For customers all over the US getting marijuana products has become easier, and that means they shouldn’t have to deal with shady merchants when there are legal options. To make sure that your business is recognized as a legal cannabis business, there are processes you need to go through before getting verified online.
We’ve listed most of what’s involved in those processes below and where to check to see if your business has been verified.
Register at the right department
When you’re planning how to start a cannabis business, the first thing you should do is find out where you must register for a license or permit. Finding out where you must register before doing business is not just important for getting verified but for keeping you out of jail or away from paying hefty fines.
Depending on where you live, starting a cannabis business that’ll be recognized online will require you to register at a Medical Marijuana Department or Program. However, this option applies largely to states that are new at regulating cannabis use. States that are pioneers at making these regulations like California have very robust and generalized departments like the Bureau of Cannabis Control.
In some states, there may not be a specially formed department that deals with registering marijuana businesses like Maine and Hawaii. If you plan to operate in these states, you’ll have to go to the Department of Health. Trying to operate in these states may not be a quick process, though, as each has only approved eight dispensary licenses currently.
Oregon, which allows both recreational and medical use of marijuana, will need you to apply at the Health Department for a medical marijuana license. For the recreational marijuana license, you need to go to the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. These examples show how different licensing institutions may be from state to state, so it’s important to get in touch with the local authorities or check your neighborhood’s website.
There are over ten types of licenses available nationwide, and you need to decide on which one you will use when drafting your cannabis business plan. This will prepare you for verification quicker as you’ll save time by applying for the right license on your first try instead of waiting for feedback from the authorities.
If you’re a small-scale grower, you might consider getting Type 1 licenses. What you need to know about these is plain Type 1 licenses are for outdoor cultivation. Type 1A licenses are for indoor cultivation, and Type 1B licenses are for mixed-light growers. All Type 1 licenses are for businesses with under 5,000 square feet of total growing space and 50 mature plants for noncontiguous outdoor plantations.
For people who are interested in opening medical marijuana dispensaries, Type 10 licenses are what they must apply for. Type 10 licenses apply to businesses that are just interested in selling medical cannabis devices only and not the marijuana or its products. For businesses with fewer than three licensed dispensaries, a Type 10A license will apply to allow deliveries.
Companies that plan to work on a distributor business model need to get a Type 11 license to be the middleman between dispensaries and manufacturers. However, Type 11 licensees will also need a Type 12 license for each location where products are stored for distribution purposes.
Verify customers who buy
To get recognized as a trusted cannabis business online, you will need to meet regulations regarding adult use by verifying customer identities correctly. This can be done by training dispensary employees to differentiate between real IDs and fake IDs. Many businesses use digital scanners to verify IDs against official records.
However, with the move to online shopping, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, dispensaries needed to adapt, too, and this presented a set of challenges in identity verification. That’s because dispensaries can’t just meet the bare minimums of collecting name and credit card info like fast-food outlets. Dispensaries also needed extra info like a social security number or driver’s license, but this measure alone can’t guarantee accurate identification.
Just entering information on online dispensary shops opens a gap for shady or underage people to pretend to be someone else and undermine that security measure. That is why many businesses have opted for Know-Your-Customer (KYC) alternatives that require someone to record a video or take a picture that’ll get submitted identifying documents.
While KYC measures improve safety tremendously, the Biometric features on blockchain verification solutions that include voice and facial recognition make these the most accurate option. Blockchain verification can usually cost more and require more input from the customer, so you need to decide on a safe and friendly solution for all stakeholders.
The first place anyone thinks of when they want their business verified is getting them listed on large directories like Weedmaps and Leafly. That’s because many online customers can be found on those sites. For online verification, the only thing that can make you stand out as a legal cannabis business owner is getting listed on licensing authority websites. Large directories are mostly great for marketing purposes and not as authority figures that can be trusted to verify the legality of all listings on their sites.
As we’ve seen above, getting your cannabis business, especially your smell proof bags, registered at the correct authorities is the most important step of getting your operation recognized online. Just paying for a listing on a popular directory doesn’t mean your business is verified online, which can lead to serious legal and financial ramifications.
Following set protocols or laws stipulated on your license in addition to state and local regulations is also a surefire way to remain a verified cannabis business online.