It’s hard to imagine that just over 20 years ago, in 1996, California was the first state to legalize Medical Cannabis. In November of 2012, recreational consumption was approved here in Colorado and Washington state, and has since grown by another 500%. Fast forward to today and there are 29 states and Washington, D.C. supporting Medical Cannabis, and recreational use is now supported in 9 states + D.C.. Like any fast growing business, the early days are usually a bit ‘loose & fast’ since no one really knows what to expect and how to address the opportunities presenting themselves.
Today many of the common business challenges are settling in on industry operators; Inventory management, sell-through, long customer lines and the huge elephant in the room, cash inventory.
In talking with dispensary operators in Colorado, California and Washington, we’ve learned the business challenges are effectively the same, although each state has its own regulatory environment, we see a normalization of regs from state to state forming. This is an important trend as it helps lay the foundation to enable operational standardization in the industry, driving down costs.
Our team has been hard at work to help solve the 3 biggest pain points dispensary operators have said are keeping them up at night:
- Cash Inventory – We work with organizations and their financial institutions to help solve the cash inventory problem by enabling alternative payment channels that meet the current regulatory restrictions and guidance. We’ve also created closed loop solutions, which reduce the need for cash and increase customer loyalty and engagement.
- Long wait times (reduced sell-through) – Predicting demand and the associated customer waiting times is tough, not to mention the measurable impact on your bottom line. We bring the benefits of disparate solutions together by enabling a complete e-commerce shopping experience, self-service pick-up and pay, and identify verification steps that exceed all current state regulatory requirements – without increasing staffing.
- Supply chain management/inventory control – As legalization continues to expand, supply chain management will become increasingly critical. While the governments track plant-to-product-to-consumption, it is imperative that industry operators understand the importance of this technology and how to best deploy it. Many dispensary operators have learned that there is no single system that meets all the needs of the operation; is it POS software, warehouse/logistic applications, accounting software, ecommerce systems? The simple answer is yes, it takes all of them, but not without your strategy first.
As Cannabis and Hemp products grow in mainstream appeal and adoption, here and abroad, consumers willing to wait in line will rapidly decline. The acceptance of low or no inventory issues will evaporate. The operators that accept the status quo will lose business to the shops that solve these demand realities now.