Cannabis and Cash: Best Practices 2022

Cannabis and Cash: Best Practices 2022

Legal cannabis is poised to become a $30 billion U.S. industry in 2022. At this point in the commercial cannabis timeline, only 18 states have legalized the plant for medical sales, recreational use, or both. Unlike the earliest cannabis dispensaries, retailers entering the market today can hit the ground running. Businesses in the cannabis space can draw from examples of successful retail programs, best practices, equipment, and vendor partners with relevant experience in the industry.

Although the retail cannabis industry has become more sophisticated, streamlined, and experienced, one thing has not changed – the use of cash for most transactions. The SAFE Banking Act protects financial institutions and other professional service firms from federal liability for conducting commerce with legal cannabis businesses. However, the Senate ultimately removed the SAFE Banking Act from the December 2021 defense spending bill. Bipartisan cooperation at the federal level is unlikely this year which means that cannabis dispensaries will continue to operate almost exclusively in cash, at least for the near future.

Several dispensaries now utilize automated cash handling machines that integrate hardware and software for a seamless cash management solution. The cash automation systems best suited for cannabis outlets include back-office cash recyclers and smart safes. A reliable cash automation system from a trusted manufacturer checks many boxes for cannabis retailers:

Complies with regulations

Cannabis businesses are highly regulated, and accurate record-keeping is critical to meet compliance. Dispensaries must keep track of every dollar and maintain meticulous records. By automating with cash management devices, dispensaries can produce accurate, auditable records of cash flow in the business. All CIMA cash handling machines equipped with dedicated software set user permissions, create electronic records of all transactions, and are configurable for specific needs.

Recycles and stores cash securely

Taking cash payments and returning change for every single transaction requires a large capacity of reserve bills and coins to use throughout the day. It is not safe or prudent for employees to shuttle cash to and from the safe to replenish or store money. A cash recycler not only secures cash like a safe, but it also dispenses bills. Machines like CIMA’s Platino or Diamante back-office cash recyclers allow dispensaries to reuse smaller denominations for change or replenish tills. Surplus bills securely stored in self-sealing stacking bags allow CIT companies to transport cash easily.

Reduces labor costs

Depending on volume, dispensaries using manual methods may have to dedicate two or more employees to spend hours on register reconciliation each day. With the current labor shortage, automation makes more sense than ever. CIMA cash handling machines can dispense floats, reconcile tills and track cash quickly and accurately. The dispensary can focus employee attention on customer service and sales activities instead of cash management.

Improves security

Cash-intensive businesses are targets for crime. From outright smash-and-grab robberies to employee skimming, the risk of theft is very high. Cash recyclers and smart safes deter crime and keep records of all users and transactions. Counterfeit note detection is built into the machines and adds another layer of protection from fraud.

Provides industry knowledge from experienced partners

The market is crowded with companies wanting a piece of the cannabis pie. Identify vendors and partners with experience and expertise in the cannabis space. Look for a track record of delivering solutions to the cannabis industry and excellent customer support. By partnering with experienced companies, new and established cannabis businesses can benefit from industry knowledge and machines suited to the cannabis marketplace.

CIMA has worked with many dispensaries. Learn more of how we can help you. Contact us to discuss options. 

Experienced Cash Handling for Dispensaries

Experienced Cash Automation for Dispensaries

The future of pot looks very green

On New Year’s Day 2014, Colorado opened the first regulated recreational marijuana market. In the years since, recreational cannabis has been legalized in 18 states, plus the District of Columbia and the territory of Guam. Recent surveys show that nearly 22% of U.S. adults have used some form of cannabis in the previous 12 months. Seniors citizens are the fastest-growing population of marijuana users. There is an exponential growth of retail dispensaries opening their doors to serve the growing number of consumers. According to industry research, the U.S. cannabis industry will reach $30 billion annually by 2025.

Jumping on the bud bandwagon

The cannabis market is attracting a flood of peripheral businesses claiming to address the unique needs and solve the specific problems of retail dispensaries. From technology to shop fitting to security and cash automation, vendors are jockeying for their own market share. Some of these support businesses are legitimate. Others see dollar signs and are jumping onto a lucrative bandwagon. The market is becoming crowded with startups, fly-by-night businesses, and enthusiastic entrepreneurs clamoring to offer a solution to any number of dispensary challenges.

Buyer beware

While startups and entrepreneurs are undoubtedly the lifeblood of technology and innovation, cannabis businesses must be careful with cash automation.  Take time to research and evaluate if a particular company is genuinely solving a problem that no other vendor in the space has already addressed. Or, is this a money grab to take advantage of the huge demand?  If a business offers an inferior solution to gain market share, dispensary operators can create long-term problems. It is up to dispensary owners and managers to conduct thorough due diligence. 

Cash automation and cannabis

Dispensaries in the current market can only accept payment in cash due to federal restrictions.  As a result, dispensaries have invested in a range of solutions to collect, manage, account for, and secure the considerable volume of cash that passes through the business each day. Providers of everything from simple safes and currency counting machines to more sophisticated full-blown cash automation solutions are racing to the market to convince dispensary owners that their product is better than the next. The demand is increasing, and owners need immediate answers. Companies with little experience in cash management are making grand promises yet falling short of expectations. 

The right partner can make or break your business

Dispensary owners, take note – do your homework before you decide on a cash automation solution. Do you want to put your cash – your lifeblood –  in the hands of an inexperienced startup? It falls on you to find providers with a confirmed track record of delivering solutions and solving complex cash handling problems. At the very least, you should look for the following qualities:
  • Proven track record
  • Excellent customer service and support
  • Comprehensive line of products 
  • Integrated hardware and software solutions
Cash automation management in retail is not new. Cannabis dispensaries are fundamentally retail businesses with a more significant cash management headache. The cash automation industry is a mature market of providers. Many have been around for decades. They know how to deliver and support sophisticated cash management machines. Leverage that experience and solve your cash management problems with a trusted partner, not an inexperienced opportunist. 
“If you’re like me, I was going crazy dealing with the cash in my retail locations. My life changed after I put the CIMA cash machines in. Cash is secure, my staff is on the floor with customers, not dealing with cash issues in the back office. I would never open a store without these!”
Tim Denha, CFO, JARS