Dispensaries need more than a POS to sell legal weed

Point of Sale systems sit at the center of dispensary sales. How does anyone online find that POS?

by Bud Media Team · May 11, 2023

Dispensaries need more than a POS to sell legal weed

How Dispensaries Are Allowed to Sell Legal Weed

It takes a village to sell cannabis. If you have a friend who homegrows and can keep away mold, you're probably in good hands. But if you want gummies with a more predictable dose, or pot that's lab-tested from a range of growers, strains, and prices - the legal market can provide.

From legal plant to pipe there's a long human chain of growers, drivers, processors, manufacturers, packagers, and sellers. Each of them has their own regulated relationship with state officials. Each state has some kind of database in the sky listing the cannabis plants, the manufacturing paths that make plants into products, and the amount of weed going into and out of stores. It's an enormous complexity.

Each state picks one company to work with for their official weed tracking database. These systems are also called "seed-to-sale" and "track-and-trace." Most legal states currently use Franwell’s Metrc, and a few use BioTrack THC and others. If you think weed is awesome and you want to grow it and sell it to people in your community, and you want to do that legally, you'll spend a lot of your time dealing with "paperwork" in the form of this software-enforced compliance. And if you can't reach the great database in the sky you can't legally transact weed.

Services to Keep you Legal

The roots of the cannabis industry had dirt packed around them by growers. Those green thumbs need help navigating compliance datasystems; software service companies have arrived to help. At the dispensary end of things, where pot is sold, anyone running a legal weed shop needs to pick a "point-of-sale", or POS, system.

Dispensaries have a choice of POS systems. Since each state market has their own regulations, there are regional flavors to the POS market. The state cannabis management software systems generally have API access open for anyone to attempt to build an app, meaning that there's a wide range of POS choices for folks:

Here's a list of point-of-sale systems we've heard of at one time or another: Adilas 420, BioTrack, Blaze, Caniveri, Cova, DispenseFirst, Dutchie, EntCart, Flowhub, Green Bits, Greenline, GrowFlow, IndicaOnline, KlickTrack, LeafLogix, Meadow, MJ Freeway, Nature Pay, Portal42, POSaBIT, Proteus 420, THSuite, Treez, Trellis, Viridian Sciences, WebJoint. Oh my!

Inventory & Sales

In truth, only a few of these are going to work for a specific dispensary operator depending on their state, their business structure, their retail model, their headcount, and more. The basics remain the same: a cannabis POS manages inventory and sales, feeding the results to the state regulator's database in the cloud.

Everything coming into the dispensary is scanned into inventory before it goes on shelves. When the product is sold, it's registered leaving the store inventory. POS systems handle that record of current and sold products.

To make a legal sale, a dispensary has to confirm the customer is 21 or over, medical or not-medical, elderly or veteran, compassion program enrollee, under the state purchase limits at that dispensary. The POS takes all those factors and the price of the cannabis, and some promotions, and then it spits out a state-compliant sales tabulation.

If you put all your products in the POS, and you run all your sales through the POS, and the POS is set up properly, you should be good with the state regulations for those parts of your business. Inevitably there's more to "selling cannabis" that POS systems don't address.

Services to Help you Grow

The POS is setup for compliance first. Then, once the POS sits at the center of dispensary operations, they offer more services.

Some will let you throw up an online menu. But their focus is not eCommerce and conversion rate optimization, and they have many projects underway, so their primary focus is not on the development of an excellent online shopping experience.

And they have some basic email and SMS tools for reaching customers. A passionate owner might think they can rock a strong online presence with this stuff. If you are already posting content about your business online, you probably have a handle on things. Otherwise, dispensary owners who are not digital storytellers will need other resources to get in front of people online.

bud.com can help

Our team includes veteran marketing and advertising professionals who develop tandem local media strategies to drive reach for all involved. We collaborate with regional media partners and brands active in your state to coordinate campaigns. At bud.com, we study how people are finding cannabis online. We identify stores, products, and content to reach these people. And we work with select dispensaries in each area to set up a win-win relationship for routing new customer traffic your way. We work with you to ensure a quality online retail experience.

Touch-free Menu Sync

Some dispensaries are big enough to have dedicated Online Menu Managers. These folks are in charge of updating menus on various services that could possibly drive leads to a dispensary. Those folks have horror stories of extensive spreadsheet uploading, or even hand by hand product creation in a creaky web interface.

Ideally you don't use to many separate listing services because you have to deal with more complexity for each one. Some dispensary owners invest in WeedMaps, though recently WeedMaps raised prices and they have been accused of some shady practices.

At bud.com we have built deep menu integrations with these POS systems: Blaze, Treez, FlowHub, Meadow, and Cova. We can synchronize your inventory to post your menu on bud.com. So you don't need to import a CSV or XLS to load your inventory to these providers. You share an API key with us, and our system gets started posting your products.

Otherwise for most verified dispensary listings on bud.com, we feature a dispensary for local shoppers and we send those shoppers to that dispensary's web site.

Does it reach the people?

Our focus is on lining up people who want to purchase some lab-tested cannabis with a dispensary or delivery driver nearby. We then send those those orders along to the dispensaries. Depending on your POS setup bud.com can send orders directly into your fulfillment system, ensuring a low friction order flow.  We have a Customer Experience team that helps with pre-sale and any fulfillment issues with our dispensary partners. We are optimized to make online ordering smooth for dispensary partners. We're but one part of the software ecosystem around your POS. Hopefully the software ecosystem for any dispensary is ready to support growth - dispensaries are a tough enough business without POS troubles. If you are looking to add more web traffic to your POS, check out our partners program.