Why Handheld POS Systems Are the Future of Payment Processing in Cannabis

Picking the right point of sale (POS) system is an important retail decision. This is because it handles all your dispensary payments and client data. From storing crucial transaction details to ringing up client orders, the POS software will impact your retail at all levels. 

We have never been more mobile than before, courtesy of technological advancements. And the rapid changes in technology are also sweeping the cannabis industry, with the introduction of handheld POS systems. The handheld POS system is like a countertop POS but in the palm of your hands. It promises to revolutionize cannabis payment processing, and it's everything you want it to be. 

Read on for more insight on this novel technology and its limitless possibilities. But first, let's look at why you need a quality marijuana dispensary POS system.

The Right Dispensary POS System 

The market is flooded with a wide variety of POS systems. This allows you to choose a quality option that suits all your dispensary needs. Here are a few reasons why your cannabis dispensary needs the right POS system:

  • How fast your POS system processes orders has a direct impact on the overall customer experience. Customers don't want to wait in long lines. You want a system that processes their orders in the shortest time possible.
  • In the event of a customer data breach because of a poor-quality POS system, the affected customers may file lawsuits against you. 
  • The right dispensary POS system enables your employees to work efficiently. Without an efficient process, your budtenders are more likely to look for greener pastures elsewhere.
  • Failure to store transaction details will see you fall short of compliance regulations. 
  • A low-quality POS system may not be able to make comprehensive financial reports for your cannabis dispensary. This is a critical feature, especially when filing tax documentation with Uncle Sam.

What Is a Handheld POS?

This is a portable point-of-sale system. It's installed on a mobile device like a smartphone, Android tablet, or iPad.

A handheld POS comes with the features of a countertop POS but works as a mobile cash register and terminal for cannabis payment processing. It is right in the thick of customer experience. Therefore, the POS provides a seamless transition between customers, products, and the dispensary itself. 

Employees using handheld point of sale devices can check out customers anywhere in the store. They can also access inventory data from wherever within the dispensary. 

Let's look at the promises that mobile POS systems offer to cannabis payment processing.

Employee Efficiency

A handheld POS system entirely does away with paper in the inventory count process. It uses a barcode scanner for fast and accurate accounts and updates your inventory management system as well. As a result, your employees are not tied to the cash register. Instead, they now have the time to provide a customized in-store shopping experience, much to customers' delight. Below are some of the ways a handheld POS system promote employee efficiency:

Fast Learning

The retail sector has always grappled with the issue of employee turnover. The budding marijuana industry is no exception. With the high turnover of budtenders and staff members, employers spend considerable time and resources training new personnel. But the mobile weed-specific POS system has come to their rescue. This device has an intuitive design. Thus, new employees can get up to speed with the business's operations in the shortest time possible.

Product Information on the Fingertips

Remember, customers often enjoy and expect bespoke service. A mobile cannabis POS system avails product information to your budtenders on the fly. For instance, they don't have to recall what a particular customer often purchases. Or which strains of cannabis are best for which conditions. All this information is directly accessible on the mobile POS.

Personalized Guidance

Your budtenders can access information about different strains and prices. They can also determine availability, ailments treated, and other crucial information within seconds. 

Hence, they can quickly and confidently answer customer queries on the dispensary floor, all through a few simple taps and swipes on their handheld devices. 

Maximize Sales

Your budtenders can also access customer and sales data. The handheld device tracks customers' purchasing histories and product choices. These include preferred strain types, regularity, and the number of purchases. With this information, your budtenders can offer customers important cross-sell and up-sell recommendations. This will, in turn, maximize sales. 

Protect Customer Data

As part of compliance, cannabis dispensaries are expected to scan the drivers' licenses of customers. This ensures they only serve customers above the required age limit. And given that marijuana dispensaries operate in a somewhat gray legal area, dispensary owners must protect customer data.

Conventional POS systems face the increased threat of unauthorized access to electronic payments. Often, unscrupulous individuals attempt to steal credit card information, making it unsafe to use. The good news with mobile POS software is that it does not store either credit or debit card details. Plus, it encrypts all the transactions. These security measures considerably reduce the possibility of a data breach happening. 

To illustrate the importance of customer data security, consider a scenario where a POS product serving a chain of dispensaries experiences a security breach lasting a week. Weed dispensaries cannot perform any transactions during the service outage, generate daily sales reports, or even access basic customer information. In the end, all sales are lost, leaving owners with a compliance bottleneck to deal with. Plus, they will upset their customer base. 


Arguably, compliance is the most stressful administrative hurdle cannabis dispensaries have to deal with. Failure to follow the set regulations may lead to fines and penalties. Even worse, revocation of your dispensary license. For this reason, you have to take this hurdle seriously. 

Yes, compliance regulations vary from one state to another. However, a well-designed handheld POS system affords the dispensary owners the chance to effortlessly stay on the right side of the law at every phase of the process. Thus, providing total flexibility.

Here are the three ways a mobile POS helps you stay compliant:

Advanced Reporting

Reporting is a crucial regulation for cannabis businesses. For instance, dispensary owners in Colorado are expected to provide 100% accurate daily reports on what they've sold. This is down to the last coin and volume of a flower. Ideally, the state seeks to track every marijuana sale backward through the production chain to the actual growers.

There are several common reporting mistakes in dispensary operations. For example, the product volumes recorded during weighing may be different from those entered into the system. 

Others include cash handling errors plus weed products drawn from the wrong shelf. While these blunders would be undamaging in other retail industries, they can have your cannabis dispensary license revoked.

A handheld POS system provides you with an assortment of tools to fulfill the exact reporting requirement. It features an advanced reporting functionality that allows you to quickly and effortlessly create all the reports. In effect, you get to stay in total compliance with the marijuana reporting regulations. Plus, it eliminates human error from the reporting process, saving you time and effort in reconciliation.

Sales Regulations

Regulations on product limits present challenges for a variety of POS solutions. Assume a state has a marijuana sales limit of one ounce per customer per day. Now picture a scenario where your dispensary is full and busy, with all your budtenders working under extreme pressure. A customer picks the following products from the shelf: 10 edible marijuana cookies, two large weed-infused drinks, and a cannabis topical cream. 

Your budtender needs to compute the THC content of the different edibles and weigh against the amount of flower. Ultimately, they must determine whether the sale is in line with the sales guidelines set by your state. As you can see, the potential for making a mistake is high.

The pocket POS performs these calculations instantly. It assures both the budtender and customer that each sale is above-board. Any non-compliant order can be adapted to ensure compliance with state regulations. 

Product Label

Dispensary owners also grapple with the burden of labeling requirements. Think beyond the basic weight and strain details. Several states stipulate labels to reveal laboratory tests conducted on weed products and the testing dates. Also, the product potency information should be present. 

Of course, you can try to work out your own modified solution to this hurdle. However, using a pocket POS helps automate the process. Plus, it eliminates human error, again proving to be time-saving and cost-effective. The POS software is also subject to constant system updates, allowing you to stay updated on the ever-changing regulations.

Faster Checkout Process

Long checkout lines are a constant menace to both customers and dispensary owners. In fact, it is one of the main reasons customers at physical dispensaries ditch their purchases. Long checkout lines can quickly congest a dispensary store during peak selling hours. 

A majority of customers don't like waiting in a checkout line. When a customer abandons their purchase, the dispensary owner loses. Mobile POS seeks to eliminate point-of-purchase congestion. Yes, no more time-consuming queues. 

Long lines and an impatient customer base can exert too much pressure on your staff. With handheld POS devices, budtenders and staff members can complete transactions anywhere inside the marijuana dispensary. Plus, a faster checkout process eliminates possible barriers and friction in making sales. Consequently, your staff will have more time and energy to engage with customers.

Less Expensive Hardware

For smaller dispensaries, the idea of installing the traditional POS system may seem overwhelming. This is because of the significant initial and continuous outlay. Traditional point-of-sale systems typically have a hefty upfront cost. Plus, a monthly fee for software updates. 

The major attraction to using a pocket POS lies with its cost-effectiveness. Rather than spending a sizable amount on a fixed, electronic register, mobile POS spreads the payment into monthly payment plans. Thus, for a little initial outlay, dispensary owners can leverage customer data from almost anywhere. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection.

Inventory Management

Just like any retail business, cannabis dispensaries face challenges with inventory management. Keeping an accurate track of cannabis products that are constantly scrutinized by the state is stressful. This is especially true in the backdrop of cannabis regulations requiring accurate reporting down to the last gram. 

Here's how a handheld POS system can optimize the inventory management process:


Cannabis-specific pocket POS systems can automate the inventory management process for you. The system scans all weed products that arrive at your dispensary and combines them with the reporting functionality. This creates a paper trail of what has been delivered and in what volume. You can then package the products depending on how you run your cannabis dispensary. 

The mobile POS system can also track every sale within your dispensary. Ultimately, you may scan your leftover stock, compare it with sakes, and instantly print the reports that comply with state guidelines.

Better Cash Flow

With constant visibility into your stock, you're less likely to run out of your customers' favorite strains. Judging from the sales trend data, you can accurately determine the various volumes, strains, and weights you need to stock to make more revenues. This translates to improved cash flow and less money tied to dead stock. 

Space Saving

If you have restricted dispensary space, a handheld POS will suit you best. This is because it eliminates the need for large hardware and POS terminals. Because a conventional POS system occupies a large space, shifting to a pocket POS will enhance your dispensary operations. You can better use your dispensary space by stocking up more weed merchandise.

The Bottom Line

Mobile technology in cannabis dispensaries is a game-changer. Through the handheld POS system, dispensary owners can deliver a personalized shopping experience that fosters brand loyalty. 

Pocket POS allows your staff members to get away from the stationary cash register. They serve as personal assistants to the customers in their shopping journey. And by quickly pulling up the customer sales history and product choice, they can offer customized recommendations. Ultimately, handheld POS systems are the future of dispensary payments