The cannabis industry is booming – and it’s expected to continue doing so. According to Grand View Research, the global legal marijuana market is expected to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025, and each year brings new legalization across the world.
Whether you’re in the business of opening a cannabis business yourself or are looking to provide cannabis point of sale (POS) solutions to your customers, it’s important to understand the critical role cannabis POS hardware has and how to determine which products are right for your business.
Why Star for Cannabis?
Before we dive into the list of must-have cannabis POS hardware, let’s explore Star’s qualifications in the cannabis industry, and why you can trust our knowledge in the space.
Star is the top POS hardware provider in the cannabis industry. A true one-stop shop, we provide all the hardware solutions a dispensary could need, from front of house dispensary sales to labeling and weighing product during curation. Additionally, Star has integrations with approximately 85% of all cannabis POS software on the market today.
The Star team has a distinct understanding of the need for cannabis dispensaries to keep extremely detailed records –including inventory and movement of the product. We also understand that cannabis dispensaries tend to have a very clean and modern aesthetic, and have designed our products to fit that sleek standard.
Must-Have Cannabis POS Hardware
Now that we’ve covered Star’s qualifications and position in the cannabis industry, let’s get started with the ultimate list of must-have cannabis POS hardware. It’s important to note that while Star offers an entire portfolio of cannabis POS hardware, we don’t want to box anyone in, and this list can be referred to as a vendor-neutral guide, as well.
Receipt printers are extremely important in the cannabis market. When it comes to cannabis, proof of legal purchase is key – and there’s no better way to provide it than with a receipt printer. In some places, like Canada, it is illegal to possess cannabis deemed illicit, and without proof of purchase, all cannabis is assumed to be illicit. Carrying that illicit cannabis could result in a $5,000 fine or a five-year prison sentence! In the US, laws vary greatly by state and must also be carefully obeyed.
Along with providing proof of purchase, it’s important to note that depending on your region, receipts must also contain other information, like store name and address, product category/name, and the appropriate tax code/identifier.
Star’s Pick: mC-Print3
When you choose a sleek, modern, and connected printer, like the Star mC-Print3, legality and stylishness coexist to strengthen your brand.
Next on our list is another kind of printer: the label printer. An important part of seed-to-sale tracking, printed labels have an important role in the entire cannabis production and retail process. Seed-to-sale tracking is a key requirement in cannabis regulatory models, and refers to the process of tracking plants and their byproducts from planting all the way through to the plant’s sale. Star is proud that its label printers are used by many cannabis ISVs for proper labeling during this process.
Star’s Pick: TSP743II
Label printing is made easy with the Star TSP743II, which features fast printing speed, high reliability, web and cloud connectivity, and more.
Custom Cannabis Labels
As mentioned above, labels are incredibly important for the cannabis industry. Star currently offers cannabis labels pre-printed with official, state-required universal symbols. These pre-printed cannabis labels are available in various sizes for all recreational markets.
Yet another critical piece of cannabis POS hardware is the scale – but not just any scale will do. First, you must ensure the scale you are considering is legal to use in your state and NTEP-certified. Being certified means that the scales are ensured to charge the correct amount for the product being weighed. Another great feature to look for is a scale that is integrated directly into the POS. Why? Reduced risk of human error that is associated with standalone scales that cannot integrate with the POS.
Star’s Pick: mG-Scales
All three scales in the mG-Scales series are NTEP-certified and offer software support for Windows, iOS, and Android, making the process of adding a scale to an existing system a simple process. They are certified to sell cannabis in Washington, Alaska, and California, and come with a waterproof and dust-proof cover. Each scale has the ability to connect through three types of interfaces including Bluetooth BLE, USB, and Serial. The scales can be powered through an outlet or by battery to allow for portable use.
Chances are you’re aware that the cannabis industry is currently predominately powered by cash. While marijuana is legal in many parts of the country, it remains illegal under federal law, which means dispensaries’ access to credit card processing options is slim. Thus, a reliable, high volume cash drawer is key!
Star’s Pick: Star CD3-1616
A part of the Star Value Cash Drawers line, the CD3-1616 is affordability meets performance. With a size of 16” x 16”, this cash drawer can accommodate a high volume of cash, is made of durable steel, and is available in black or white to match the existing POS. The CD3-1616 can accommodate Canadian and United States currency types, and includes a bottom exit cable.
Scanners are an important part of the entire seed-to-sale process, from back-end warehouse operations, to scanning products at the point of purchase. Important features to look for are connectivity options and a design/color that matches the existing POS, if applicable.
Star’s Pick: 1D/2D Imager
These scanners are available in black or white, feature USB connectivity, include the cable, and more.
Just like other businesses, cannabis dispensaries need to advertise, but what sets them apart is that they must adhere to strict advertising laws. For example, in multiple states including California and Colorado, over 70% of cannabis advertisement audiences must be over the age of 21.
An easy way to ensure marketing efforts are being communicated only to the intended audience is by printing those promotions on your receipts. With Star’s cloud-based PromoPRNT tool, dispensaries can create custom promotions from templates which increase customer engagement and retention, and can be used to promote sales, new products, loyalty programs, and more.
Tablet POS Stand
As we discussed above, dispensary aesthetics are extremely important, not only from a branding and customer experience perspective, but also to legitimize the business to outsiders and newcomers. A great place to tie in style is at the POS, and an easy way to do that is by incorporating a sleek, space-saving POS stand into your arrangement.
Star’s mUnite tablet POS stand could be right for you. Made to be used with any iOS, Android, and Windows tablet or touchscreen computer, the mUnite features universal VESA mounting, hidden cable management, and is meant to be used with the mC-Print3, mPOPTM, and TSP143III/TSP654II. Note: device, enclosure, and printer not included.
Dispensaries are sometimes limited to how many people they can allow inside at one time because budtenders need to be able to pay special attention to customers, and make sure they are recommending the right products. Some dispensaries are using kiosks to allow waiting customers to pick out what they want on screen, take the slip to the budtender, and simply just collect and pay for their items.
Star’s Pick: SK1-311
The SK1-311 kiosk printer is the best of the best. Compact and lightweight, it features a fast printing speed, supports receipt, ticket, or label media, and has many available accessories to choose from. An added bonus, the SK1-311 is available with StarPRNT emulation, meaning easy integration of kiosk solutions into any environment already featuring other Star printers.
At Star, we’re proud to help dispensaries become more compliant in their operations. This compliance helps to change the perspective on the industry as a whole, getting everyone one step closer to federal legalization, and legal credit card payments. And of course, it is important for cannabis customers to receive printed receipts of their purchases to prove that their marijuana was purchased legally, and to receive applicable promotions.
We look forward to continuing to lead and innovate in the cannabis industry by developing sleek, feature-packed products designed to make every aspect of a dispensary’s operation streamlined, legal, and fruitful.
Heidi Orpilla is the Digital Content Specialist at Star Micronics where she creates and manages content for Star’s blog, social media, website, products, and more. Heidi has a passion for writing and has worked in the B2B marketing space for over five years. Prior to working at Star, Heidi worked at a large reseller for six years.