Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures | A Checklist

Table of content

What are Standard Operating Procedures? 

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are the documents, protocols, systems, and procedures that your cannabis dispensary will have in place to manage the business's day-to-day operations. SOPs help companies to guide their employees on executing their business tasks to increase efficiency and profitability in the long term.

SOPs will ease your compliance with the regulators, increase your efficiency and help you to become more profitable in the long run. Here are the 9 SOPs you should be thinking about, but there are always more to discover.

1 - Opening & closing procedures.

All brick and mortar retail stores should have SOPs in place for opening and closing the store. But especially stores that require high security measures.

Opening checklist: 

  • Vibe check: Turn on lights, music, temperature, put out signs, clean.
  • Check for any signs of a break-in or forced entry every morning. 
  • Make sure that all products in the display and stores are accounted for. 
  • Put away any orders.
  • Review inventory.
  • Turn on and start up all software systems.
  • Ensure you are in dress code (if applicable) 

End of day checklist:  

  • Check that the security cameras are working.
  • Lock all the doors and display cabinets.
  •  Check and report any obvious security threats/ log book. 
  • Generate sales and compliance reports. 
  • Cash out. 
  • Closing the cash registers and POS system.
  • Turn off lights, music, bring in signs.
  • Clean and sanitize the store. 
  • Lock all doors and perform security checks.

2 - Customer check-in procedures.

Many cannabis dispensaries violate their customer check-in procedures and end up facing fines and license suspensions by regulators. Due to this, it is crucial that you implement customer check-in SOPs to ensure compliance. 

Customer check in procedures include: 

  • Screen every customer entering the store to ensure they are of legal age.
  • Ensure customers have a valid license to purchase cannabis.
  • Scan the customer's ID to make sure it is genuine and valid.
  • Check the customer's age, and enter these details into your customer database or tracking system.
  • Check the system to ensure the customer has not already gone over their purchasing limit at a different store .
  • Follow proper serving protocols.

3 - Sales transaction process.

Sales transaction processes are crucial to the business because this is how the company generates its revenues. Keeping track of these is key.

Sales transaction processes could include:

  • Greeter procedures (first customer contact), 
  • Boxing and packing procedures.
  • Cashier procedures.
  • Answering customer product questions.
  • Recording product sales information into tracking systems.
  • Recording shipping information.
  • Processing various forms of payment.
  • Gathering sales tax to submit.

It would help if you integrated your SOPs with the technology you're using, like cannabis compliant POS systems.

4 - Delivery procedures.

Suppose you are allowed to deliver products to your customers in your area. In that case, there is no doubt that you will be required to submit supplementary documentation and take the appropriate security measures to safeguard the product while in transit. 

Delivery procedures could include:

  • Packaging and shipping guidelines with regards to the different types of products. 
  • Procedures in place to pack and mark fragile deliveries—like glass bongs—clearly to ensure safe delivery. 
  • Details and SOP’s around third party deliveries. 
  • Sop’s around management tools or software. 
  • Inputting data into the tracking software or POS system. 
  • Proper accounting and documentation of the aforementioned. 

5 - Security, accounting and cash management protocols.

Cannabis businesses face many problems when storing and moving cash from the store. Since cannabis businesses are not legal at the federal level in the United States of America, they are limited in the services they can receive from banks. As a result of those limitations, dispensaries struggle with large amounts of cash being stored on the dispensary's premises.

Security and cash management protocols could include: 

  • What employees are allowed in sensitive areas like stores and cash safes.
  • How long to keep security camera recordings and how to report a robbery.
  • How often armored trucks can pick up cash. 
  • Who gives the cash to the trucks. 
  • How the cash is stored while at the dispensary.
  • Who is keeping track of accounting and line items. 
  • Who is keeping track of the inventory management. 
  • How are taxes being filed and accounted for, and by who.

6 - Track-and-trace & inventory management.

Track and Trace SOPs are important for every cannabis dispensary. In order to comply with the regulations, you have to adopt track and trace SOPs into your inventory management system. 

These track and trace SOPs should cover:

  • Inventory management processes like procurement.
  • Transportation to store.
  • Product transfers.
  • Audits. 
  • Track and trace software procedures that comply with local regulations.

Given how important track and trace SOPs are for compliance, you should automate this process if possible. Track-and-trace automation software can help you define the roles for each activity and integrate compliance checks.

7 - Quality assessment.

Quality assessment SOPs will make sure your product is up to the required standard by the regulators and that you are not violating any laws over what ingredients can be included in your products and how they are made. Failure to comply with these SOPs or pass a quality assessment could leave a dispensary owner at risk of losing their license.

Quality assessment SOP’s could include: 

  • Purchasing products from verified sellers.
  • Ensuring products are tagged within tracking systems.
  • Ensuring you are selling products that you can legally sell within your geographic location.
  • Product feedback requests.

8 - Product recalls and emergencies.

Product recall SOPs will come into play when a defective product needs to be recalled from the market. This can be stressful for the team as it will lead to customers complaining, and  management concerned at the losses being recorded. One of the most valuable assets to have in this situation would be SOPs that guide your team on how to act in this situation without losing their cool or professionalism. 

Recall SOP’s could be: 

  • How /who contacts purchasers.
  • Who is on top of product updates (do you have a compliance manager?) .
  • Product recall script .

9 - Employee Management SOP’s

Previously, these SOPs have been focused on inventory and store management, however managing your staff is another large part of any dispensary.  Here is how to manage your staff:

Employee management SOPs could be:

  • How do you onboard employees? 
  • Who manages their forms and licenses?
  • Who writes and manages the schedules? 
  • How do employees swap shifts?
  • How do staff clock in to shifts? 
  • How runs payroll?
  • How are staff paid?
  • How are taxes paid? 
  • How are employees' performances reviewed, and by who? 

If you are looking for a system to help you manage your people, the KayaPush platform does it all and more, all from one easy to use, integrated platform.

These are the major SOPs that we believe you should have in place before opening, but don’t forget that enforcing them is just as crucial as implementing them.

Download the guide here!

Click to download the Ultimate Dispensary SOP checklist

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