Viewing posts categorised under: Marijuana Dispensary

The Value of Budtenders in Managing a Cannabis Dispensary

Dispensary, Marijuana Dispensary

There’s no denying it: the first time you walk into a cannabis dispensary with a new prescription can be intimidating. A small California dispensary may sell just a few delivery methods for medical marijuana (vape pens and flower, for example), while larger, more mature stores will have brightly-lit display cases filled with a mind-blowing variety of THC and CBD product, packaged and fresh-baked edibles, beverages, tinctures, vapes, concentrates, jars of exotic-looking flower, and all the accessories you can imagine. As a manager and operator of Southern-California dispensaries for many years, I’ve seen hundreds of first-time patients come in my stores and just stand there, wide-eyed and overwhelmed. Because this moment is so common, there's no way to overstate the value of budtenders in managing a cannabis dispensary.

This newcomer moment is THE SUPER BOWL OF MANAGING A CANNABIS DISPENSARY. It’s the one we train for. Because, in my experience, only the best Budtenders have the ability to relax the new patient and give them the comfort level needed to absorb what they’re seeing, make a good buying decision, and leave with the best possible product and experience so they’ll want to return, and also refer others.

If you are a dispensary owner wanting to create an atmosphere that keeps patients coming back, it is essential to hire and train great Budtenders. Perhaps like you, I personally hire and train all my Budtenders (aka Dispensing Agents) to learn the qualities and processes that put first-time patients at ease and lead to strong relationships. I’d like to share what I’ve learned.


  1. Welcome new patients in a warm and friendly way

Let’s go back to that new customer in the doorway. Let’s call her Heather, and her Budtender will be Mike. The first thing Budtender Mike will do when wide-eyed Heather stops in my doorway is smile and greet her warmly. Then he’ll wait a bit, so Heather can process the dispensary and the surroundings. Once she’s ready, Budtender Mike will politely shake hands, introduce himself and ask Heather’s name while maintaining consistent eye contact. (Eye contact is crucial to help the Heather establish a comforting human connection with the budtender.) The goal of these first 30 seconds is to establish a human connection with the newcomer by being genuinely nice, welcoming her to the store, and showing pride in working here.

  1. Be ready to listen.

It’s important to remember that the cannabis prescription in Heather’s hand doesn’t say, “take 2 pills and call me in the morning.” It’s up to the Budtender to listen carefully for the condition(s) to be treated and try to understand a bit about her lifestyle. She may be a smoker, in which case she probably won’t mind flower products. Or she may not like the cannabis smell or the taste of sweets, in which case, Mike needs to use his deep product knowledge to offer the best choices that address Heather’s physical needs AND suit her lifestyle.

  1. Be nice.

Poorly trained Budtenders often fail to present a welcoming manner, to give complete information geared toward a novice, or to demonstrate the patience a new customer needs. I’ve seen Budtenders be condescending, pushy, or the other extreme: the “Gnarly Dewd!” who’s so busy showing attitude and lingo, he can’t be sensitive to the uninitiated customer. All of these of bogus Budtenders will leave the new patient disappointed and wary about returning to your clinic. You should re-train them or cut them loose.

  1. Take your time.

New patients like Heather will probably ‘need a minute’ to process all this information. There’s no timer measuring how quickly to shuttle patients through – we’re not a bank! I’ve trained Budtender Mike to take as much time as necessary to help Heather feel confident in her buying decision and the product she takes home.

  1. Know your stuff.

My best Budtenders know their bud like a great sommelier knows his or her wines: intimately. Why? They LOVE what they do! They know a crazy amount about medicinal cannabis products and which conditions they’re appropriate for, because they’re constantly reading news, watching videos, and listening to podcasts about product and new ideas in the industry. They quiz their friends, co-workers, and customers about which products deliver the best results. And they bring new ideas to me EVERY DAY. I’m not exaggerating. Out on the floor, when you hear your Budtender asking questions like “What’s your favorite strain?”, “What is your reason for medicating?”, and “What have you tried so far?”, you know he or she is building good rapport and understanding of the patient and providing them with products that will fit their needs.

  1. Have a “pitch” ready.

Every dispensary should have a speech with general information for new patients. It might include specials, daily deals, testing procedures, dispensary policies, patient reward points, and so on. This is crucially important information to be conveyed to each and every new patient.

  1. Recognize experienced users and guide them to their favorite products.

You can tell immediately when patients have been to dispensaries before. They typically know exactly what they like and might even be able to spot it without assistance. The best approach to these customers is to guide them to the product they want and make sure they’re comfortable and happy with the dispensary’s service. Questions to the experienced customer may include “What’s your favorite strain?” With that knowledge, ALWAYS show them an item they may not have seen before. Your generous demeanor and expertise will combine to make them want to come back.

  1. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm for the product.

When showing new patients the dispensary’s flower options, my best Budtenders typically show three different strains. As high-quality flower tends to be consistent, three is generally a safe number to ensure that the patient understands the breadth of your offering. When describing the effects of the flower, I never say, “it’s dank” or “I was so high when I smoked this!”, as these phrases are used by “gnarly” budtenders at other dispensaries. Instead, I want my Budtender to share real experiences, such as “Yeah, I smoked this last night. It is a super heavy Indica that took the edge off my lower back pain,” or “This Sativa made me alert and socially active. I finished all my errands and met some cool people!”

  1. Close with kindness.

At the end of the visit, Mike will make small talk with Heather and establish the groundwork of the relationship that will grow through future visits. He’ll ask about her weekend plans or about something he’s learned about her during their conversation. By building a relationship with patients, my best Budtenders establish something that makes them both genuinely happy to be in the dispensary.

  1. Enjoy the ride

THE LAST WORD… Patients are drawn to a your beautiful dispensary for a variety of reasons. It might be your top notch medication, your clean environment, and your ability to make people feel better. But the one sure thing that keeps patients coming back consistently is the patience and knowledge of Budtenders and the overall good vibe patients feel when they’re treated like friends. You will work hard to teach your Budtender Best Practices, but it will be worth every minute.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Jerry Tut is Chief Operating Officer of SIVA Enterprises (CEO Avis Bulbulyan), the leading broad-spectrum cannabis business development firm in the US providing entrepreneurs with consulting services, turnkey management, venture opportunities, and brand acquisitions and licensing in all states where cannabis is legal. Jerry consults with four Southern California dispensaries as manager and operator. Chelsea Stone is the firm’s Editorial Manager.

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Find the Right Investors for Your Dispensary

Business Plans by SIVA, Cannabis Consulting, Marijuana Dispensary

Investing headline in newspaperIt can be challenging to find startup funding for a cannabis dispensary. Investors are out there, but it takes specialized skills and know-how to find them. Here are a few methods that may help you connect with startup funders.

Networking. Networking is the key to growth and success as no business can succeed in a vacuum. Your contacts are a vital part of your business and you should look after them. Thirty years ago, a huge rolodex was a sign of a master networker. Today, social networking is an excellent way to develop personal connections. You cannot ignore Linkedin, Facebook, and other social media networking platforms specific to your business and the cannabis industry.

Trade Conventions. If you are in the Pacific Northwest this winter, the Northwest Cannabis Classic takes place in Portland on December 6. This is a wonderful way to get to know the community, and to start or expand your network of potential investors or partners. Trade conventions are excellent for networking, but this year’s Cannabis Classic also features informative seminars on kick-starting a marijuana business, collaborating with other entrepreneurs, and finding potential investors.

Check out Weedbiz. Weedbiz specializes in cannabusiness with an eye towards finding investors. If you have an idea or business idea related to the medical or recreational cannabis industry, Weedbiz has developed relationships with private equity marijuana investors. These investors are seeking opportunities to get involved in the emerging legal cannabis industry.

Fundraising. Fundraising takes time and energy, but the results can be tangible. In the US there are nearly 1000 venture capital funds, and literally hundreds of thousands of individual “angel” investors. Here are a few tips for fundraising through venture capitalists.

1) Create a target list. This is a good a starting point. The key is to efficiently narrow down your list and identify investors that have a track record in your industry. Look at a list of 15 to 20 funds and 25 to 50 individuals who are relevant to your idea.

2) Avoid investors with potential conflicts of interests. Avoid investors who have invested in your competition. You don’t want an investor who has a conflict of interest, and you certainly don’t want to provide your competition with access to confidential information. Avoid this by conducting online reviews of the investors’ profiles, and by addressing any “fuzzy” issues when you meet.

3) Get a referral. Find a “warm” way in, and avoid cold calls or emails. Most people are too busy to take every proposition or idea seriously. Deals that don’t come through trusted contacts often end up in the wastebasket. It makes sense to find common interests and get someone who knows you to make the referral.

4) Get third party feedback. Get outside perspectives on potential investors. Contacting the CEOs of companies they have invested in can be helpful, but you can also do online research.

5) See how it goes. Your potential investors will be judging and evaluating you, and you have the chance to do the same during your face-to-face meeting. You want to be sure that the relationship is a good fit, just as your potential investors are looking for the same. Don’t be afraid to back out if something does not feel right.

Having a solid plan for networking is critical to your fundraising success, and to finding the right cannabis dispensary investors. Take time to develop and foster these relationships and you will see more opportunities and potential for investment. Finding the right investors is a serious job, and one that is necessary for the success of your cannabis business.

Having deep roots in all aspects of the cannabis industry, SIVA Enterprises is uniquely situated to connect new dispensary entrepreneurs with angel investors. Call us today to learn more about our consulting services.


[Photo by:, by Thomas Picard, via Content License]


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Marijuana State License Applications: What You Need to Know

Business Plans by SIVA, Cannabis Consulting, Cannabis Laws, Marijuana Dispensary

As of November 2015, marijuana has been legalized in 23 states for recreational or medical use, and some estimates reveal that the cannabis industry could be worth as much as $35 billion by 2020. If you are interested in legally selling marijuana, your best bet is to understand the requirements for opening a dispensary in your state. State license applications differ depending on where you live and often dictate how the structure of your business will look. A cannabis consultant can help walk you through these steps by providing great knowledge and expertise of the industry. As a dispensary owner, you’ll need to navigate state licensure, designate a legal location for your business, assemble a quality team, develop an operations manual, meet security requirements, and gather local support. SIVA Enterprises can help you with these essential areas and get you on track to starting your own cannabis business.

cannabis dispensary license infographic

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2 Must-Have Tools For Writing Your Marijuana Dispensary Business Plan

Business Plans by SIVA, Cannabis Consulting, Marijuana Dispensary

pen paper and laptopDispensary owners and managers should be aware of two analysis tools that are useful when writing a marijuana business plan. When preparing to enter the market, proper planning and preparation are essential to your company’s growth and success. There are many free tools that will help you prepare a thorough and deliberate industry analysis of the industry. SWOT and PEST are just two of these tools that can help you analyze and understand internal and external factors that affect your business.

PEST is best used to look at big-picture changes that relate to your particular industry. PEST is an acronym that stands for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological (factors); this tool is typically used to identify growth opportunities. PESTLE is a variation of PEST that also includes Legal and Environmental and/or Ethical factors. Looking for a basic starting point for your analysis? Start with the Who, What, Where, When, and Why for each of the PEST or PESTLE categories.

PEST has been described as more of a macro-level analysis tool. In contrast, SWOT offers a more detailed, micro-level analysis by evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threat of a business, service, or product.

Analysts following the SWOT model analyze business opportunities and strengths. In the SWOT model, terms like “power” and “defense points” represent hypothetical business resources. For example, your product line for vaporizers might be perceived as a weakness. However, since there are no other dispensaries in your area that currently provide vaporizers, the threat is also weak. The difference here results in “defense points” that in real life might represent a certain amount of time before your competitor also brings vaporizers to the market. A strength might be a superior strain of cannabis, but without the ability to increase crop size, your overall power is low. By increasing the yield, the power of your company can grow. SWOT analysis results are used as leverage to build power. Weaknesses are protected against threats to build a strong business defense. Strengths are optimized to allow for maximum growth.

PEST and SWOT are simple, analytical tools that do not require anything more than your intellect, a pen, and paper (or computer). You can use PEST and SWOT for more than just new and old businesses, as the models also apply to products, places, and even people.

Getting started. Any good business plan involves stating a business goal. By using SWOT, you can gain an understanding of the factors that could impact whether you achieve that goal. According to some analysts, a company is considered a good strategic fit when its external environment matches its internal environment. This is done by assessing the characteristics of your business according to the SWOT model of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

If you are writing your cannabis dispensary business plan, than you can get started with a basic SWOT and PEST analysis today. These tools can be used separately, or in conjunction with each other for future planning and strategic management. Get started today by dedicating some time to quiet reflection and thought. Be sure to have a place to write down your ideas as you formulate and reshape them.

Lastly, call us. Our decades of experience in cannabusiness can be your secret weapon. We can help you conduct PEST and SWOT analysis. We can help you create a strong business plan.

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When Your Cannabis Workers Want to Unionize

Cannabis Consulting, Cannabis Jobs, Cannabis Laws, Marijuana Dispensary

Union painting on wallIf you’re penning a cannabis business plan, you may assume that the budding marijuana industry is too new for labor unions to be in place. Not so. Some cannabis workers have already unionized, so the savvy marijuana business owner must be knowledgeable about why cannabis workers would want to unionize, and how to respond

Traditionally, business owners, entrepreneurs, and managers feel threatened by unionization. Consider a recent Entrepreneur article that advised business owners to avoid union formation elections whenever possible. However, that view may no longer be justified, because unions can actually provide value. As the Edward Lowe Foundation reports, union-management relations can be productive, as long as open lines of communication are maintained.

Cannabis Unionization. Cannabis workers have been unionizing under the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) since 2010. As of 2013, UFCW membership for cannabis workers was around 2,000, and it continues to grow. There are both positive and negative elements in relations between cannabis business owners and workers. Oftentimes, union leaders and dispensary owners have found common goals, including political work to legalize cannabis at the state level. Labor problems did occur because of the Federal response to several large dispensaries in Colorado and California during 2013. Labor relations suffered because these Department of Justice raids seemed to focus on unionized shops. However, as raids have diminished over recent years, there is less of a threat at the federal level going into 2016.

Understanding Labor Law. Having a basic understanding of some recent changes to labor law is beneficial for cannabis entrepreneurs. In April of this year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) changed how union elections occur. NLRB shortened the amount of time between petition submission and the vote on whether to unionize. In other words, business owners have less time to prepare responses, such as addressing employees’ concerns and discrediting misinformation.

Other changes have also been made to the way that the NLRB deals with micro-units, potentially making it easier for cannabis workers to unionize.

Pros and Cons. Negative aspects of unionization for the employer include: dealing with collective bargaining agreements, higher costs, more red tape, and the hassle of legal issues. Unionization advantages include equitability, increase in safety, benefits and wage increases to the workers, and recognition of work performance. These help both the employer and the employee. In addition, unions and managers have found common ground in the political arena, as legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis benefits both parties.

Think Twice. Obviously there are many nuances to the discussion of unionization. You can’t control whether your workers choose to unionize by petitioning the NLRB, but you can choose how to respond. Again, experts maintain that having open lines of communication and respect between employers and employees is always going to be a priority. Understanding your workers´ needs will make your dispensary a more enjoyable and fulfilling place to work (and decrease the likelihood that workers will feel the need to unionize). Overall, being perceptive to your workers’ needs is the best way to defuse potential problems and improve employer/employee relations.

In general, the cannabis industry takes care of its workers, who typically make between $35 and $40k per year, often with benefits. However, some worry that without proper regulation and testing, companies may be exposing their workers to pesticides. This concern is only amplified in the emergent edible market. Historically, unions have protected the agricultural workers. If current conditions remain positive for cannabis workers, there may be less need to organize.

All of this must be taken into account when writing a cannabis business plan. Call us today for unionization strategy. We’ll set you up for labor success.


[Photo by: ewe neon, via CC License]

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Gain a Competitive Advantage at Your Marijuana Dispensary

Cannabis Consulting, Marijuana Dispensary

Boxing GlovesIn these exciting days of the so-called “Green Rush” it may seem fairly easy to succeed as a cannabis entrepreneur. After all, demand is high and the market is still open. However, as more dispensaries are established and the number of recreational users tapers off, competition will become fiercer. For those who want to be in the cannabis industry for the long haul, it’s essential to have a competitive edge that distinguishes your brand from the dozens of others beginning to crowd the marijuana marketplace.

In this blog we explore what you can do to gain a competitive edge at your cannabis dispensary. We discuss what this means, and how it can lead to bigger profits. We also discuss how to analyze your industry and your competitors to shore up your competitive advantage and make sure that your dispensary stands out.

On a basic level, a competitive advantage is what differentiates you from your competition. It is a combination of all those little things that makes your cannabis business better than the ones down the street.

Standing out. We all think we know what makes an individual or brand stand out: drive, innovation, resourcefulness, social skills/customer relations, and so forth. However, a leader retains their status year after year through hard work and the self-discipline for self-improvement. A recent article from Entrepreneur highlights some of the skill sets required for standing out.

  • Being Ready Ahead of Time. The ability to stay prepared and stay ahead of the game by proactively thinking is a crucial leadership skill, and one that will surely give you an advantage over your competition. This has been described as a “will to prepare” and is a trait that is found among the most successful of professionals.
  • Work on self-development and be consistent about it. Leaders who want to stay ahead in the game will constantly seek new information, and will try to improve themselves with this information.
  • Self-evaluation. The results can be harsh, but evaluating your business as an outsider would can also give you an opportunity for improvement.
  • Seek a consulting agency. Hire a marijuana consultant to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your business plan. Their experience can provide insight you may not have considered.

Plan for growth. For dispensaries, a positive sales environment is crucial. Build with future growth in mind. Up-front investment will be required, but it will be returned in stronger sales. Prioritize creating a well-lit area, attractive counters, and clean display racks that will lend a professional appearance to your store. Signage, secure storage, cash handling procedures, and many other aspects of marijuana dispensary operations should be outlined in your marijuana business plan (which a marijuana consultant can help you create).

Find good vendors. Your cannabis flowers are likely going to be your top product, so it is important to have producers you can trust. Be on the lookout for other products that you can bring to the market, such as unique edibles, oils, and vaporizer-related products, as your product line can also make or break any marketing advantage you may gain.

Cannabis photography can make your product stand out and give you a competitive advantage. This may be an area that your competitors have overlooked, and where you can capitalize on some pre-planning. These photos can help buyers detect key traits such as the color and shape of cannabis buds. Some photographers specializing in cannabis photography can highlight plant aspects that are hard to see with the naked eye, such as the trichomes, the trimming job, and the overall shape of the bud. High quality photos not only enhance credibility, but they also inspire consumer confidence, and these factors alone could be enough to give your product the advantage it needs to succeed.

The Power of Analysis. The factors that give your cannabis dispensary a competitive advantage are sure to vary from location to location. That’s why it’s so important to partner with a consultant with thorough experience in your market. Too often, cannabis entrepreneurs rush into setting up their dispensaries without analyzing nearby competitors. Months down the road, as their sales dwindle, the importance of market research becomes clear. Take time early on to analyze your local and regional industry.


[Photo by:, by Jean Scheijen, via Content License]

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Stay On Your Game: New Dispensary Gadgets

Marijuana Dispensary

Varavo vape pen

Varavo Vape Pen

In this blog post we review new marijuana technology that is making its way to the market. With cannabis legal in several states the industry is poised for rapid growth. As such, a competitive advantage is necessary to stand out from the many players hoping to take advantage of this particular moment. One area where your dispensary can stand out is by keeping up with technology in the form of new gadgets that are either available now, or are making their way to the market as you read this.

Vapes. Vaporizers are indispensible to the modern smoker. Not only is vapor less harmful than smoke, but vaporizers allow a certain sense of anonymity in the sense that you can never really tell if someone is smoking marijuana or tobacco. You might be interested to know that there is a high-tech aspect to the vaping industry. The Firefly vaporizer, for example, was developed in San Francisco by a couple guys who had experience developing HD Flip Cameras and managing a Mac OS team for Apple. The difference between this vape and others on the market is that it vaporizes plant material instead of butane-extracted cannabis oil. The vaporizer market, still in its infancy, is bringing real innovation to market.

Oils and Essentials. Cannabis oil contains extremely high concentrations of cannabinoids (CBD, THC). So it isn’t surprising that the demand for cannabis oils is expanding. Edible fans appreciate oil because it can be used in tinctures for food preparation. For retailers, specializing in oils can create a competitive advantage. For the do-it-yourself crowd, homemade rotovaps and specialized countertop distilleries may allow home growers to extract their own oils.

LED Lighting. Traditionally growers have relied on high-pressure sodium lights, which burn hot and require massive amounts of energy. Growers relying on high-pressure must make extra efforts at cooling the crop and to provide fresh air, which gobbles up more energy. However, upcoming LED lights could greatly reduce energy costs. Their price would be about 7 times higher than sodium lights, but LEDs could recuperate that investment quickly in energy savings. Research reveals additional benefits of LED cannabis lighting. LED-grown plants tend to stay cooler, so they don’t grow as tall. That’s advantageous because the plants then dedicate more energy to flowering. Other benefits of LEDs are still being worked out, but there is evidence suggesting that by toying with the light spectrum, LED growers can effectively trick plants into thinking it is dark even while continuing to absorb light and grow.

High-tech vapes, essential oils and extraction kits, and LED lights are just a few of the marijuana gadgets headed to the market now. Other gadgets include a plethora of smoking devices, custom stash holders, air-conditioning units for your bong, and power cleaners for your smoking devices. With such a bold offering of available products and gadgets, it is a good idea to stay up to date and out of the dark when it comes to marijuana technology and gadgets. Don’t let your dispensary fall behind. Call us for advice on which gadgets to stock up on.

[Photo courtesy of Varavo]

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Benefits of Strong Employee Training For Your Marijuana Dispensary

Cannabis Consulting, Cannabis Jobs, Marijuana Dispensary

Sign that says learningMarijuana employee training is a necessary, budgeted investment that every dispensary must make. However, it’s not easy for dispensary owners to understand which training is essential. There are no national standards for training dispensary employees, and no overarching cannabis certification or licensing code. Therefore, owners must look to state law to understand legal minimums for worker education. Some states do require that employees be registered. (Massachusetts includes a $500 fee for this registration service, for example.) Individual states may also require that cannabis employees receive a certain number of education hours on specific topics, such as patient confidentiality. (Massachusetts requires eight hours of training per employee, per year on this subject.)

The successful dispensary owner will recognize that employee education pays off in reduced loss, increased sales, and averted fines. But these are not the only benefits of having a strong cannabis dispensary employee training program in place.

Benefits of Strong Employee Training for Marijuana Dispensaries

  1. Risk Management. Thoroughly trained employees are less likely to break state law, and therefore less likely to bring fines and negative attention to your dispensary.
  2. Continual Improvement. By providing training and assessing learning, dispensary owners can see overall operational improvement. More intelligent, better-trained employees go a long way in making business improvements. Educated staffers can suggest process improvements, increasing profits.
  3. Retain Staff. Training engages staff and motivates them to do their best. Human resources research shows that employees are more likely to stay with companies that provide training.
  4. Increased Sales. A more knowledgeable staff translates into increased sales, as budtenders can tailor recommendations to target different ailments/experiences.

Employee training isn’t just good cannabis dispensary protocol; it’s simply good business. HR Magazine has reported that companies investing upwards of $1,500 annually per employee per year average 24% higher profit margins than firms that do not invest in training at that level. Similarly, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) has found that companies that offer comprehensive employee training have 218% more income per employee.

Let’s consider employee training for two common cannabis dispensary positions: Budtender and Receptionist. As public-facing salespeople, budtenders must have a rock-solid knowledge of marijuana strains. This requires an understanding of how marijuana works metabolically, including the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Budtenders must also understand client privacy laws as well as age restriction laws. Receptionists must be well versed in client confidentiality laws and age restriction laws. Both positions require excellent communication and people skills.

So where can a dispensary owner go for employee training? Brick and mortar cannabis schools are opening in many states. Online training programs are also available. Because the cannabis industry is so new, different schools tend to create their own educational programs and certification levels. State and federal cannabis law, cannabis as medicine, and cannabis business operations are common topics covered in these educational institutions. Customer service and dispensary rights may also be taught. However, there is little standardization from school to school, so when training employees, it is best to strategize with a cannabis consultant before shelling out training funds.  A cannabis consultant can give you an insider’s knowledge on the best programs, according to state law and business acumen. For advice on marijuana dispensary employee training, call us. Our experienced cannabis consultants can help you design an employee training program to help your dispensary shine.

[Photo by Alan Levine via CC License]

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Entering the Edible Market: Packing and Labeling for Your Marijuana Dispensary

Cannabis Consulting, Cannabis Information, Cannabis Laws, Marijuana Dispensary

The marijuana edible market is booming. As demand for edibles grows, states are creating tighter restrictions on edible packaging and labeling. For continued success, dispensaries must stay current on edible marijuana requirements.

varavo chocolatesAs is the case in other areas of dispensary operation, each state has its own guidelines regarding edible packaging. These laws may be based on the regulations of other states, or they may be entirely unique. In general, edible packaging rules aim for differentiation from non-cannabis products. The impetus here is that children may be attracted to cannabis edibles packaged as candy or other junk food. By specifying allowable packaging, legislators hope to decrease the chance that children will be attracted to edibles containing cannabis.

Some states also require single dose packaging. New medical or recreational users may be unfamiliar with edibles’ potency. They may also be uninformed about the time span required for edibles to enter the bloodstream. It generally takes 45 to 90 minutes for the THC and other active cannabis compounds in edibles to be processed through the liver, and therefore to be felt by the cannabis user. Some state lawmakers argue that cannabis edible product packaging should display information to this effect. Single dose packaging aims to decrease the chance that a greenhorn edible consumer will eat too much cannabis-laden edible product at once, and face an unexpectedly potent high.

State by State: Examples of Edible Packaging Requirements

Alaska: Child-resistant packaging required; additional regulations to be determined.

Colorado: Child-resistant packaging or an “exit package” that is child resistant. The package must be opaque, closable if intended for multiple uses, and labeled with all ingredients according to the state’s retail code.

Oregon: Child-resistant packaging required; additional regulations to be determined.

Washington: Packaging must prevent contamination. Child resistant packaging required. The state has additional regulations on labeling requirements and packaging for liquid forms of edibles.

Delaware: Labeling must include the strain name, the batch number, the quantity, details about the product’s freedom from contaminants, the levels of active ingredients, and the phrase, “This product is for medical use only, not for resale.”

Nevada: Packaging must be at least 4 millimeters thick, and heat-sealed with no easy-open tab, dimple, corner, or flap. This is both to prevent child access and to prevent tampering.

New Jersey: In addition to regulations requiring food grade stainless steel processing tables and rodent/bird exclusion practices, New Jersey law requires that edible packages contain no more than ¼ ounce of marijuana or an equivalent dose. The state also has very strict labeling requirements.

As in many other areas of cannabis dispensary operation, owners must stay abreast of regulation news in order to stay in business and on the right side of the law regarding edible marijuana. Consultant sessions can provide insight into the best packaging options for your dispensary. A cannabis consultant can advise you on the package design that will meet state requirements while also promoting your brand. As recreational marijuana goes mainstream in more and more states, edible producers will look to distinguish themselves with magnetizing packaging, just as food and beverage manufacturers have done for years. Get in touch to learn how SIVA Enterprises can help you hone effective, attractive packaging for your edible marijuana product.

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Creating a Productive Work Culture at Your Cannabis Dispensary

Cannabis Jobs, Marijuana Dispensary

Teamwork holding handsYou don’t have to choose: Work can be both fun and productive. The most effective employees enjoy their jobs. But (like everything in life) there must be a balance. Excessive fun delays the workflow, while a dull environment can discourage people from trying harder. The same ideas ring true in cannabis dispensaries, where fun is inherent and professionalism is still key. In order to cultivate a productive and positive work environment, consider including these strategies in your cannabis employee training.

Creating a Positive Cannabis Dispensary Work Environment

  1. Host dynamic team-building activities.

Organize challenges: Has the workflow reached a stalemate? Try splitting people into teams for some fun challenges. Everyone loves a bit of friendly competition! Maybe it’s a work-related game, like seeing who can make the highest sales in a day; or perhaps you want to hold a soccer match at a nearby park. Either way, you’ll get people’s adrenaline pumping and provide bonding experiences.

Socialize offsite: Meeting up outside the dispensary can really improve relationships at work. Facilitate events away from the office, even if it’s just a weekend BBQ or treating people to lunch. Help co-workers become friends. Once they see each other in a more personal light, they’ll be more willing to collaborate. Next time there’s an issue at the office, your employees will want to resolve the conflict and compromise.

  1. Celebrate achievements, big and small.

Recognize individuals’ hard work: The best way to inspire employees is by singing their praises when they succeed. An OfficeTeam survey found half of workers would consider quitting if they didn’t feel appreciated by their manager. If someone hits a sales goal or fixes an error in inventory, tell their colleagues! You can send a company-wide email or mention accomplishments in meetings, however, don’t compliment workers for no reason — or else your intentions can backfire.

Publicize company milestones: It’s true, people work harder when they know their work matters. Cannabis is an exciting, evolving industry—share the enthusiasm! You’ll see great results once employees make the company's goals their own goals. The world’s best workplaces are defined by trust and pride. Make the business more transparent by explaining big decisions and strategies, so employees feel empowered and want the company to succeed.

  1. Support personal and professional development.

Set goals: Employees won’t stay at company that doesn’t offer opportunities for advancement. Figure out how to include raises and bonuses in your company’s finances. Tangible goals motivate workers to give 110%. You should also give employee reviews every six months, so everyone knows exactly what they’ve done well and where they can improve.

Encourage breaks: Sixty percent of employees would give up some pay in exchange for more personal time. People who chose a career in the marijuana industry usually don’t want a cubicle job with 12-hour days. Help them succeed by allowing short breaks from work throughout the day. If you have the space, designate a dedicated break room and fill it with complementary coffee, snacks, and even books or games. You’ll be amazed by how refreshed and reenergized your employees will be after a quick 15-minute break.

  1. Demonstrate natural leadership.

Lead by example: A ‘bad boss’ is defined by a lack of vision and poor leadership. Prove your authority by setting straightforward plans and standing firm in your convictions. But be reasonable! Don’t live by a different standard than your employees, or you might lose their respect. Take responsibility for your mistakes and be a team player—then others will, too.

Ask for feedback: A lack of feedback perpetuates poor performances. Coaches evaluate players at the end of each game, not when the season wraps up. Ask questions so you fully understand the employee’s concerns. Use the feedback to make positive changes in the workplace. This gives your employees a sense of value and purpose, which will help them contribute their best work to the dispensary.

Positive employees bring higher productivity. For more ideas on how to cultivate a positive work culture at your cannabis dispensary, contact us. Our consultants can visit your business, assess the culture, and design a plan to maximize positivity and productivity.

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