Hash Register: Startup Sees Opportunity in Point of Sale Terminals for Legal Cannabis Retailers

Untitled1By Jeff Bess

Legalization of recreational cannabis in four states and Washington, D.C.—and potentially another twelve states by the end of 2016—has brought a host of challenges and opportunities for those looking to capitalize on this newly legitimized industry. From a business perspective, the opportunities are clear: legal sales in Washington state alone netted the state $70 million in tax revenue and several times that amount in gross sales during the first year. What is often less easily appreciated, however, is the challenge cannabis retailers face in complying with complicated, sometimes onerous, state regulations. For example, Washington has instituted “seed to sale” tracking of all cannabis plants, which requires retailers to manage inventory and record sales of otherwise-identical products by plant number. Retailers must then submit all of this information to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. Added to the obvious logistical challenge of tracking hundreds of thousands of individual plants are the severe consequences of non-compliance, which can result in revocation of a retailer’s license and forced closure.

So, what can the conscientious, law-abiding cannabis retailer do to ensure compliance–without resorting to tedious and error-prone manual recordation? Continue reading

Will FCC Bend Rules for Marijuana Internet Advertising?

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 2.06.02 PMBy Cheryl Lee

Marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, while medical marijuana has been legalized in 23 states and the District of Columbia. About a dozen more states are expected to legalize marijuana in some form in the coming years. Industry experts expect annual marijuana sales revenues in Washington and Colorado to hit $2.5 billion by 2015. To help capture this revenue opportunity, many marijuana business owners are exploring Internet advertising. Indeed, the home delivery of marijuana is currently advertised on the Internet through various websites.

But marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and current federal laws make it illegal to advertise the sale of illegal drugs. Violations of those laws can be expensive. In 2011, Google agreed to pay a $500 million settlement to avoid federal prosecution for accepting illegal advertisements from Canadian online pharmacies. Due to these legal restrictions, online giants like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Twitter have internal policy strictly banning marijuana ads. Continue reading