Cannabis Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)

How to Determine Valid IdentificationStandard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are the documents, protocols, systems, and procedures that your cannabis dispensary should have in place to manage day-to-day operations. SOPs help dispensaries in many ways:

  • From optimizing proper employee management systems such as dispensary payroll and onboarding to ensuring compliance with regulations are consistently met, and more.

What are the top dispensary SOPs to use? There are hundreds of dispensary SOPs that could be created, and they should constantly be evolving as your store grows. Overall, the goal of dispensary SOPs is to increase efficiency and help you become more profitable in the long run.

That being said, these are the nine (9) types of dispensary SOPs we recommend you start with as you build and scale your dispensary store.


1. Opening & Closing Procedures

Opening and Closing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are required since all “brick-and-mortar” cannabis retail stores should have SOPs in place for opening and closing the store. But especially for stores that require high-security measures like cannabis dispensaries, opening and closing checklists for this special breed should include the following:

Opening Checklist

  • Turn on lights, music, and temperature, put out signs, and 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)

Closing Checklist

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


2. Customer Check-In

Custom Check-In Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) since 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:

  • Proper budtender training on protocols beforehand
  • 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
  • Check the system to ensure the customer has not already gone over their purchasing limit
  • Follow proper serving protocols


3. Sales Transaction Process

Sales Transaction Process Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are crucial to the business because this is how the company generates its revenues. Keeping track of these is key. Do you have the following sales SOPs? 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
  • Integrated your SOPs with the technology


4. Delivery Procedures

Cannabis Deliveries Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) can get complicated as they tend to include strict guidelines around logistics and this is why it’s essential there are SOPs built around these logistics. Delivery procedures could include:

  • Packaging and shipping guidelines with regard to the different types of products
  • Procedures in place to pack and mark fragile deliveries clearly to ensure safe delivery
  • Details and SOPs 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 & Cash Management

Security, Accounting, and Cash Management Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are required by cannabis retail stores that face many challenges when storing and moving cash from the store to the bank. Since dispensaries 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, so tight SOPs surrounding how to navigate these challenges are crucial. 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
  • Keeping track of accounting and line items
  • Keeping track of inventory management
  • Taxes are being filed and accounted for, and by who


6. “Seed-to-Sale” & Inventory Management

“Seed-to-Sale” Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are important for every cannabis dispensary. In order to comply with the regulations, you have to adopt “Seed-to-Sale” SOPs into your inventory management system. Given how important “Seed-to-Sale” SOPs are for compliance, you should automate this process if possible.

“Seed-to-Sale” software can help you define the roles for each activity and integrate compliance checks, these “Seed-to-Sale” SOPs should cover:

  • Transportation to store
  • Product transfers
  • Inventory audits
  • Inventory management processes (like procurement)
  • “Seed-to-Sale” software procedures (that comply with local regulations)



7. Quality Assessment

Cannabis Quality Assessment Standard Operating Procedures (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 SOPs 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 & Emergencies

Cannabis Product Recall Standard Operating Procedures (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 being concerned about 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 SOPs could be:

  • How /who contacts purchasers
  • Who is on top of product updates
  • Product recall script


9. Employee Management

Employee Management Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been focused on inventory and store management, however, managing your staff is another large part of any dispensary operation. When managing your staff it is recommended that you use employee management software to alleviate the stress of manually running operations such as dispensary payroll, scheduling, onboarding, or time clock adjustments.

Using software alone can eliminate the need for some of these SOPs but if you do choose to go the manual route you should have SOPs for the following procedures. Employee management SOPs could be:

  • How employees are onboarded
  • Who manages their forms and licenses
  • Who writes and manages the schedules
  • How do employees swap shifts
  • How do staff clock into shifts
  • How runs payroll
  • How are staff paid
  • How are taxes paid
  • How are employees’ performances reviewed, and by who



These are some major Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that we believe you should have in place before opening or scaling but don’t forget that enforcing them is just as crucial as implementing them. The best way to run compliant, systematic, and streamlined cannabis dispensary training is to use great technology to help you succeed!

Consider using a project management tool to help you stay on top of all your tasks, a people management solution for payroll, Human Resources (HR), time tracking, and scheduling, and a dispensary Point-of-Sale (POS) solution that integrates with a “Seed-to-Sale” technology and people management solution for the best results.

By using the tools paired with standard operating procedures your dispensary is sure to succeed.

Let us know what you think.