What You Need to Know About POS for Cannabis

Huge sales can hide cost control problems

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So you want to open a retail cannabis dispensary. If you think its easy money, guaranteed, think again. True, some early start businesses will see $15,000 to $30,000 a week in sales. True, the average consumer could spend $600 a year at your shop. But be warned, huge sales can hide cost control problems. You might be losing money and don’t know it. What you need is a good Point of Sales (POS) system to keep track of your inventory and sales.

It’s also the law. Canada’s proposed Cannabis Act requires that all marijuana retail businesses use an inventory tracking software (called the Cannabis Tracking System in its proposed Cannabis Act). The fact you have large amounts of cash and cannabis on hand makes you a target of criminal elements. Having a good POS system will help you keep track of your inventory and sales.

As an owner, the idea of prevention versus correction is fundamental. Your primary job is not to put out fires, it has to prevent them — and to maximize profits in the process. Prevention happens through advanced planning. Owning a retail business requires that you keep track of every item sold, purchased through a manufacturer or distributor for resale.

Theft does happen. Most theft will happen internally, by your own staff. You will also read headlines about in-store robberies at gun-point and late night burglaries. If you are starting out and just breaking even, a loss like this can shut you down. The City Inspector can come in at any time, unannounced, and ask to see your records and inventory. If something is wrong or missing, you can be shut down and will face penalties before. There are no shortcuts when it comes to selling cannabis, especially when crime prevention and keeping drugs out of the hands of children is a public health priority.

So what choices do you have?

The POS system is a freestanding and integrated accounting system that is available in a variety of price ranges. The touch screen is effortless, and requires minimal training and offers you a lot of sales trend data. Have a proper POS system to run all your books, product sales, inventory, and expected taxes. Trying to keep track of cannabis inventory on (say) QuickBooks may be an exercise in futility. You need a software specifically designed for a dispensary business.

Do your homework and make sure whatever system you choose will cover all of your provincial and federal requirements. The benefit of a POS system for your business is that it will also alert you to any theft going on in your store. These POS systems will immediately alert you within minutes when the inventory levels look out of sorts.

Here are three companies that offer POS systems to use as examples:

  • MJ Freeway helps keep track of the process so that each gram is fully accounted for. MJ Freeway’s cannabis software, MJ Platform, offers to minimize product loss and increase efficiency by tracking all of your costs and yields. All you need is an internet connection — you can access the cannabis software from different devices, including PCs and tablets. Not only can you track your products and ROI, but you can keep record of your patient and customer details for effective marketing.
  • BioTrackTHC was designed as a medical marijuana POS software system. As the market leader in MMJ POS software, this software offers a robust system that help you run your business more efficiently and profitably while staying compliant.
  • CannaLogic POS mobile platform offers a full turnkey white-label solution. Dispensaries are able to custom-design their own individual branded mobile application for their consumers and e-commerce website. Managers can log on to a mobile application, order products, and set a time and place for delivery, as well as mail order and pickup. With direct delivery, customers can watch their caregiver’s route in real-time over an exclusive GPS tracking system from the custom downloadable mobile app, which features digital signoff technology for each package, similar to when receiving a FedEx delivery.

The more proficient you get with using the POS system to track your inventory and sales, the easier you can manage the costs of your business. Which POS system do you recommend? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Feel free to post them in the comments below.

Starting and running a cannabis retail business is like any other business, except for that big, hairy gorilla that you are selling cannabis products. Running an email marketing and social media campaign can feel extra complicated when you are trying to run a business. Do-it-yourself can only get you far. Whichever POS system you choose, make sure you leave great first impression with your customers.


Milton Wani is interested in the business and regulation side of cannabis. Learning about cannabis is new for everyone. That’s why I wrote a book: Retail Cannabis Handbook. It’s meant for people who want to open and run a retail marijuana dispensary and for people who want to learn about the industry. For more information, you can contact our team cannabis-friendly web designer and marketers at uxbigideas.com.