As things stand today, medical marijuana use is legal in 33 states plus D.C. Another 10 states have legalized it for recreational use. It’s safe to say that the weed industry is poised to take off and become a huge economic player in all of these states. As a business owner in that industry, you need to be well prepared to take full advantage of this smoking situation. One of the best ways to do that is to find and install a robust medical marijuana software for your dispensary.
While it is true that customers will soon be able to pick up their favorite brand of CBD edibles as easily as they would pick up a bottle of aspirin from their local pharmacist, it’s also true that marijuana still has a lot of regulations with which industry players must comply. The thing about these regulations is that every state has its own set and you simply must be aware of that ever-fluid landscape if you want to remain in business.
Why You Need a Medical Marijuana Software
When it comes to medical marijuana software, there are many different kinds that technically perform almost similar roles. Some of the best medical marijuana software in the market do a host of things including:
- Act as a seed-to-sale tracking system.
- Act as a point-of-sale system.
- Act a medium through which the grower complies with the state’s regulations.
The best thing about this software is that it not only makes your job as a marijuana business owner much easier when it comes to dealing with the government but it also helps you streamline your operation. It does this by providing the right kind of data from which you can extrapolate trends and make business projections as well as take the necessary steps to direct your business in the right direction.
How to Choose the Best Medical Marijuana Software?
As you have probably guessed by now, there is a myriad of medical marijuana software available in the market, each one offering something unique while delivering almost the same results. The difference often occurs when you start looking at the details of the software and how they apply to you and your business in particular.
With that in mind, here are some key tips on what to look for when choosing the best medical marijuana software for your dispensary:
1. Look for Features that Keep You Compliant
Violating any compliance laws can easily lead to the revocation of your medical marijuana license in your state. Therefore, compliance is by far one of the most important aspects of your business as well as the most complicated without the right medical marijuana system. It’s understandable to take this part of your business very seriously.
Specific compliance requirements vary quite drastically from state to state; however, a well-designed and robust medical marijuana system takes this into account and ensures that the owners have the right kind of flexibility as far as customization is concerned to ensure that the system helps them stay compliant in their specific states.
There are a few things that you should look for when choosing a medical marijuana system as far as compliance is concerned. These include areas such as:
- Compliance with sales regulations: The best medical marijuana systems come complete with a point-of-sale software or POS. This is extremely important, especially when your state has a sales limit to how many ounces of cannabis you can sell to each customer every day. This is something that most if not all states have to a varying degree. A POS with a sales regulation function allows your budtender to take care of your customers quickly and with minimal error when it comes to calculating how many ounces they can sell. It does this despite having to also deal with different products such as edibles, cannabis-infused drinks, and flowers, cross-referencing to product specifications to get the right number of ounces in each product.
- Inventory management and reporting: At the moment, states require people with medical marijuana licenses to account for every single ounce of weed sold in any They also want to be able to track each of those sales all the way back to the grower and seed. The right seed-to-sale software helps you keep track of all this and ensures that you provide accurate reporting therefore not risking your license.
- Product labeling: As an industry, cannabis products face an incredible burden when it comes to labeling requirements. In many cases, states require you to do much more than just tell your customers what strain the product is as well as the weight. Some require you to give additional information such as specific potency information, lab tests with dates, customer IDs, etc.
The right medical marijuana software can help automate all these processes and many others thus eliminating the propensity for error that comes with human interaction.
2. User Experience and Ease of Use
After you are done worrying about problems like compliance, the next issue to be concerned about as a weed seller is how difficult or easy your software is to use. There are very few things as frustrating as having a system you know can do so much more to streamline your business and then not being able to take full advantage of the features it offers.
The thing about medical marijuana software is that the best are designed with industry-specific pain points in mind. These systems are not only intuitive but they also give your budtender access to the kind of customer information they might need to offer the right kind of recommendations or stay within sale limit regulations.
Choosing a system that is user-friendly saves you time that you may have needed to train your employees on how to use it, improves their performance by giving them product information at the click of a button or touch of a screen, and generally facilitates overall efficiency within your organization.
3. How Much Will It Cost You?
Of course, this has to come into play. Despite how much capital you might have, you have to be practical with the amount of money you spend on your business inventory. Yes, the best medical marijuana software is not as cheap as most people would like them to be but there are some that are robust yet not as expensive.
The initial cost shouldn’t be your main concern. Way too often, business owners tend to ignore how much the original “affordable” software costs them in the long-run when factoring in upgrades and in-software purchases. When choosing a medical marijuana system for your business, look at it from a long-term point of view. Here are some questions you should have in mind when trying to decide which system to go with despite the initial cost:
- Does it come with a warranty? If so, how long and what for?
- Does tech support cost extra?
- What kind of response time does the tech support team have and will you have to pay extra if you need an emergency response?
- Does the company charge a monthly or annual fee to keep using their system?
- Do they upgrade their system often and if so, is it going to cost you money? Can you use the old system should you opt not to upgrade at any given time?
- Do you have to buy the hardware that comes with the software?
- Do you have to sign a long-term contract to use the software?
The answers to these questions impact your bottom line and efficiency to varying degrees, depending on what they are overall. Due diligence is key before paying for what might seem like a dirt-cheap system that ends up costing you an arm and a leg later on.
4. What Kind of Hosting Does the Company Offer: Cloud-Based or Local?
It’s almost preposterous to think that someone would choose to locally host any of their systems while cloud-based hosting solutions are far cheaper and perhaps more secure, but there are many advantages to both systems which is probably why some medical marijuana companies offer their customers the choice.
This is by far the most fundamental choice you will have to make when it comes to deciding which software to install. Do you want it hosted locally or would you like it to be cloud-based? Here are some more details about each option:
- Locally hosted system: Installing a locally hosted system usually requires you to take on the additional cost of buying the necessary hardware, setting up a local server, and hiring a professional to maintain the whole system. You will still need to be in touch with the support team from the software company you choose to keep the system online and up to date. Additionally, you will incur some facility renovation costs as servers tend to need highly-specialized cooling specifications to operate optimally. Of the two options, this is significantly more expensive – at first. The massive advantage that comes with this option is that the initial set-up cost is very likely the only cost you will have to bear as far as hosting is concerned. You will also get to hire your very own IT expert who can do much more than just maintain the servers. Additionally, you have better, more autonomous control over the system you buy and install which is something every business owner not looking to be beholden to more than just the government should aspire to achieve.
- Cloud-based system: These are hosted by third-parties. This is option is far cheaper than the first one and has almost no technical barriers involved in the setup. Truth be told, cloud-based hosting offers superior technical support and system backups when compared to locally hosted systems. The biggest issue with this option is that not only are you at the mercy of the third-party hosting your software in terms of uptime, downtime, and accessibility, but you also have to pay a certain amount of money annually to keep receiving those services. Should the systems go down, you have no other option but to wait for the company to respond and sort you out.
5. Stability and Reliability
To be honest, your medical marijuana software is going to be running a huge chunk of your business. If this system isn’t stable or reliable then your entire operation will also be shaky grounds. Not only will you risk having compliance issues, but you may also disappoint your customers and have inventory issues thanks to a shaky system. You must find a reliable system that is not only time-tested for stability but also has a highly responsive and effective customer and technical support team that can help you out within no time at all.
Your medical marijuana software is one of the biggest and most important investments you are going to make as far as this industry is concerned. These tips will help you choose the one that not only works for your business but also works for the people who work within that business as well as the government.