June 27, 2022

Preparing for medical cannabis sales in South Dakota

June 27, 2022

Cannabis legalization is back on the ballot in South Dakota this November.

While voters in the state already approved legalization during the 2020 election, the reform was struck down by the state Supreme Court following a challenge supported by the governor’s office. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) needed 16,961 valid submissions to place their initiative before voters—now, the secretary of state’s office has confirmed that more than enough valid petitions were received and that the proposal will appear on the November ballot as Initiated Measure 27.

To teach prospective dispensary owners what it takes to succeed in the cannabis industry, we teamed up with the folks at the Cannabis Industry Association of South Dakota (CIASD) for a co-hosted webinar discussing:

  • Seed-to-sale tracking in METRC
  • 3 must-haves for running a successful cannabis dispensary: the right staff, the right tech, and the right inventory
  • The Dutchie platform—our tech stack and capabilities

Missed the webinar? Catch the on-demand recording here (pw: SDwebinar2022). Or, continue reading below to see what you missed!

First thing’s first: what is METRC?

When a state approves recreational cannabis, regulators will follow suit and introduce a seed-to-sale tracking system. Seed-to-sale tracking (also called track-and-trace) refers to the process of following a cannabis plant from germination, to harvest, to the final product sold to a customer. This means growers and retailers assume full responsibility for charting a plant’s entire lifecycle, from the moment it’s planted until the final product is packaged and sold.

As a dispensary owner, tracking and managing your inventory is the most important piece of the compliance puzzle—but the process is a lot more complicated than meets the eye! After all, a cannabis plant is not sold on its own; a single plant is often broken up and used in separate products, and different plants can be combined to produce edibles. Complexities aside, seed-to-sale tracking means you’re obligated to report exactly how much of each plant you’ve bought and sold.

Once you’re approved for a recreational license, you’ll be given traceability credentials to purchase the tags you’ll need to track each regulated product.

Most states manage compliance regulations through government-contracted software systems, such as METRC. METRC is unique in the sense that it only offers government-facing tracking programs, as opposed to solutions for retailers. METRC is used in Alaska, California, Colorado, DC, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachesetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and West Virginia.

Did you know? Dutchie is a top-level integrator with METRC. Our in-house legal team regularly checks in with them to stay on top of regulations changes in each of these states.

Checklist for running a successful cannabis dispensary in South Dakota

If you’re among the first to open a cannabis dispensary in South Dakota, you’ll be swimming in uncharted waters. Fight misinformation about cannabis consumption and open minds to the good it can do. The most successful dispensaries are experts at community and relationship-building, as well as branding. They support local artists in their store; they sponsor festivals and events; they partake in educational initiatives and offer support to their community.

Here are 3 must-haves for a successful cannabis operation in South Dakota:

1. An educated team of budtenders

Budtender education is vital to cannabis as a movement. Unfortunately, lots of negative connotations and stereotypes regarding cannabis (and those who consume it) continue to persist. To combat this, educate your budtenders on the importance of accurately speaking to the science behind cannabis. You’ll want your customers to see your budtenders as a trusted resource—and while a lot of cannabis consumption varies by body chemistry, a true cannabis enthusiast will be able to successfully guide a customer in their product selection.

Resources for budtender education can include books (made available to employees during downtime at the store or for “rent” to read at home), scientific research, brochures and pamphlets (directly from the brands you sell), industry newsletters, and even online courses. Utilize all the resources available to you to keep your budtenders passionate and informed about what they’re selling.

2. A well-stocked inventory

An inventory stocked with tried-and-true favorites will support customer retention and increase revenue.

Once you’re up and running, one way to get a pulse on consumption trends is to research the products that have been consistently popular over the past year. This is where historical data comes into play. Dutchie customers can leverage their Dutchie Analytics to uncover what’s selling and what isn’t—they also highlight peak sales times, so dispensary owners know when to expect (and prepare for) increased foot traffic.

Still, keep in mind that inventory is a balancing act—you’ll also want to make sure you’re up-to-speed on what’s trending. Take edibles, for example. The edibles craze is in full-swing, having become extremely popular with new consumers. Cannabis-infused beverages are also gaining traction, likely due to their overall subtlety and perception as being “socially adaptable”. Infused liquid products, like tinctures, are also tempting because they kick in much faster. The speed of absorption is appealing to consumers because they don’t have to wait for their bodies to metabolize the THC.

Researching these trends, along with relying on your store’s historical data, will ensure you have an appealing selection of products for customers to choose from. 

3. Technology that adheres to state compliance regulations

A huge part of owning a cannabis business is implementing the right technology. Inventory management in particular is a mission-critical feature that you should look for when evaluating a cannabis point of sale. Your POS should sync seamlessly with the state traceability system (METRC) and offer additional auditing tools. 

Cannabis dispensaries must reconcile their on-hand inventory within their POS, which must also be reconciled with traceability. Auditors will focus solely on information reported into the state traceability system, so having a trusted POS that helps you maintain this balance—and flags traceability errors—is critical to proper inventory management.

Wrapping up

If you’re interested in opening a dispensary in South Dakota and would like to learn more about Dutchie, contact Erica Loftin (erica.loftin@dutchie.com) today for a custom demo. We have an implementation timeline of approx. 30-45 days. 

Missed the webinar? Watch the on-demand recording here! (PW: SDwebinar2022)

About Dutchie

Ross and Zach Lipson founded Dutchie in 2017 as an ecommerce company catering specifically to cannabis dispensaries. Today, our unified tech stack—consisting of Ecommerce, POS, and Payments solutions—serves over 6,000 dispensaries across the US and Canada. 

About the author
The Dutchie Squad