3 Things to Consider When Selecting a Scale for Cannabis Retail

One of the most important elements of cannabis retail compliance is accurately selling products by weight. A dispensary’s inventory may include a variety of cannabis offerings, including packages of marijuana buds or flowers, edibles, vaping supplies, or containers of shatter (cannabis concentrate), topicals (ointments and creams) and marijuana extracts. Scales for cannabis ensure you are not over- or under-charging customers and assist in inventory tracking at a medical marijuana dispensary or cannabis retail outlet, regardless of the product you sell. Running a business that sells products by weight is impossible without the proper scale, so make sure you choose the one that addresses your business needs and adheres to local and state cannabis laws.

The standards and regulations for cannabis scales vary by state, so choose the scale that will keep you in compliance and accurately serve your customers. Here are three main features you should look for when shopping for a scale for cannabis:

  1. Weigh to one-hundredth of a gram: Anyone shopping for a scale for cannabis should brush up on the metric system. Metric isn’t standard in the U.S., but scales for cannabis measure in grams. Although it’s commonly thought that an ounce of is 28 grams, it’s actually 28.349 grams—so don’t short your customers by rounding. Most scales will weigh to the tenth of a gram, but it’s recommended that scales for cannabis weight to the one-hundredth of a gram (0.01) for a higher degree of accuracy. This is important because it tells the customer they are receiving the exact amount of product they’re paying for, it ensures the cannabis retailer is receiving the correct payment, and it maintains accurate inventory records.

 

  1. NTEP Certification: The National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP), overseen by the National Conference on Weights and Measures, covers every aspect of a scale’s use, including capacity, accuracy and the effects of temperature fluctuations on the scale’s operation. The standards are developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A local weights and measures official will use NIST standards when inspecting your scale and sealing/certifying it for legal use. Every NTEP approved scale will have a NTEP certificate of conformance (CoC) number that an inspector can use to verify the scale has been certified. However, a CoC doesn’t mean plug and play—call your local regulatory agency for the proper procedure before using the scale.

 

  1. Class II NTEP Balance: A NTEP CoC means the scale is legal for trade and able to be used to sell product by weight. However, there are different classes of accuracy. Class II is a higher accuracy scale that applies to lab scales as opposed to industrial or retail equipment. This higher class of scale can be used in medical or scientific uses such as pharmacy, laboratory, and compounding, which require precise measurements. Most states require cannabis retail stores to have a Class II digital scale.

 

Medical marijuana and cannabis retailers are legal in more than half of the U.S., but requirements for how you run your business will vary depending on your location.  With products sold by weight and strict regulatory requirements, investing in the right scale will be vital to your profitability and compliance. Carefully evaluate your options and make the right choice for your business.

What’s Next for Cannabis Retail?

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Cannabis legalization is not just creating more business opportunities for recreational dispensaries, but for the point of sale industry as well. Star Micronics has found ourselves rapidly gaining popularity among the cannabis point of sale market and are looking forward to what lies ahead.

First, it’s important to consider the fact that the legal cannabis market is growing quickly with no intention to slow down. The legal cannabis market was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 17%. This is more than 8 times the growth rate of the beer and liquor store market in the U.S.

While the cannabis market is growing, there are still issues with marijuana businesses and traditional banking, which means it has mostly been a cash-only industry. While this can serve as an inconvenience for those who frequent recreational cannabis dispensaries, it helps us point of sale folk to keep in the market by providing receipts printers and cash drawers for these businesses. With more states beginning to legalize recreational marijuana use, we can predict that more people will begin to heavily invest in this market, and smaller dispensary businesses will soon be able to fold into larger companies.

In addition to the issues that cannabis businesses face with banking and financial services, recreational marijuana dispensaries are required to practice “seed to sale” tracking compliance. For those unfamiliar with this term, the “seed to sale law” requires every marijuana producing plant to be tracked through each stage of its life, from cultivation to the point of sale.

With this in mind, software developers are working to create point of sale systems that help dispensaries to easily manage their seed to sale tracking, as well as perform other daily functions that your average retailer would need. For this detailed and complicated task, there is simply too much risk of human error for dispensaries to not use a retail management solution. This is where we begin to see the cannabis market booming in the point of sale industry.

So, what can we predict for the future of cannabis retail?

In the recent U.S. election, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada all passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana. While there are still tax and licensing provisions that will not take effect until January 2018, we can expect a major growth in legal marijuana sales, with California forecast to dominate the market. California, being the oldest medical cannabis state and the largest cannabis consumer population, is predicted to reach $7.6 billion in annual marijuana sales by 2020.

Similar to the online ordering trend among restaurant take-out and delivery services, we may be looking at the future of remote ordering for cannabis sales. California delivery startup, Eaze, has procured more than $25 million in multiple rounds of funding in the hopes of being the largest provider of on-demand cannabis delivery.

With the advances of technology and innovation in legal cannabis sales, Star Micronics is very excited to continue to provide support for this emerging market and see our partners grow along the way.