What Cannabis Dispensaries & MSO's Need to Know About Cash Management

    Aug 17 2022

    Cannabis Chains and MSOs – A Cash Management System Designed For You 

     The Problem 

     Cannabis retail means one thing—operators have to manage far more cash than other retailers. That’s the reality for the foreseeable future. Large amounts of cash at the dispensary creates problems, and those problems are multiplied exponentially when we’re talking about cannabis dispensary chains or MSOs (“multi-state operators”) 

     The size and scale for Chains and MSOs creates problems that small cannabis businesses don’t really have: 

    •  Counting and recording the cash each day is time consuming, tedious, and error prone.  
    • Managers spend too much time managing the cash, which takes them away from the dispensary floor and dealing with staff. 
    • The only way to sort cash is manually. 
    • Filling ATMs is cumbersome—or a service has to be used, which is expensive and takes up a manager’s time. 
    • Skimming the tills takes too long and there’s no way to know how much was deposited in a safe at any given time, and who did it – withdrawals are even more clouded in mystery. 
    • Cash is dumped in a dumb safe—and there’s no reporting on what’s in there, and no security around who can open the safe. 
    • Cash is often transported to a central location for processing by head office. As Noted above when cash is processed at the dispensary, this is time consuming, expensive, and error-prone, and also very dangerous for whoever is transporting the cash. If an armored service is used, then there’s the added expense.  
    • No way to know how much cash is in each location or across all locations. 
    • Reconciling the POS takes far too long and sucks up head office resources. 

     A Cash Management System (“CMS”) solves these problems—but not just any CMS. If you’re a cannabis chain or MSO, you need a CMS designed specifically to solve these problems. 

     First off, though—what's a Cash Management System? 


    Cash Management Defined 

     A CMS refers to a mix of hardware, software, and ancillary services that allow a business to track, manage, and secure cash in the most efficient, safe, and cost-effective manner possible.  

     The hardware consists principally of smart safes (deposit-only) and recyclers (deposit and dispense). These machines allow for the super-fast deposit of cash into bank-quality safes, a counterfeit check, the automation of the counting and sorting of money, and an audit trail for every dollar earned or spent.  

     The software makes the hardware “smart”, connecting each location to head office, providing instant visibility into your cash position, surfacing data for optimized cash pickups, centralizing the management of passwords and access to cash, and the aggregating of information to facilitate POS reconciliation and the overall strategic management of your cash. It also enables provisional credit to support cash flow.   

     Service is the secret sauce – without it, the hardware doesn’t function. Other services include armored car cash pickups (also called cash-in-transit or CITs) and cleaning supplies/consumables.  

     Here’s a summary of the required CMS Components: 

    •  Hardware -- Diverse line of Smart Safes & Recyclers (coin and note). 
    •  Software  -- Cloud-based software links all locations to client head office. Robust reporting capabilities, with customizable dashboards. Enables provisional credit 
    •  Service -- Coast-to-coast service coverage. 
    •  Cash-In-Transit -- Network of armored cars to pick up, process the cash and deposit it at a bank or credit union. 
    •  Consumables --  Access the cash once it’s deposited in the hardware. 

    Cannabis Chains and MSOs Need a Specialized Solution 

     As noted above, not all CMS are created equal. A CMS may be perfectly acceptable for a single location, even one that does tremendous revenue. Like a POS, however, a CMS that works for one or two locations will be woefully inadequate when you begin adding locations, especially if they’re spread out across a state or among states. 

     If you’re a chain or an MSO, make sure your CMS includes the following: 

     Support from a national service organization that has technicians who can provide implementation and maintenance services wherever you have a dispensary. 

    •  Customizable service plans that meet your specific needs. 
    • A system that aggregates cash data from multiple retail locations. 
    • The ability to drill down to the machine level at one location in order to trouble shoot and reconcile with the POS quickly and easily. 
    • Manage the on-boarding and off-boarding of all employees and managers from head office, especially regarding passwords and permissions to deal with cash. 
    • Robust and flexible software that allows for the creation and enforcement of SOPs across your entire organization. 
    • Dashboards and reports that provide the information needed to make strategic and operational decisions. 
    • Storage options to facilitate efficient cash pickups. 
    • Software that enables provisional credit. 

    The ABCs of Getting Started 

     The cash management industry is an inch wide and a mile deep—a little bit of research is not enough. You need expertise to navigate the options and to make sure you choose the right set of CMS components for your organization. A company like CashTech Currency Products has that expertise, and most importantly, it operates a national service organization that can support any retail location in the United States. Your CMS will become ungainly and inefficient if you have to work with too many local players. A CMS is supposed to reduce the work, not add to your to-do list by forcing you to manage a disparate array of service providers.  

     This is a summary of the process you’ll want to follow to ensure your organization gets the perfect CMS—for now and for the future: 


    1. Determine how you want your organization to manage its cash – figure out the ideal process. 
    2. Weigh the various hardware options in context of this ideal process, and then factor in budget.  
    3.  Decide on the level of service (CashTech can provide service in as low as 4 hours). 
    4.  Create a roll-out project plan. This becomes increasingly critical the higher the number of locations. 
    5. Install the hardware at each location and train the managers and staff. 

     And then enjoy the remarkable benefits of a customized CMS that will drive efficiencies, lower costs, and make working at the dispensary more enjoyable and safer. 

     CashTech Currency Products is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and has been in the cash management business for over 40 years, with a client base that includes banks and financial institutions, credit unions, cash processing centers, cash-in- transit service providers, casinos, retailers, and cannabis dispensaries and growers. CashTech is one of the largest independent service organizations in North America. 

    Andrea Lombardi

    Andrea Lombardi

    Andrea joined the CashTech team upon its inception in 2003. Learning the business from the ground up, she now utilizes her expertise in account management, planning, and negotiation while managing the daily operations of CashTech’s sales, marketing, and logistics departments. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario. She enjoys travelling and has a passion for personal fitness, including obtaining her kettlebell certification. Andrea lives in Toronto with her husband and two young sons.

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