtenders take the initiative to educate clients.

WebJoint’s resource guides keep everyone from operators to consumers up-to-date on regulation changes.

When customers come into your retail location, your staff better be able to answer the questions that they have. Questions might range from a general cannabis topic about the state of the industry to particular regulations and even stretch to the source of origin for the cannabis product that they are purchasing.

Moreover, it’s critically important to be able to give customers resources to use in order to do additional research on cannabis, the available delivery methods, and brands that promote various practices to ensure a quality product.

As the industry is still fairly new to the recreational market, it’s important to remember that not all users have an incredible amount of experience. By being able to explain the role that THC, CBD, and terpenes play in cannabis products, your staff helps alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings that a first-time consumer may experience. Moreover, touching upon sublinguals, topicals, and the appropriate dosing for an enjoyable experience helps illustrate your concern for a customer’s well-being. And guess what—customers pay attention to this!

Consumers buy into what you represent as much as they buy into the actual products on your shelves. With this being said, it’s pertinent to the success of your dispensary to ben able to answer any and all questions on a level that satisfies your customer and leaves them wanting to return for more information.

The cannabis industry is on the ground floor and as an operator, you have a responsibility to your consumer to engage, educate, and empower individuals day-in and day-out.

Related: A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

Compliance is a cultural thing!

A culture of compliance is effective in satisfying the BCC during dispensary inspections.

Maintaining a “culture of compliance” is not only one way to ensure that you are capable of staying in business, but is pertinent to the overall “vibe” that your retail location carries with it on a daily basis. Avoiding simple compliance violations such as wearing name tags and having pre-packaged goods for your customers to choose from not only keeps you entirely “legal,” it says something deeper about the integrity of your retail location.

Consumers pay special attention to detail and although not every consumer is an expert on compliance, they notice the little things. Your dispensary’s characteristics should trickle down from a branding standpoint all the way to your staff and extend into the way that products are displayed. Compliance is certainly no easy task so as long as your staff is all on the same “wavelength,” chances are, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Be the type of location that provides customers with a clean, compliant way of purchasing cannabis goods!

Related: 5 Simple Compliance Violations Dispensaries Don’t Really Think About

Good habits means happy customers!

Competition in the cannabis industry is ramping up faster than anyone could’ve expected. Forming positive habits for your dispensary location solidifies your position as one of the top in the industry. Customers take note of these habits and gravitate towards those locations that can provide an online ordering platform, guarantee inventory, and use their rewards points as they wish! Be the type of dispensary that can educate consumers while boasting a culture of compliance and be ready to see customer retention increase!

We know that retail location habits extend further than this list. With that being said, what are some of the best habits that your retail location has formed in order to stay successful?

Comment below!

4 Regulations Changes for Dispensaries in California

Dispensaries have long been the kings of cannabis and as things turn up during the regulatory transition period, the BCC is slowly inching towards a final set of rules to adhere by. The competition is hotter than ever. Are you prepared to stay compliant and be one step ahead of the rest of the field?

As a storefront retailer, you have the opportunity to make a lasting impression on customers that come into your dispensary and keep them coming back by curating an irresistible experience each and every time. But, you can only do this if you’re a compliant business

Check out these 4 regulations changes for dispensaries in California!

A & M Licenses + Attached Fees

Associated fees to obtain a cannabis retail license in California.

Before July 1, 2018, to service both medicinal and recreational customers, two separate applications were required with the attached fees for each being due at the time of application submission. One of the major changes to this process since July 1 is the ability to submit a single application that encompasses both the medical and recreational market with cost of application not being due until the approval of an application.

This not only simplifies the application process for these looking to service both sides of the market, but allows for a little bit more of economic freedom to take place and a smaller overhead for any potential business owner.

Be sure to specify which category of business—A-U, Medical, or both—you’d like to participate in on your application!

Security Personnel Age Requirements

Dispensary security staff must be 21 or older.

The old regulations on security personnel didn’t have a set age limit or qualification for staff. This meant that almost anyone you hired over the age of 18 years old could play a part of your security team.

But those were the good old days; things are different now!

The BCC has ramped these requirements up to a minimum age requirement of 21 years of age and made it mandatory for all security personnel to be licensed/ accredited by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.

This is unfortunate for those under the age of 21, but there is something to be said about the level of maturity that comes with life experience and the 3 years of difference in age. As someone 21 and older, you not only are of age to legally consume cannabis (at will) but are capable of dealing with any legal situation that might arise at your dispensary.

After all, you wouldn’t want to leave the security of your business in the hands of someone that is bound to be younger than the majority of your customers, would you? Make sure your dispensary security is adequately aged and fit to perform whatever duty is necessary.

Related: 5 Simple Compliance Violations Dispensaries Don’t Really Think About

Cannabis Goods Display Limitations

Cannabis goods displays cannot be sold to consumers in CA dispensaries.

11 months ago, your customer could walk into your dispensary and pick out any jar of cannabis they wanted to smell or touch with the expectation of being sold what was about to be weighed out in front of them. Well, those days are long gone and the BCC has made it very clear that there are display standards to uphold when customers come into your location.

Check out our simple do’s and dont’s for cannabis displays below:


Ensure that cannabis not used for displays is locked and inaccessible to the general public.

-Display cannabis and report the display as use in METRC.

-Allow customers to smell samples and get hand-on with what they are going to purchase.

-Dispose of all cannabis on display in accordance to regulations.


-Sell cannabis that isn’t pre-packaged.

-Give samples to customers in-store.

-Sell the display package to a customer even if its the last one on shelves—this is a blatant violation and is sure to get a fine tacked onto your monthly expenses.

In a nutshell, cannabis can be displayed insofar as it is not to be offered for retail sales at any point. Cannabis not for display that is intended to be sold should be stored in a way that is not obtainable by the general public.

Verifying Customer Age. Every Time.

A-U customers must be 21 years of age or older while medicinal patients can be 18+

Each customer needs to be checked in at the front of your dispensary on each visit. Age requirements are 21+ for recreational users while those holding a valid MMID card can be 18 years of age and older. Appropriate forms of identification are state or government issued forms of identification including driver’s licenses and passports.

Checking in customers is a basic requirement that has been set by the BCC and the importance of this goes beyond just the regulations. Checking in customers works in more ways than just staying compliant. It helps keep track of the amount of foot traffic your dispensary is generating, resulting in an accumulation of wealth in data that should be used to your marketing department’s advantage.

Related: A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

The BCC doesn’t play around…

One slight hiccup can send your cannabis business tumbling.

Breaking down the cannabis regulations in California is a lot like trying to keep up with a toddler that is making their mind up at the dinner table—exhausting. Our goal is to provide you with an easy-to-digest list of the essentials that make your business run seamlessly in a time where everyone is struggling to understand the BCC changes.

Related: A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

Breaking Down CA Cannabis Taxes to Your Customers

Let’s tackle cannabis tax education.

Cannabis taxes don’t have to be confusing! Use this guide to break taxes down in an easy way!

This market looks nothing like what it used to a year ago. The newly regulated California cannabis industry has been through ups and downs with taxes taking a central position in the conversation. Information on recent changes for the entirety of the industry can be found in our Definitive Guide to California Compliance.

Taxation on cannabis goods means that there are “certain sales and cultivation taxes” (BCC) which have been implemented; and we all know Uncle Sam doesn’t let anything slide. This has caused some turmoil for those within the industry and in particular, for consumers. Reports show that after all of the taxes attached to cannabis—state excise, regular, and local business taxes—the black market is thriving more than ever as the result of tax percentages on a spectrum of 25-40%.

It’s not rare for customers to purchase a product and look at the bottom of the receipt to have their jaw drop at the breakdown of the taxes that have been tacked onto their most recent purchase. We all know what comes next—questions about who, what, when, where, why, and how these tax amounts came to be.

Be prepared by gaining a solid understanding of how taxes work (or don’t) in the CA market.

Let’s keep it simple.

Adult-Use (A-U) and Medical Tax Differences

The difference between A-U and medicinal taxes varies by city!

Not everyone who purchases cannabis is subject to equal taxes. Medical patients are not required to participate in state taxes, but are required to pay local and excise tax. This means that their total for purchases will be lower than that of a recreational user without proper state-supplied MMIC/MMICP cards.

Related: A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

15% California Excise Tax

Excise tax is the state’s mandatory cannabis tax.

Excise tax is collected by distributors from retailers, which retailers then pass onto consumers. To complicate the matter, it isn’t concretely explained as to whether or not this tax should be listed onto the retail price of the product, resulting in confusion when the time to collect money from your customer comes.

The BCC has proposed that the revenue collected from this tax gets put towards cannabis research at UCSD and social equity programs for high-risk areas that have previously been affected by drug use. Law enforcement research with the purpose of developing an accurate way to measure intoxication for drivers and a program that takes environmental cleanup as its subject are among the other places that excise tax dollars are allocated.

8-12% State Sales Tax

Sales tax is only used for non-medicinal transactions.

Generally speaking, the state sales tax is dependent upon your location in California. This tax typically varies from 8-12 percent in some areas and is collected at the time of purchase for Adult-Use (A-U) customers.

MMIC/MMICP patients that adhere with the state’s medicinal program are entirely absolved of this tax category and funds collected for A-U customers are allocated with public safety and local transportation improvements.

5-15% Cannabis Business Tax

Local governments need a piece of the cake and have made it clear that they need to take home part of the cake. It’s not uncommon for these tax rates to fluctuate between 5-15% depending on the city or country that you are located in. This category of taxation and the amount collected is left entirely up to the local officials.

Related: 5 Effective Ways to Lower Your 280E Taxes by Aviva Spectrum

Are taxes going to be this way forever?

The countdown to finalized BCC regulations has started!

We sure hope not! The percentage of taxes currently hurts the legitimate market more than helping it succeed. Running a legal operation that has to compete with the illicit market as a result of taxes has proven to be a difficult task for everyone involved. Consumers don’t want to have to pay taxes upwards of 40% when they can go down the street to an illicit shop and receive the same product for that much less.

In one way, taxes have aided in the allocation of revenue to programs that look out fo rate public’s best interest and with future development of the industry in mind. In another, it has allowed for the illicit market to thrive more than ever.

Explaining the way that these taxes are allocated not only educates your customer on how complicated the regulated cannabis market is, but also helps illustrate the reason that illicit shops are still up and running with a high success rate. Taxation is part of the legitimization of the industry and although more complicated than it needs to be, it’s what we all have to work with at the time being.

Educate your customers, push them to petition for change, and know that everyone is riding the same tax wave that you are!

How have California taxes impacted the way that you do business?

Related: 5 Regulation Changes for California Cannabis Delivery Services

Comment below!

5 Regulation Changes for California Cannabis Delivery Services

Are you up to date with the latest cannabis delivery regulations?

The onslaught of cannabis regulation changes has made the market difficult to navigate in a fully compliant way. If you feel as though there are adjustments being made on a daily basis, you’re in the same boat as the rest of the industry! Lucky for you, we’ve broken down the 5 biggest changes that your delivery service needs to know about in order to stay compliant and be successful!

1. Driver Kit Values

Cannabis goods need to be in a locked container!

The initial emergency regulations that were proposed by the Bureau limited the amount of product capable of being transported to a mere $3,000 in retail value. This not only limited the amount of product that a delivery driver could carry in their delivery kit, but resulted in an inefficient way of making deliveries.

The Bureau has since increased the amount from $3,000 to $5,000. This means that the total retail value of the products that your delivery drivers are carrying must not exceed the total amount of $5,000 at any given time. More importantly, is the new regulation which mandates that drivers must not have more than $3000 worth of product in their vehicle without an order being received and processed prior to a driver being dispatched.

This increased limit means that your drivers are able to carry a larger variety of products in their driver kits, freeing up the options that your customers have made available to them. It also means that your drivers can stay out longer to complete transactions with a fully stocked car that doesn’t jeopardize the ability to make deliveries on-the-fly.

Another aspect of cannabis deliveries to consider is the amount of time your staff is allowed to be away from the dispatch location in-between deliveries. Drivers are allotted a 30-minute window in-between drop-offs before having to return to the primary dispatch center.

What we can suggest is keeping to the 30-minute limitation that is allowed for stops in-between deliveries and orders placed.

Stay under the $5,000 limit and you’re good to go!

2. Securing Cannabis Goods

Keep under the required limit for both compliance & safety reasons.We’d be lying if we said that security wasn’t a major concern of the regulated market. Adjusted regulations now mandate that in order to properly secure cannabis goods for your delivery drivers, the goods must be in a locked container within the vehicle and be accessible only to the driver of the vehicle being used to make deliveries.

The Bureau has made it clear that the trunk of the car is to be considered a part of the vehicle that can be used to fulfill this new security requirement. There are no specifications on the type, size, or material of container that can be used.

As a delivery service, it may comfort you to know that there are requirements on vehicle alarm systems and a lack of requirements for any specific lock box to be used. You can rest assured that you have freedom in choice of lock boxes or containers and know that in the case of your vehicle being tampered with, an alarm system will draw attention to it.

Remember: drivers need to use the trunk or a lock box to secure goods and all vehicles must have an alarm system.

3. Reporting Sales On-the-Fly with a Live Ledger

Sales should be reported as they happen.

To successfully stay within compliance, all sales must be recorded in-between deliveries that are made by drivers. In addition to this, there must be a live inventory adjustment that takes place in-between sales. This means that after each delivery made, your driver must adjust the digital or physical ledger that is carried with them on every delivery.

The ledger is essentially a document that lists all cannabis products in your driver’s possession at any given time. It must include the type of cannabis product, retail price, brand, CCTT number, and appropriate weight, volume, or number of total pieces per package.

Inventory management and reporting to METRC is a huge concern of the Bureau’s for all sectors of the cannabis industry. Delivery services looking to be effective and in this market for “the long run” should make sure that their employees are trained with the adequate skillset to fulfill the requirement.

It’s as simple as making a delivery, reporting the sale to METRC, and updating the delivery ledger to reflect changes made in real-time inventory. Having a mobile point-of-sale system that automates this definitely works to your advantage.

READ: 5 Questions Customers Will ASk That Your Delivery Service Staff Should Be Able to Answer 

4. Real-Time Tracking of Drivers

Tookan makes two-way communication between consumers & delivery service drivers a breeze! Keeping safety in mind, the Bureau has made it a mandatory requirement to be able to locate and track delivery drivers as they are completing their duties. This means that real-time tracking of your drivers has taken an advanced step towards making your delivery service look like the Uber Eats of cannabis.

It also means that with a proper delivery management system, you can communicate in real-time with your drivers and your customers can get an accurate idea of when their product will arrive. In addition to live tracking, dispatch managers must be able to pull up a real-time reflection of the location of each driver as well as the estimated time that each destination is reached. A destination log of each planned drop-off as well as the recorded time with each transaction is one way that deliveries can be made to be more efficient while collecting data that can be used to increase the overall efficiency of your cannabis deliveries.

With a destination log and inventory management system that places a time stamp on everything and can locate your drivers in real-time, you’re sure to keep the Bureau on your side!

5. Making Additional Stops Comes with Limitations

There’s a penalty for making additional stops!

Your delivery service drivers are allowed to make momentary stops for each of the following: Fuel, Vehicle Repairs, & Rest for any “reasonable” amount of time.

Although the first two are clearly defined, the amount of time allotted for rest is rather murky. Making additional stops for lunch, to visit a friend, or make a delivery that isn’t on your ledger is putting your toes in hot water—don’t do it!

Related: 7 Questions to Ask When Purchasing Software for Your Cannabis Delivery Service

Efficient Deliveries are Compliant Ones!

Cannabis delivery services race against the clock to satisfy customers!

New delivery service regulations aren’t overly complicated and making necessary adjustments to your operation should take a top priority if you want to become a household name in delivery services available. We’ll do our best to keep you up to speed as these regulations are finalized, but you know just as well as we do that things could change at the flip of a switch!

Keep up-to-date with the changes as they occur and subscribe to our blog below!

5 Simple Compliance Violations Dispensaries Don’t Really Think About

Practicing a culture of compliance is a quick and easy way to make sure that your license is not put in jeopardy. Keeping compliant in this legalization time period is an adjustment for all and although not easy, is absolutely necessary.

With the public commenting period coming to a close soon, you should be buckling down and getting one step ahead of the game. As if, getting ahead isn’t enough though, stay ahead by avoiding these 5 common compliance issues.

Are you selling display products?

Lowell Farms takes sets the standard with their brand displays.

California legalization has made it increasingly difficult to maintain a standard of compliant practices. It’s not uncommon for the display package of a particular item to be the last one in stock. What should be as simple as selling your customer the last of the products available, is actually not so easy!

Selling the display product of anything your dispensary carries is a violation of BCC regulations that can cause you to be fined and puts your license at risk of being suspended. You may want to try hiring an inventory manager that maintains the integrity of your stock so that you never run into a situation where your customer is left disappointed. Make sure your staff is well-informed of this violation so you can continue to operate in a way that satisfies the Bureau and keeps your customers happy!

Let’s be clear— there are to be no displays sold, regardless of how badly your customer wants the product.

Related: A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

Are you using electronic inventory management?

Daily sales reports, pending orders, and customer information in one location.

Running a dispensary currently on a temporary license? Don’t worry—it seems like everyone is too! As we wait for METRC to go live, it’s a good idea to start to think about the ways in which you can “get a jump” on practicing good inventory management practices.

Keeping records of all movements of cannabis starting with a change in custody from a brand’s distributor in a room-to-room, sale-by-sale basis is an effective way to roll out good habits. Verifying licenses, shipping manifest information, and making sure that inventory management is taken seriously puts you in a position that protects your shop.

Inventory management is a full-time job and treating it like this as you await the issuance of your permanent license will make things easier by a factor of 10—guaranteed! Furthermore, there are 3 ways that your inventory needs to match up once every 30 days:

1. Physically in your cannabis dispensary storage areas.

2. Within your point-of-sale system.

3. In the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace (CCTT) as it is in accordance with METRC.

Starting early will make your business transition as smoothly as possible when things really go ‘live.’

Poor Reporting Habits

WebJoint’s Dashboard gives you data on sales, pending orders, and total revenue.

Time and time again, I hear horror stories being told about failing to implement a satisfactory way of reporting. I’d like to be direct here—cannabis licenses aren’t expensive, so stop acting like reporting shouldn’t take a priority.

This new age of legal cannabis expects a lot from your dispensary as CCTT is being fulfilled with the use of METRC. Reporting sales everyday by hand at the end of the day not only wastes time that you don’t have, but think about what happens when you make an error in your entry. It puts METRC out of balance which then makes you the center of attention; and believe me, it’s not the kind of attention you’ll enjoy.

Investing in a point-of-sale system that automatically integrates with METRC and sends real-time adjustments for sales reports not only eliminates the need for manual labor, but keeps you compliant as a business when the BCC wants on-demand sales & inventory reports.

Put simply: everything that comes in needs to be recorded, everything that leaves your store needs to be recorded, and everything you buy or use for display…you guessed it…needs to be recorded!

Are you packaging properly?

STIIIZY is a leader in compliant packaging and a top-notch provider of high-quality products.

If you’ve been in the scene for the entirety of this year, you know exactly why this is an important part of legalization. It’s also easy to understand why this is a common compliance issue in dispensaries and a common source of compliance “tug of war.”

Exit bags are booming in the Nevada marketplace and are being branded for specific companies to use as a way of staying within compliance. In California, it’s no different! Although the latest regulations don’t require child-resistant packaging until 2020, it’s a great idea to get ahead of the game and be prepared for final requirements.

Slap your dispensary name or brand on an exit bag that is opaque and child-resistant that can be re-used by your customers. It not only acts as a tool for compliance, but is essentially a free way to market your brand when customers hang out with people that indulge in cannabis.

As it stands currently, all products in your shop should be lab tested and labeled with the official health warning, California Universal Symbol for cannabis products, and have child-resistant, tamper-evident packaging.

Avoid fines, take your time, and do things right!

How do your budtenders identify themselves?

Make it easy for budtenders to be identified with name tags!

If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone and forgotten what their name is or never had the opportunity to confirm their identity then you can relate to how nice it is for identification badges of dispensary employees to be mandated.

Each employee is required to have an identification badge. These badges need to have a color picture, company name, license number, first and last name of the employee, and their individual employee number.

Dimensions of the picture on employee badges need to be at least 1 inch wide x 1.5 inches in height and printed on laminated or plastic coated cards which are worn at all times.

Although a small requirement, it is a mandatory one and not only adheres to compliance, but “ups” the game of your dispensary aesthetic. Engage your customers, make them feel comfortable in your shop, and give them reason to come back!

Related: Customer Service Best Practices for Your Dispensary

Compliance is lurking…

Compliance is a 24/7 job that everyone is responsible for upholding.

Few absolutes in this industry exist, but one that certainly does revolves around compliance. At the end of the day, it keeps your dispensary open and keeps the green flowing by having a cannabis shop that can operate properly.

It’s no secret: fines take revenue from your dispensary, bring a negative light to your shop, and can easily be avoided by paying meticulous attention to detail when compliance takes priority.

Related: A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

California Dispensary Best Practices for Compliance

Compliance is up to you –

Legal cannabis in the state of California has proven to show that there is a large learning curve for all sectors of the industry. Nowadays, first-time & experienced consumers find value in visiting clean, reputable retail locations which are known for having the best products.

What this means for the future of your dispensary, is the ability to impact a larger number of individuals on a daily basis. If your dispensary follows this shift in cannabis consumer behavior, you have the ability to capitalize on the recent trends and promote lifestyle products that influence a change in culture.

An important question to ask yourself during this time of infinite expansion is whether or not your location is fully prepared to handle the flux of customers when taking compliance into consideration.

Infrastructure starts with the hardware you choose to check in patients & manage inventory or make sales, but it doesn’t end there.

We’ve previously discussed the important questions to consider when choosing a POS, but it’s time to consider how revenue and infrastructure go hand-in-hand with the successful operation of your dispensary!

How are you keeping your backups?

Cloud-based and physical storage are viable options for protecting your data.

Mandatory video surveillance steps up to the plate when securing your location, but how do you secure your current security program? Cloud drive? Physical hard drive? Both?

The answer to this question can be the difference between staying compliant and falling into the dangerous realm of non-compliance.

What about your physical documents? We’re talking about the entirety of your dispensary records: shipping manifests, request receipts, laboratory testing results, transfer of custody paperwork, certificates of analysis (COA). There’s more— live inventory, sales & purchase orders, METRC reports, permits, insurance paperwork, location diagrams, employee information—you get the point!

An easy way to protect your business is by making sure you have a backup drive (or two) that routinely stores all of this information in a secure location—how you choose that location, is up to you!

As your dispensary grows, so too should your backup drives. Make sure that each is large enough to hold the full capacity of your business documents. You should be aiming to expand your data storage “arsenal” as your business grows, being sure to retain the necessary documents for specified reporting schedules.

Security is just as much of a virtual objective as it is a physical one so double check that your computers aren’t at risk of being jeopardized in case of a security breach. Routinely changing the passwords to accounts and updating them after an employee has left your business can help keep everything organized and avoid unforeseeable issues.

Be weary of “putting all your eggs in one basket” and create a multi-layered approach to accessing documents. It’d be a shame to stop operations for any period of time due to the loss of data.

Is your internet as powerful as it needs to be?

Enterprise-level internet capabilities can help avoid simple issues before they begin.

An increase in customers means an increase in the rate of processing information on sales and reporting to METRC as necessary. Electronic point-of-sale systems do their part in making inventory management and sales more efficient, but ride on the premise of being connected to the internet.

Wireless connectivity for point-of-sale systems are just one half of the equation though.

The second half has to do with video surveillance at your dispensary. Video surveillance must be accessed from a wi-fi source at all times, making it critically important that wi-fi connectivity is ensured. Permanent cameras installed in proper locations keep your dispensary safe and place compliance at the forefront of daily activities, although they do so in a passive way.

Maintaining a live connection to your point-of-sale and video surveillance systems works two-fold:

It keeps you compliant with the ability to ensure practice of proper reporting standards such as METRC reporting.

Connectivity to the internet is what nearly all business operations are rooted in. When’s the last time your dispensary was up and running without the internet? Think about it—your dispensary needs it!

This isn’t brought to your attention to scare you, but instead to illustrate small details that you can examine. Be proactive to growth rather than reactive to failing infrastructure by upgrading your internet services as your business scales.

It might be helpful to research the bandwidth of your internet as you add point-of-sale systems to your location or change the software you are currently using. Enterprise-level infrastructure aids in optimizing your business by being able to support technological features. The increased stacking of tech devices such as video cameras, wireless printers, and point-of-sale systems means that wifi experiences bottlenecks and slows down business.

Related: 5 Simple Compliance Violations Dispensaries Don’t Really Think About

Are you taking advantage of digital payment solutions?

alt thirty six is backed by DASH and offers cryptocurrency payment options.

Yes, you read that right.

Digital payment solutions are currently being introduced to the cannabis industry by way of alt thirty six, a platform that uses the DASH cryptocurrency as a form of solutions to the cash-only issue.

Now before you start heading down the “I’ve heard this/ that about cryptocurrency” route, let’s explain this in the simplest way possible:

DASH is a cryptocurrency that has the capabilities of transferring between parties in an instantaneous way. This means that there is no need to worry about market fluctuation or volatility of the price of DASH. Which also means that you can be sure you’re receiving $100 when you’re being told you are being given $100.

What’s more is that DASH is easy to setup, fast to use, and rides on the blockchain wave—another term you’ve probably heard of recently.

DASH operates as ‘digital cash’ and is incredibly secure. Each transaction is added to a virtual & unchangeable ledger, resulting in being able to “track-and-trace” each and every single dollar that is brought into your dispensary.

Unlike physical cash, cryptocurrency is federally unregulated and can be accessed digitally on just about any mobile device that has internet connectivity, making it a vital asset to cash-only businesses such as canal is dispensaries. The days of having to sit on cash or find a way to store it are slowly disappearing with the ability to use cryptocurrency.

One other cool thing about digital payment solutions like DASH is that there is simply no physical cash involved with each transaction. This makes your dispensary secure by limiting the amount of cash on-hand and reducing the possibility of employee theft (although we’re not saying every employee would do such a thing).

Stand out by offering a fast, secure, and creative way of taking payments for your cannabis goods! It’s sure to get the conversation going!

Keep a culture of compliance!

Take a multifaceted approach to protecting your dispensary.

Securing your dispensary as one that actively engages compliance and takes proactive steps to ensure a fluid, frictionless experience for your customers is sure to place you among the best of the best. Keeping a stable enterprise-level infrastructure is one way to stay ahead of unforeseen issues and maintain your operating capabilities.

As a business owner, what are some ways that you like to ensure infrastructure is up-to-date? What are other retail “best practices” that every owner should be aware of? Comment below!

Related: A Definitive Guide to Compliance — California Cannabis Dispensaries

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