In the United States, marijuana remains federally illegal. The DEA classifies it as a Schedule 1 substance, along with LSD, heroin, and other highly illicit drugs. And this makes cash management for dispensaries incredibly challenging.

With the federal government still treating marijuana as an illegal substance, any money earned through the cultivation or sale of marijuana cannot be stored in national banks. Banks do not want to risk their FDIC status. That leaves most cannabis retailers in a tricky spot when it comes to cash management.

So unlike other businesses, dispensaries and cannabis retailers have to find more secure methods of managing their cash.

Risk of Cash Management for Dispensaries

It can be very risky for marijuana businesses to handle their cash without access to payment processing and banks.

Companies must pay taxes on the money they make, which is required on either a monthly or quarterly basis depending on the state in question. So imagine the trouble a cannabis operator faces when their cash business is due to pay taxes. 

Some businesses have the means to hire an armored vehicle to transport large sums of money (such as their taxes) to a secure site, but many do not. This leaves many dispensary owners to move boxes or bags full of cash in their own cars, making them targets and putting their safety and the safety of others at risk. 

There is also a high risk of internal theft and accounting errors in businesses that run on cash. Ultimately, until we can enact a legislative solution to ensure the safety and security of cash management for cannabis retailers, companies are their own to find ways to mitigate loss. 

Here we’ve broken down 4 tips for cash management to help you keep your money and your business safe. 

Tip #1 – Create a Loss Prevent Strategy for Your Internal Team

Avoiding loss starts from inside your business. While there are always external threats to your cannabis company, internal theft can be the most insidious threat. We know you want to see the best in all of your employees; you’re a team, after all. But large sums of cash just sitting around can tempt even the most loyal employees. 

The first thing you need to do is to create a culture that’s based on compliance. Make compliance the number one priority for you and your team. And make sure every new hire is onboarded with this priority in mind. 

You should also limit your employee permissions. Access tiers are a central tenet of security, so keep that in mind when setting up your employee permissions. Not everyone needs access to everything. And there are POS systems designed specifically for the cannabis industry that can track real-time inventory management and give you control over everything that happens. 

Another critical benefit of a high-end POS system is that it’ll track your employee activity. This will allow you to easily see every action taken by every employee and audit any errors or discrepancies. 

Tip #2 – Beef Up Your Store’s Physical Security Measures

Physical security is essential to safe cash management in any business, but especially in a dispensary. Taking extra precautions and investing in the best security measure available will go a long way in keeping you, your employees, and your customers safe, as well as preventing loss. 

Don’t skimp on security – hire a professional security guard who can spot signs of suspicious activity and help you keep things under control in your store. 

You should also have security cameras in every room of your store. And while this is typically a requirement for state compliance, you don’t want to just get the bare minimum, cheapest option. Invest in the best surveillance system available.

Tip #3 – Implement Safe Storage Policies

It’s impossible to avoid having cash on-site, even temporarily. So you need to take precautions to keep it safe while it’s at the store. 

For starters, keep on-site cash storage to the bare minimum and move it to a secure location as soon as you’re able to. While it’s on-site it needs to be kept in a secure safe. 

You should also look into local cannabis-friendly banks and credit unions where you can safely store your cash. There are hundreds of financial institutions in the United States that are willing to work with you.

However, if there aren’t any cannabis-friendly banks in your area, you’ll want to find an alternative secure spot to store your cash for longer periods of time. 

Tip #4 – Invest in Options for Safe Transport

Safe storage is critical, but it’s irrelevant if you can’t securely transport your cash from the store. 

If at all possible, invest in an armored car service that can keep your cash safe in transport. It’s the most expensive option, but it’s also the safest. 

But if you or someone on your team is transporting the cash, take a few precautions to make sure you don’t become a target. For starters, changing your transport routines is critical. You don’t want anyone casing your business to get an idea of your cash transport schedule. 

And you might want to bring the security guard with you, if possible. 

Invest in Safe Cash Management Systems

Now you have some key tips for cash management to help keep your cannabis business protected against internal and external threats. And for a robust, secure, and compliant POS system that can help you implement many of these loss prevention strategies, Retail Control Systems is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a demo of Anthea, our top-of-the-line cannabis POS system, today!

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