Top 3 Takeaways from Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference
Cannabis is entering its “McDonald’s era”
We heard multiple executives speak about the challenges of providing brand and product consistency when operating in a multi-state environment. Large MSOs hope to provide a McDonalds-style experience where customers receive a consistent product and can rely on each dispensary to provide the same high quality experience. But the reality is that concentration, volume, and looping laws vary so wildly by state that it is near impossible to create a product suite or customer journey that meets the requirements in every jurisdiction.
This certainly echoes the experience of our customers as they manage ID scanning and PII laws across various states. States such as Illinois require pull PII flush, while others such as Michigan allow for data and PII storage. Operating in both states requires an ID scanning system that can accommodate both scenarios, with different settings profiles managed at the administrative level.
High staff turnover is hurting process maturation
Many industry veterans felt certain that the cannabis industry would be a passion project for cultivators and budtenders and the industry would not struggle with the high turnover familiar to other segments of the retail industry. However, as the market matures, cannabis businesses are seeing similar turnover rates to the national average, with an average team member tenure of less than 1 year.
The high turnover means a revolving door of training that burdens retail and operations managers. Systems need to be made extremely easy to use to speed up budtender onboarding. With budtenders and security managers often serving as first and second line of defense for age verification, training on how to visually catch a fake ID, is of utmost importance. But age verification software and ID scanners can help provide a strong, and even superior filter to protect against fake and false ID usage.
New York is ready to become the next big market, or is it?
Everyone is waiting on recreational legalization in the Big Apple. However, license rollout has been troubled, with only eight adult-use dispensaries open as of April1. Year-over-year tax revenue is down, and the New York State Cannabis Fund has been totally depleted after starting at a balance of $5.2M.
The question is whether the woes of New York will lead to a slower adoption of adult use in states without recreational programs of their own, or whether it will serve as a cautionary tale for rollouts so slow they harm momentum for business owners.
A murky compliance landscape in New York state has also left many dispensary businesses and cannatech companies with a lack of confidence in their ability to operate in the state long term.
Lastly, New York State’s liberal approach to decriminalization is leaving the state with few levers to pull when it comes to helping the legal market effectively scale.
We enjoyed our time in Miami speaking with executives and investors in the cannabis space. It feels great to be a part of such a rapidly growing industry.