5 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Cannabis Retail Business

Even if you’re a regular cannabis consumer, the cannabis retail industry requires special skill sets beyond just knowing your indicas from your sativas.

Opening up a dispensary? Be sure to avoid these five mistakes so you don’t run your cannabusiness into the ground.

1. Not learning more

BLAZE cannabis POS and Spence

Arguably one of the biggest missteps for new dispensary owners is assuming they know it all. You may have a solid knowledge basis already, but you’re going to take what’s likely been a hobby and turn it into a full-scale enterprise. That requires business acumen, legal wisdom, and operational genius.

Or maybe you’re entering the industry from the other side: you’re a great businessperson, but cannabis as a whole is brand new to you.

Especially in your early days as a cannabis retailer, make a point of identifying your knowledge gaps. Then, do everything you can to fill them in. Interested in learning more? Read our article on how to run a cannabis dispensary.

2. Choosing the wrong cannabis retail team

Similarly, you need to be selective about who you hire and who you partner with. You wouldn’t open a pediatric practice and ask your plumber friend to help with check-ups, would you? That same line of thinking applies to your dispensary.

You’re going to need an accountant, a lawyer, suppliers–and that’s on top of the staff who help run your physical location. Do your due diligence, and find professionals with direct experience with cannabis as a business and who have a track record of operating with integrity.

3. Not setting yourself apart

The cannabis boom is a double-edged sword–a joint lit from both ends, if you will. With rising acceptance comes increasing competition. Gone are the days when there were only one or two dispensaries per state. Up-and-coming dispensaries have to make branding and marketing a top priority if they want to succeed.

Do your business a favor, and find something that makes your dispensary stand out among the rest. First, think about what kind of customers you want to attract. Now, build your brand around what’s going to bring them to you.

4. Not investing in operational infrastructure

Budtender showing customer cannabis using BLAZE cannabis POS

Dispensaries are retail businesses (almost) like any other. You’ll have to manage staff, inventory, and sales. Map those systems out early on, and have processes and software in place to streamline your operations.

Your best bet is to partner with suppliers and software vendors with proven industry experience. For example, if you use BLAZE for your POS, you won’t have to worry about manual inventory management, sending order updates, or keeping customer records HIPAA compliant.

5. Ignoring compliance altogether

Because of the long-standing stigma against cannabis products, the cannabis industry is heavily regulated. Not only will you need to adhere to federal requirements, you’ll also have state and local laws to follow.

To make matters more complicated, these regulations change all the time. If you don’t stay up to date on what’s happening in the cannabis world, you risk losing your dispensary. That’s a costly mistake to fix, if you can bounce back from it at all.


When you decide to open a dispensary, you take on a great deal of responsibility. Your dispensary’s success depends on your knowledge base, strategic partnerships, and operational investments. Locking in BLAZE as your POS is a good first step. Then, focus your efforts on networking and marketing to ensure a smooth foundation to your budding business. With social equity, a rising cannabis market, and a bright future ahead, avoiding these five mistakes will ensure that your cannabis business has the potential to be around for the long-run.

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