News and Best Practices

CannaCon Offers Products, Tips for Shops

February 22, 2017

SEATTLE—Practically each week on the calendar this year has seen another opening of another cannabis show. Last week it was CannaCon in the Pacific Northwest.

The event, held Feb. 16-18 just north of the city center, showcased about 250 exhibitors and more than 40 presentations. Topics ranged from growing on a commercial scale to breaking down how the Trump Administration might affect the cannabis industry.

Although CannaCon wasn’t focused on dispensaries and recreational stores, owners and employees of cannabis shops could still learn quite a lot. On both the exhibit floor and the seminar stages, CannaCon featured products, services and guidance to help these businesses continue to improve their operations.

New products to benefit customers

The exhibit floor was full of companies eager to offer the latest in products and services. For example:

  • Toker Poker: This all-in-one lighter is designed for anyone wanting to smoke, vape or dab. It includes a fold-in stainless steel poker, a 5 foot hemp wick, and a stainless steel tamper. Toker Poker can also be customized with a logo and contact info to help shops stay top-of-mind with their customers.
  • Curved Papers are exactly as they sound: curved rolling papers that make “rolling your own” much easier. If a shop sells mostly flower, these papers can make an easy register-side suggested sale, especially for customers new to rolling their own joints.
  • Happy Apple is a new infused beverage launching in Washington state. It’s for customers who want a drink that isn’t too syrupy and doesn’t taste like cannabis. The samples offered at the booth—which were non-infused to comply with state regulations—fulfilled that light, refreshing flavor of Washington’s famous crisp apples.

Tips to avoid costly mistakes

In the various seminars and panels, one common theme appeared to stand out: Don’t make the big mistakes. At least two presentations highlighted different types of mistakes and how to avoid them.

The first discussion was led by Jon Roskill, CEO of Acumatica. The company offers a cloud-based enterprise resource planning software to businesses both inside and outside the industry. Roskill recommended integrating automated processes that help manage everything from inventory tracking, production costing, scheduling, seed-to-sale tracking, reutilizing waste, and material requirements planning. But Roskill warned that automating these processes could come with serious growing pains if a business ignores four common mistakes in the planning process:

  1. Buying a short-term solution—Many companies still use software that’s difficult to scale with a growing business, such as using Excel for all their bookkeeping and employee management needs. Instead, Roskill suggested taking advantage of the presence of big software companies located in Seattle like Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
  2. Not having a realistic budget—Roskill advocated doing the proper homework and budgeting when planning to integrate business automation. The mistake many companies make is focusing solely on immediate costs like buying inventory, renting or buying a retail space, and hiring employees when planning an overall budget.
  3. Not having access everywhere—One of the biggest downsides to not automating a business is being tied to one computer, desk or office space. Owners and managers need all the information at their fingertips when they’re out in the field making decisions or managing their businesses from afar.
  4. Not embracing the cloud—Cloud-based automation offers not only the ability to access information anywhere, but protection and security as well. And the cloud offers prevention from the crippling loss of data that can come when a company’s main computer crashes or faces significant downtime.

The second discussion, led by Gavin Bray, Business Development Executive of Alliance 2020, focused on avoiding hiring mistakes by properly screening potential employees. Bray cited President Reagan’s “trust but verify” dictum in screening all employees so as to mediate risk, confirm the provided information, and maintain a company’s reputation.

In addition, negligent hiring claims—lawsuits filed against an employer by a party who became injured by an employee whose background was not properly checked—are much more real and widespread than many people think, according to Bray. He advised employers to use a company accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1970, which is used to regulate background screening and credit reporting.

By Kyle Brooksher
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2017 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
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