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.

The Future of Cannabis Retail is Looking Good

 

The retail cannabis industry is growing fast, $75 billion by 2030 fast.

But let’s look at the nearer future. According to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, by 2021 the cannabis market is expected to reach $24.5 billion. Currently, cannabis is legal in 9 states for recreational use while 30 states have legalized cannabis for medical usage.

With such a high market growth expectancy, dispensaries sell a variety of cannabis products in the forms of hash, rosin, shatter, and oils which can be smoked or vaped. In addition, as many are aware, cannabis is also sold in the forms of candy and baked goods. As for pharmaceutical use, cannabis contains cannabidiol (CBD) which when used in the form of candy or oil aids in the treatment of pain and epilepsy. Now that sounds pretty good.

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There’s no doubt that cannabis has health benefits that aid in the relief of:

  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Arthritis
  • Dravet’s Syndrome
  • Mental health symptoms
  • Etc…

But what about benefits for businesses?

Well, as was mentioned earlier, legal cannabis reached $9.7 billion in sales in 2017.

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But let’s dig a little deeper into the facts and figures…

By 2021, marijuana sales are expected to reach a whopping $24.5 billion. Younger generations are turning to cannabis consumption and slowly turning away from alcohol. This has resulted in a decrease in binge drinking, 9% below the nation’s average, in the states where marijuana is legalized. Funnily enough, the industry’s sales will be led by people 55 and older. With such a diverse market, the cannabis industry is opening up multiple opportunities for businesses to flourish.

The increased popularity, and acceptance, of the cannabis industry is leading to the establishment of more small businesses with an increase in employment opportunities. With cannabis stores becoming more common in legalized states, the industry of creating products to efficiently, and legally, weigh and sell marijuana to meet regulations are necessary for the success of the business. Additionally, with cannabis being legalized all over Canada, there may even be a possibility that the East coast will speed up its state adoption for recreational use.

Regardless, cannabis is creating a diverse industry that includes the need for different markets to ensure its success, thus providing a positive impact on the nation’s economy.

The Cannabis POS Industry

With Cannabis creating such a diverse industry, it only makes sense that businesses will need reliable POS systems…

Keep in mind that the cannabis industry is different than your average retail business.

There are multiple rules and regulations that need to be followed in order to ensure that your business is legal. Here are some key points to remember when choosing your POS system:

  1. Cannabis is a cash business
  2. Sensitive scales are a necessity
  3. Labels are regulated
  4. Receipts are essential

 

For more details about Cannabis Point of Sale,  download our FREE eBook and explore our new Cannabis POS collection   

3 Things Cannabis Retailers Need to Know About Cannabis Receipt Regulations

Running a marijuana dispensary requires in-depth knowledge of the local laws and meticulous recordkeeping including retaining copies of each cannabis receipt.

Running a medical or retail marijuana dispensary requires in-depth knowledge of the local laws and meticulous recordkeeping including retaining copies of each cannabis receipt. As of April 2017, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana, which can be used to treat several illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, inflammation, pain, mental disorders and substance abuse, among others. In addition, 9 states have legalized recreational use. That means cannabis retailers are legally operating in more than half of the U.S.

Their businesses can be very different, however, depending on the states in which they are located.  One difference is startup costs. For example, annual licensing fees range from $3,000 in Colorado to $75,000 Connecticut. States may also require a minimum of liquid capital, some places as high as $250,000, so it’s imperative you protect your investment with perfect recordkeeping of every transaction. Retaining a copy of every cannabis receipt ensures your dispensary follows state and local laws and protects your business in the event of an audit.

What should the receipt include? How can you prove your business is operating in compliance with state and local laws? The cannabis receipt provided to the customer proves you are collecting all the relevant taxes and dispensing marijuana legally.

If you are considering opening a marijuana dispensary or you want to make sure your business is operating in compliance with your state’s laws and make sure you are correctly formatting and recording cannabis receipts, your point of sale (POS) system is the perfect tool to manage this requirement.

1. Check the Specific Requirements in Your State

Understand your state’s tax laws to ensure you are charging the correct amount. For example, in California, retailers charge a consumer-excise and sales tax, while in Colorado, cannabis is subject to different taxation, whether it’s classified as medical or retail marijuana. It’s important to stay up to date on changing tax laws to ensure you are collecting the correct percentage. Failure to comply could subject your business to fines and added scrutiny.

 2. Manage Copies of Cannabis Receipts

Use your POS system to send a backup copy of each cannabis receipt to the cloud or store the backup offsite. If you are issuing receipts with carbon copy paper, staple or clip the receipts together. It’s also a good idea to keep important financial records, licensing information and other sensitive financial paperwork in a secure place outside of the dispensary. Retain all records for a minimum of three years in case of an audit.

 3. Include All Required Information on the Cannabis Receipt

Although the exact information you include will depend on your state’s laws, most receipts will include store name and address, the category of taxable products or product category name/product name. Receipts should also include a code or other identifier for the product’s taxes. There may be additional requirements, however. In Oregon, it’s required to list the sale subtotal before tax, amount of state tax, local tax, total sale amount and identifying receipt number. A disclaimer stating that receipts are required for customer tax disputes is also required.

The cannabis industry is promising for dispensaries, but it is tightly regulated by the states where marijuana has been legalized. Give your business the best chance for compliance and success with a POS system equipped with state-of-the-art printers to meet regulatory requirements while providing convenient customer experiences at the checkout.

Contact the experts at Star to learn more about ideal solutions for the cannabis industry.

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.

Gorge Greenery Grows Their Business with Star Micronics and Green Bits

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Gorge Greenery, the only Clean Green Certified recreational marijuana dispensary in the Columbia Gorge, prides itself on providing the highest quality cannabis products from the best producers and growers in Oregon. Gorge Greenery was able to find a simple, yet reliable point of sale solution for their upcoming dispensary through Green Bits and Star Micronics.

Gorge Greenery had no choice but to install a cloud-based point of sale system in their dispensary. A cloud-based system was the best option for Gorge Greenery to keep their initial investment at a reasonable cost, while also having the ability to access live sales information and reports from anywhere, at any time, without remote access software. “Our ability to remotely log-in from anywhere via the cloud was key,” says Kirsten Cook, Owner of Gorge Greenery.

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After researching their options, Gorge Greenery found Green Bits’ point of sale software with Star Micronics’ peripherals to be their best option. Green Bits application suite along with Star’s Bluetooth printer is what won over Gorge Greenery.

The ability to operate the point of sale on mobile devices and Apple iPads® that function seamlessly with Star’s TSP650IIBTi printer, was a true selling point for Gorge Greenery. The Green Bits software allowed dispensary management to easily see customer sales, state compliance, inventory management, and sales analyses reports all on one, easy-to-use platform.

The Green Bits and Star Micronics point of sale system was a huge benefit to Gorge Greenery. The solution gave them the ability to keep track of sales and analytics by budtender in order to see which employees are performing well, compared to which ones could use further training. Gorge Greenery can now also keep track of cash management, inventory control, and hourly sales reports which in turn help them to efficiently schedule and decrease their labor costs.

 

“This technology allows us to present and expedite a professional experience to our customers. We are able to streamline the point of purchase process by four-fold. The Green Bits iPad-based system with Star’s wireless printer has helped us to reduce clutter, resulting in a huge increase of impulse sales at the point of purchase.” – Kirsten Cook, Owner of Gorge Greenery.

Download the full success story here: Gorge-Greenery-Case-Study