The Beginner’s Guide to Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures

dispensary standard operating procedures

The Beginner's Guide to Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures

Cannabis Standard Operating Procedures Series: Dispensary SOPs

Table of Contents

What is a Standard Operating Procedure? 

SOPs are the documentation, protocols, methods, and practices that your cannabis dispensary will use to manage the day-to-day operations of the business. SOPs assist businesses in guiding their staff through the execution of business operations in order to boost productivity and profitability over the long term.
dispensary standard operating procedures

Introduction to Cannabis Dispensary SOPs

We put together this article to assist you in developing SOPs that should ensure you comply with regulations while also improving the productivity, sustainability, and revenue of your dispensary. This post will discuss why you need SOPs and some of the essential SOPs you should build for your dispensary.

It should also be highlighted that strong SOPs do not replace personnel training and quality control. Proper training, exercises, and exceptional leadership are required to enforce the SOPs. Before we dive into SOPs, let’s take a closer look at why they’re so important for many cannabis dispensaries.

Why Your Dispensary Needs SOPs

Professional, high-quality SOPs help your dispensary function efficiently and may serve as a guide for your personnel, helping to generate brand loyalty.

SOPs will also help new team members with training and onboarding by allowing them to review the instructions before executing new duties to guarantee accurate job performance.

Another reason SOPs are required is that authorities need cannabis dispensaries to have standard operating procedures in place to guarantee that they follow the criteria laid out. While following regulatory rules is vital in the cannabis industry, it is not the only reason you should create and implement strong SOPs.

Here Are 5 Reasons you Need Dispensary SOPs in the Cannabis Industry

dispensary standard operating procedures

1. To Support Brand Identity and Company Culture

SOPs will be used by reputable dispensaries to comply with rules and be more productive. Successful cannabis businesses will go the extra mile. They employ the SOPs to reflect their company brand and build a company culture.

For example, if cooperation and mutual support are important aspects of your brand identity, you might build your SOPs to require activities to be completed in groups with clear roles and responsibilities for each co-worker.

Furthermore, you might mandate that new recruits always collaborate with a more seasoned coworker. This might easily promote collaboration throughout your dispensary and ensure that coworkers who want assistance always have someone on their team to turn to.

2. Improving the Dispensary Customer's Retail Experience

Customers benefit immensely from a well-thought-out customer experience that begins the minute they enter your dispensary with the customer check-in procedures and ends when they make a purchase.

Developing and integrating well-planned and straightforward dispensary SOPs that account for every step of the client or patient experience may standardize your customers’ experiences, regardless of who on your staff they interacted with.

Streamlining and standardization of your customer service may help you to increase customer loyalty and establish yourself as a market leader in your sector.

Giving your current consumers a uniform and well-curated experience will help you attract new customers to your cannabis retail businesses. While many jurisdictions prohibit cannabis enterprises from overtly advertising to consumers, there is no law prohibiting customers from telling their peers about your brand and the standard of care and customer service.

3. For Compliance with the Cannabis Industry Regulators

Sales Transaction Process

Most state regulatory agencies establish standard operating procedures (SOP) for cannabis retailers to follow. These SOPs are designed to guarantee that cannabis retail operators follow the rules and that regulatory authorities can readily monitor the dispensary’s operations for quality control and compliance.

Your dispensary will be expected to present periodic information to authorities to prove that you are following the SOPs that ensure regulatory compliance. This will help you keep your dispensary’s licenses protected as well as your operations in general. There can be very serious implications of having failed to comply with cannabis regulatory requirements.

4. Increased Operational Efficiency

SOPs are written to help your staff execute their everyday activities and responsibilities. They assist in ensuring that each task is completed correctly and in accordance with rules, regardless of who in your organization executes it. This knowledge of roles and responsibilities can greatly improve the operational efficiency of your dispensary, which will maximize your profitability.

Professional cannabis SOPs combined with frequent training may help decrease staff mistakes, enhance inventory management, save time spent on repeating tasks, as well as increase productivity and overall customer loyalty. 

5. Preparation for Unexpected Situations

Cash Management Protocols

Establishing effective cannabis SOPs may help your staff get the confidence they need in their positions to handle unforeseen situations and emergencies without going against character or policy. It’s that degree of training and task performance that will save you from being fined and maybe jeopardizing your dispensary license if you don’t maintain regulatory compliance.

9 Standard Operating Procedures your Dispensary Needs

Let’s look at some of the top SOPs your dispensary plans on implementing.

While each dispensary is unique in terms of the goods and services it provides as well as its management structure, many of them operate similarly. The cannabis dispensary space requires operations such as retail opening and closing, sales transactions, and security protocols.

Before serving your inaugural customer, we’ve compiled a list of the most important standard operational practices. These SOPs will simplify your regulatory compliance, boost your efficiency, and help you become more lucrative in the long term. The following are some SOPs to take into account:

1. Dispensary Employee Management SOPs

Managing your personnel is an important element of any dispensary business.

It is advised that you utilize personnel management software to ease the tension of manually performing procedures like payroll, scheduling, onboarding, and time clock changes while managing your workforce.

Some of these SOPs may be eliminated by using software alone, but if you prefer to take the manual approach, you need to have SOPs in place for the following operations.

2. Dispensary Open and Close Procedures

Dispensary opening and closing procedures are a must for every dispensary.

SOPs for opening and closing all brick and mortar retail outlets should be in place before their grand opening. But especially in establishments that require strict security, such as cannabis retail outlets.

Employees, for example, should inspect the business every morning for evidence of a break-in or forced entry. They should also ensure that all goods on the display and stores are properly accounted for.

Employees should confirm that the security cameras are operational at the end of the day and lock all doors and display cabinets. Furthermore, at closing time, they should look for and report any evident security risks outside the business. End-of-day SOPs also involve creating sales and compliance reports and shutting closing out the cash registers and POS system for the day.

3. Dispensary Customer Check-in Procedures

One of the most common compliance issues is cannabis dispensaries violate their customer check-in procedures which often leads to hefty fines and in some cases license suspensions. Well-developed and implemented patient and or customer check-in SOPs with redundancy can help ensure compliance is maintained.

By law, you must check every consumer and visitor who enters your dispensary to ensure they are of legal age and are legally permitted to purchase cannabis. This would entail scanning the client’s ID to ensure it is authentic and legitimate, determining the person’s age, and putting these facts into your customer database system.

4. The Medical and Adult-Use Dispensary Sales Transaction Process

Cannabis retail sales transaction processes are critical to the enterprise since this is how they bring in their revenue. The greeter (initial point of contact with the consumer), packaging the product, and the protocols of the cashier are all examples of sales procedures. Determined by the size of the dispensary, these duties may be divided among several employees or allocated to a single individual.

Other sales transaction operations include addressing product queries from customers, entering regulatory inventory tracking information, and processing various kinds of payments. It would be beneficial if you connected your SOPs with the technologies you use, such as POS systems. It is critical to do this procedure correctly since any mistakes might result in financial losses for the dispensary.

5. Security SOPs and Cash Management Protocols

When it comes to holding and transferring cash, retail cannabis businesses are confronted with several challenges. Because cannabis companies are illegal on a federal level in the U.S.A., the services they may access from banks are limited. Dispensaries struggle with huge quantities of cash being held on their premises as a result of these limits.

In addition to cash, dispensaries contain a large inventory of valuable items, making them a desirable target for criminal activity. As a result, authorities normally establish security and cash management rules, which are strictly observed by dispensary operators.

There are SOPs concerning who is permitted in critical places like stores and cash safes, how long security camera footage should be kept, and how to report a robbery, for example. The SOPs also specify when and how frequently armored trucks can transport cash, as well as how it is secured at the dispensary.

6. The Track and Trace Inventory Management Processes

Track and trace procedures are essential for every cannabis retail operation, regardless of state. Track and trace SOPs aid in the effective tracking and tracing of items across the cannabis industry supply chain. This reduces product loss and diversion while also ensuring that items are only supplied to legal customers.

These SOPs should encompass inventory management operations such as purchase, transportation of products to the dispensary, cannabis product transfers, and audits. Furthermore, track and trace SOPs aid in ensuring compliance with state and municipal regulations.

Finally, track and trace SOPs must be included in your inventory management system in order to satisfy and maintain regulatory compliance consistently and efficiently.

Given the significance of track and trace SOPs for cannabis compliance, you should automate this procedure if at all feasible. Track-and-trace automation software may assist you in defining responsibilities for each process as well as the ability to integrate compliance checks and in some instances automate compliance reporting with the proper state authorities.

7. Cannabis Product Quality Assessment SOPs

Quality assessment sops are an absolute must for any dispensary operation.

Cannabis Product Quality Assessment SOPs will ensure that your cannabis goods meet regulatory requirements and that you are not breaking any rules regarding the substances that may be used in your products or how they are created. Failure to follow these SOPs or pass a quality review might result in the dispensary owner having their license being penalized or even revoked.

8. SOPs Dealing with Product Recalls and Emergencies

Dispensary Cannabis Product recall SOPs are needed when a faulty product must be recalled from the market. This might be frustrating for the team since consumers will complain and management will be concerned about the losses. SOPs that advise your team on how to respond in this circumstance without losing their calm or professionalism is one of the most useful things to have in this case.

9. Cannabis Delivery Procedures

Dispensaries are authorized to distribute items to their consumers and patients in specific places. In this situation, you will undoubtedly be asked to present additional documents and take proper security precautions to protect the drivers and products while en route. Furthermore, packing and shipping requirements for various sorts of items should be established. For example, to guarantee the safe delivery of fragile products such as glass pipes, you need to have protocols in place. Assume you’ve outsourced your deliveries or are using a delivery management service or software. In such a situation, you should include those specifics in your SOPs so that your personnel understands how to handle a customer’s order shipment.

Wrapping it Up - Dispensary SOPs

dispensary sops

Cannabis business SOPs should aid in crisis management whilst also reducing client loss. They include how to recall items, how to communicate with consumers and what personnel is permitted to give to alleviate customer disappointment and frustration, and how to examine what went wrong with the product.

These are the primary SOPs we feel you must have in place prior to opening, but remember that maintaining them is just as important as putting them in place.

If you need additional assistance managing your workforce, look into employee management software, which can help you manage all of your operations from a single, simple platform!