How are Barcode Scanners used in Medical Cannabis Retail?

Barcode Scanning Elevates the Cannabis Industry

Code Barcode Scanning: The Ultimate Retail Solution for a Thriving Medical Dispensary?

Code Corporation’s industry-leading barcode scanning technology supplies retail solutions across industries from healthcare to robotics to… cannabis? It’s true! Barcode scanning software and hardware vastly reward the rapidly growing cannabis industry. The entire business life cycle of a cannabis product, from planted seed to final sale at a dispensary, can benefit from Code’s data capture technology and scanning solutions.

A single barcode scanner can replace existing business processes, taking dispensaries to higher levels of productivity and sales. In this blog post, we focus on how barcode scanners support the retail side of dispensaries in Utah and other states.

Handheld barcode scanners for medical dispensaries
Medical dispensaries need high-performance POS barcode scanners.

The Legal Scoop: How Current Regulations Combine with Barcode Scanning to Provide Retail Solutions The High Life: Current State of the Cannabis Industry

What is the current state of the legalization of cannabis in the United States? Here are the facts.

Federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act. Selling or distributing a Schedule I substance is generally considered a federal offense. However, federally mandated regulations permit and control the growth, production, and sale of medicinal and recreational cannabis products.

For example, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) permitted the production of hemp back in December of 2018, issuing hemp production programs throughout the country and subjecting all cannabis products to FDA regulation.

The 4:20 Lowdown: State Cannabis Retail Regulations

As the cannabis industry continues to shift, state regulations on cannabis products and retail sales are constantly changing, too. Cannabis retailers must comply with their state’s ever-changing laws to remain responsible legal entities.

For example, all cannabis retailers must follow state-by-state cannabis packaging regulations like these:

  • Child resistance
  • Resealability
  • Tamper evidence and resistance
  • Labels that specify medical versus recreational
  • Unique identification numbers
  • The universal cannabis symbol
  • Other specific packing regulations

Additionally, cannabis facilities like medical dispensaries must comply with their state's marijuana possession limits, age restrictions, and retail recreational sale status. In Utah, for example, medical marijuana possession patient limits are restricted to a 30-day supply of unprocessed cannabis that cannot exceed 113 grams. On the other hand, the recreational sale of cannabis is not allowed in Utah. Other up-to-date state-by-state cannabis regulations can be found here.

Another regulation states that individual seeds must be tracked throughout their entire life cycle from grower to end user. This traceability mandate also covers the retail portion of the process, where cannabis products are sold and delivered to customers by dispensaries.

These state-enforced packaging constraints, limits, verifications, and tracking requirements provide the industry and customers transparency, safety, and protection. However, requirements and restrictions can complicate running a dispensary efficiently. This is where Code’s barcode scanners can streamline the selling process.

Code Green! How Code’s Barcode Scanning Technology Supports Medical Dispensary Sales

While Utah has not legalized recreational marijuana, over 37,000 Utahns possess active medical marijuana cards as of September 2021. This number is proliferating, as is the amount of medical marijuana sold in the state and across the country. So, how do we gather these statistics? The answer is barcode scanning technology.

medical marijuana track and trace
Medical dispensaries’ products are available in diverse forms.

Barcode scanners uplift medical dispensaries’ retail processes through their tracking and tracing, verification, and ID scanning abilities. Before we dive into these details, let’s shed light on why someone might walk into a medical dispensary for some green goods.

Getting Personal: An Overview of How Medical Marijuana Helps Patients

The medical use of cannabis can help treat symptoms caused by qualifying conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, cancer, severe chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cannabis contains active cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, that stimulate cannabinoid receptors in the brain. THC causes psychoactive effects, whereas CBD contains anti-anxiety and anti-psychoactive properties. THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids have therapeutic effects that can reduce pain, nausea, and other symptoms.

Specific cannabinoids activate specific types of receptors in the brain. For example, certain cannabinoids can activate the receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which are responsible for pain modulation. Cannabinoids that activate the immune or hematological systems can lead to decreased inflammation levels. Other types of cannabis can influence the portions of the brain associated with memory and coordination, benefiting patients with Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis. Marijuana can even help quell nausea caused by chemotherapy in a cancer patient. For many people, medical marijuana significantly alleviates symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions.

Code’s Retail Scanners Take Medical Dispensary Sales to the Next Level

Utah’s first medical dispensary, Dragonfly Wellness, sits on South State Street in downtown Salt Lake City ready to serve the tens of thousands of Utah citizens with medical marijuana cards. We had the opportunity to walk through the doors of the green dragonfly building, chat with its employees, and learn more about this iconic Utah medical dispensary’s retail process.

Medical dispensaries exist to improve the quality of their customers’ lives. Similarly to other legal medical dispensaries, Dragonfly Wellness achieves this by utilizing proper cannabis retail inventory management. Like what medical dispensary products can do for their customers, Code’s barcode scanners can help take dispensary sales to higher levels. Here’s how a simple barcode scanner can boost dispensary sales, ensure compliance with the law, and further benefit the rapidly growing cannabis industry.

Embrace Track and Trace

A medical dispensary’s track and trace system records cannabis inventory and its activity along the supply chain from cultivation to distribution to sale. During the retail piece of this process, tracking and tracing include managing inventory, monitoring stock levels, and recording and tracing sold cannabis products and their respective information in near real-time.

seed to sale tracing
Seed-to-sale traceability is crucial for compliance.

Benefits of using Code’s barcode scanner software and UPC code scanners to track and trace include the following:

  • Properly tracking and tracing with reliable barcode scanners allow dispensaries to comply with federal and state regulations.
  • Scannable QR codes and barcodes create a paper trail that can locate recalled or audit-mandated products.
  • Teams can ensure inventory levels are stocked appropriately with an automatic reordering that activates when inventory falls below a specific threshold, supporting sales and loss prevention initiatives.
  • Code can accurately track medical cannabis information and monitor the effects of different cannabinoids, similar to how Code pill scanners help monitor and track bedside medication and dosing in the healthcare industry.
  • Code’s barcode scanners can accurately track cannabis quantities sold per day, the gender and age of buyers, timestamps, and other important information that medical dispensaries record to improve cannabis retail and better serve customers.
  • After scanning a QR code on packaged cannabis products, customers are taken to a certificate of analysis with important information about the testing lab, lab test results, brand, and cannabis product ingredients.
  • Code’s data capture technology, barcodes, and QR codes improve customer relationships and boost trust by providing transparent, verified information.

Scan and Verify to Clarify and Comply

ID scanning and verification help medical dispensaries comply with safety and security elements required by federal and state laws. Code’s barcode scanning software and hardware provide retail solutions to verify age, state possession limits, doctor possession limits, government-issued identification information, and coupon codes. Barcodes can also safely verify that a product matches the medical prescription before customer handoff.

Code products’ scanning and verification features help prevent fraud, like the use of fake IDs and counterfeits. By the way, attempting to use a fraudulent ID to buy marijuana will land people in a heap of fines and smudged reputations. Code’s barcode scanners are too wise to fool!

All Hail the Point of Sale: Code POS Barcode Readers

On the checkout counter of Dragonfly Wellness and other medical dispensaries sit point of sale (POS) barcode scanners to track, trace, scan, and verify. Code’s POS barcode readers include the value-laden CR950, ultra-compact CR1100, and the purpose-built CR5215. Some operations also outfit "budtenders" with smartphones that use the CortexDecoder Software Development Kit; these iOS scanners or Android barcode scanners enable budtenders to scan a barcode and check inventory or answer other customer questions. Regardless of Code retail scanner type used, dispensaries benefit from the following valuable POS features:

  • Instant age verification on iOS scanners (thanks to the CortexID age-verification app) and handheld retail scanners that have multiple advantageous age verification features, such as data parsing
  • Customizable ID formatting
  • Fast-paced, accurate data handling
  • Business security support
  • Hands-free operation or an optional trigger that reads large, heavy, or bulk items
  • Manual or automatic triggering
  • Extended read ranges
  • Efficient power consumption for long days

There you have it: a peek inside medical dispensary retail sales and how Code’s barcode scanning hardware and software benefit the cannabis industry. In addition to our innovative retail solutions, you can explore Code’s solutions for cannabis growers and producers.

Upgrading your retail operations POS system is as easy as emailing [email protected]; our EMEA- or TAM-based data capture experts will create the right retail barcode scanning solution to support your sales, inventory, and marketing needs.

In addition to the flexing of federal cannabis laws, many states are adopting the legalization of the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. For example, Code Corporation’s home state, Utah, legalized medical marijuana in November 2018.

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