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. 

Cash Management – What You Need to Know

Managing Cash for Businesses

Cash handling in retail stores is essential, but some business owners don’t realize that poor cash management could be costing them a lot of money. Costs can be in the form of increased labor, mistakes, and theft. Cash automation addresses these and other associated costs of handling cash. By incorporating machines, retail outlets can prepare floats, provide change and perform end-of-shift balancing without manual handling and do this far more accurately.

What Is Cash Automation?

Automation involves implementing at least one of several different kinds of cash handling machines to take over the work of humans. The cash automation hardware has program software that works with a company’s processes and financial institutions to improve accuracy. There are several kinds of cash management machines available:

Smart Safes

A smart safe is an excellent solution for businesses that store any amount of cash on site. The machine accepts, validates, records, and stores cash securely. Unlike traditional safes, smart safes connect to the internet or cash management technology. The smart safes reconcile the cash automatically, so employees don’t spend time on reconciliation at the close of each day. An intelligent safe can record many data points:

  • Who deposited the cash, and at what time
  • How much cash is stored by denomination
  • Who removed the cash


Back-Office Recyclers

In a high cash volume retail establishment, staff members spend valuable time in the back-office cash room. Under management supervision, employees prepare floats, conduct drawer swaps, count, reconcile, and facilitate collection by the CIT company. There are many opportunities for mistakes, miscalculations, and theft. A back-office cash recycler streamlines the entire process and transmits accurate records directly to the CIT or financial institution.

Point of Sale Recyclers

Placing a POS recycling machine at the checkout line allows the use of the device by cashiers or directly by customers. The point of sale cash recycler accepts money and returns change for each transaction. It also stores excess bills, checks for counterfeit notes, and records all transactions. As self-service becomes commonplace, customer-facing recyclers can reduce the amount of labor needed to handle customer payment transactions.

Why Automate Cash Handling?

Cash automation streamlines procedures and offers many benefits:

Labor – The more time employees spend handling, sorting, and counting cash, the more it costs the business. Cash automation means that fewer people spend less time handling transactions.

Security – On a busy day, cashiers might handle large amounts of cash, posing a security risk from external and internal theft. By automating cash procedures and securing surplus banknotes, businesses can add a layer of protection from criminal activity.

Accuracy – Cash automation reduces the number of human errors. Cash handling machines will count, sort, and tally banknotes to prepare the deposit faster and more accurately than an employee could.

Accountability – Cash management technology keeps better records and makes it easier to track how much cash runs through the business. Automation also improves oversight.

Ultimately, any business that manages cash can take advantage of automating manual cash handling processes. Reducing the costs and risks associated with managing cash can deliver significant bottom-line benefits.

CIMA Innovation

CIMA’s Continued Commitment to Innovation

We don’t believe in “That’s The Way It’s Always Been Done” – Cash management innovation is necessary.

This mentality permeates many industries. People and companies ignore alternative ideas because we always do things a certain way…the status quo. Nothing stifles innovation faster than a mindset that discourages creativity and stops the quest for constant improvement. The situation is no different in the cash handling industry. Why dedicate engineering and resources to reimagine a machine that has been around for more than half a century?

A Bit Of History

The first ATM was introduced in the U.S on September 2, 1969, at the Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, New York. These money dispensing machines became widely popular and handled many functions previously performed by human tellers. In the late 80s, ATM manufacturers began designing cash recyclers. Machines that deposit AND dispense cash. They used most of the same components, including cash cassettes. Eventually, cassettes became the industry standard for storing, recycling, and transporting bills in cash machines. A need was created for cash management innovation.

A Fresh Eye for New Solutions

Despite their outward similarities, cash recyclers have a very different purpose than ATMs. They were initially, and still, today, used for internal business use to automate cash handling processes and allow staff to deposit and dispense cash.

CIMA approached the industry with a fresh eye and questioned everything about the process. Our engineers wondered if cash recycling machines even needed cassettes. Cassettes are prone to damage and require time to “de cash” (remove notes, bundle, pack into plastic bags). Cassettes are expensive to replace and can be damaged easily.

CIMA engineers solved this array of problems by eliminating the need for cassettes. Instead of bulky, breakable, and unwieldy cassettes, CIMA engineered several lines of machines to recycle notes on drums or roll storage modules and deposit notes directly into a plastic bag. There are no cassettes to damage and no keys to manage. Bags are also much lighter and easier to handle than cassettes. Roll-based recycling also eliminates the problem of wasted capacity when a business uses only a tiny percentage of a cassette’s total capacity.

Innovate, Don’t Imitate

CIMA’s self-sealing stacking bag technology packs notes in a tight stack. Before removal, the machine heat-seals each bag to prevent tampering. The retailer removes sealed bags and stores them for CIT pickup. When the CIT arrives, they scan the bags, grab them and leave. The notes are never exposed or handled, as with the cassette system. This touch-free system adds a layer of protection against theft and loss. Every bag has a unique barcode so it can be tracked and traced as needed.

CIMA’s stacked bags are also much faster to process. A recent study at a CIT depot compared the processing time of 3,000 notes from CIMA bags versus standard cassettes. The CIMA bag took less than half the time to process.

The unique stacking bag technology is available across a range of smart safes and cash recyclers with capacities ranging from 1,200 to 4,000 notes per bag.

Innovation Across Industries

CIMA’s experience across various industries has shown us many of these “we have always done it that way” situations. Questioning everything drives new ideas, new products, and innovation. CIMA’s customer-centric approach focuses on solving problems whether they are industry-specific or situation-specific:

  • Retail
  • Banking
  • Gaming / Hospitality

Don’t settle for what your cash management provider offers. Ask questions and challenge the status quo.