Never one to shy away from controversy, California passed legislation to legalize recreational use of cannabis in 2018, signaling a significant shift toward widespread acceptance in the agricultural industry and living rooms alike. Proponents have celebrated cannabis shedding its taboo status and are welcoming the legalization with open arms – and open dispensaries.
Long cultivated for industrial use with rope manufacturing, the California climate has proven to be a fruitful environment for cannabis crops for more than 200 years. Durable and adaptable, cannabis fibers were the product of choice for hemp cultivators all over southern California. Processes that served to produce narcotic variations were criminalized in 1913, and it’s generally assumed this was an attempt to prohibit the mind-altering use of cannabis and targeted opium dens, though the laws also criminalized pharmaceutical use – unless the patient could produce a doctor’s note.
The road to legalization of cannabis in California is littered with battle losses, starting with the nation’s first ballot initiative in the 1970s. In 2018, California is now one of less than ten states that have either already legalized or are in the process of legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is the official governing body that oversees licensing, distribution, and sales – and nearly 100 temporary permit applications were processed in the first day for dispensaries all over the state.
Operators are first required to follow the standard local process for state licensing that is the same for any other business, including retail operations and public events. Sales are restricted by the same rules as alcohol in that only adults over the age of 21 may legally purchase, and dispensaries are subject to the same regulatory requirements – and disciplinary action and fines for violations – for sales of cannabis. The California Department of Public Health has established guidelines and FAQ about cannabis, including advising pregnant women against cannabis use.
Now subject to taxation, logistics, inventory, and overhead headaches customarily associated with everything from clothes to cars, dispensaries use the same basic business model as their nearest major retailer, like Target or The Home Depot, though with a unique product, target market, and an audience waiting hours in line for the chance to be part of history.
Every modern business uses technology to record and process transactions, report sales, track inventory and logistics, find inefficiencies upon which to improve, collect sales tax, and store customer data.
From receipts to order forms, from promotional materials to personnel records, a printer is a must-have. Even while providers like Square offer digital receipts emailed to a customer, few businesses can operate entirely paper-free and require a printer for various needs.
While hours of operation and location are generally found with a quick Internet search, customers still undoubtedly need to contact businesses from time to time. Setups can vary, but VoIP is the more common solution today – though some companies use smartphones as their sole means of professional communications.
It’s fair to say today that you can’t do business without an Internet connection. Debit and credit cards use the Internet to connect to a credit card processing service which runs the transaction. Each time a card is used at a retail point-of-sale (POS) system, the machine isn’t dialing Visa directly! The means by which devices, telephones, applications, and people connect is via the Internet and is inescapable in the modern professional era.
The invisible connections shared by your devices, telephones, and applications create the network with which a business stores records and files. A wireless network enables devices to connect from other geographical locations.
It’s incredibly common for businesses to use a surveillance system to monitor sales floor activity, customer transactions, and areas like stockrooms, break rooms, and exits for risk management. In the case of dispensaries, the California BCC requires on-site video recording systems to be fully-functioning and actively used at all times.
Where there is technology, there is the risk of threat. Taking active measures to protect information and monitor network activity is just smart business. A new industry is a target for cybercriminals because it provides the best chance for something to have been missed initially, providing the vulnerability and opportunity for cybercriminals to seize data.
Using technology inevitably means something will experience a hiccup and need support. New businesses, especially, can’t afford lengthy downtime due to technology trouble, so building the right support relationships will yield the best results.
While these have unique needs from an independent perspective, both require applications and technology for records management.
It’s clear that while dispensaries and grow facilities have unique branding and promotional methodologies, much of the professional and operational needs are similar to other business models. The difference lay in the handling of the data in a highly-regulated industry.
Veo Verde Technology specializes in technology services and support for the California cannabis industry. Working with dispensaries and grow facilities in the Monterey Bay area, Veo Verde Technology has a thorough understanding of the complex balance of the needs of the business, the needs of the industry, and the requirements of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, and keeps technology working smoothly while ensuring customer data is secure.
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