Dispensary  & Cannabis

Industry Terminology

If you're new to the cannabis industry, you may be overwhelmed by all the terms, acronyms, and slang. We've done our best to put together the most commonly used cannabis terms in one place for dispensary employees, managers, and owners.

280E Tax

  • Internal Revenue Code Section 280E forbids businesses selling controlled substances (cannabis) cannot deduct any expenses incurred while producing, distributing, and selling those substances. Meaning cannabis companies are not able to deduct many of the same costs that federally legal businesses can. An exception to this rule is the ability to deduct Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Business expenses that cannot be deducted include rent, shipping, employee costs, overhead, etc. Because of 280E, it’s more expensive to run a cannabis business.


  • The origins of 420 are said to be tracked to a secret code used by friends at San Rafael High School in the early 1970s. They would often meet at 4:20 p.m. to consume cannabis. Since then, it’s become a widely used phrase. 420 refers both to that time of day and April 20th. Dispensaries usually reach peak sales on and around the 4/20 holiday when consumers across the country gather to celebrate cannabis.


  • Like 420, 710 references July 10th, a day to celebrate dabbing cannabis concentrates and extracts. When flipped upside down and backward, the number “710” spells “oil,” a word used to describe concentrates such as hash oil, wax, shatter, etc. Like 4/20, dispensaries often see a spike in concentrate and extract sales on 710, and many offer discounts or special events to celebrate.


  • Adult-use describes the recreational use of cannabis. Meaning consumers over a certain age can legally use cannabis. Each legal market has unique rules around adult use, including the legal age, purchase limits, and dispensary requirements. Still, all adult-use markets allow the sale of marijuana with a valid ID. The opposite of adult use is medical, where consumers must have a medical card to acquire cannabis products.

Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board (AMCO)

  • The Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board is a department within the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. AMCO was established as a regulatory and quasi-judicial agency to oversee cannabis cultivation, cannabis manufacturing, and sale of marijuana in the state. For more information, visit the AMCO website.


  • API stands for application programming interface, which allows technology products and services to communicate through the internet. Simply put, API is the code or back-end commands that let two (or more) programs “talk” to each other. As a result, APIs allow developers to enhance functionality and speed up development. In cannabis, APIs are often found in the technology stack. For example, Brytemap has a robust API network that allows you to integrate other business tools. Our Metrc API allows for seamless reporting and compliance. Metrc speaks to Brytemap, and Brytemap speaks to Metrc, allowing a two-way share of information. Another example is integrating a loyalty platform, integrating order-ahead, or integrating your debit card scanner with your cannabis POS to reduce human error.

Arm’s Length

  • For retail licenses who buy products from a licensed third-party and separate business entity, the cannabis excise tax is paid on what is defined as an “arm’s length transaction”. Retailers pay the excise tax when purchasing products from a supplier or wholesaler. The amount of that tax is included in the sales price for the customer, which has the markup percentage from the wholesale cost and does not need to be calculated again during the retail sale.

Back of House (BOH)

  • Back of house (BOH) refers to the area in dispensaries that customers do not see. It is where inventory is stored, audited, and transferred, primarily where inventory managers operate. Most markets require a secure room for auditing inventory. BOH often includes a restroom and break room for staff only, offices, secure cash storage, and storage for non-cannabis products.


  • Badder/batter and budder are terms that are used to describe the appearance of cannabis extracts. Batter or badder looks and feels like frosting and is usually a soft, golden color. Badder’s look resembles actual butter but has a much smoother texture.

Beehive Delivery

  • Beehive delivery is a bulk delivery option where a cannabis retailer follows a designated route to deliver pre-ordered cannabis products to one individual at a time.

Beginning Inventory

  • A dispensary’s beginning inventory is reported to their state track-and-trace system to account for all on-hand cannabis products. Inventory will need to be assigned proper naming rules, counted, and entered into either a CSV or directly into the tracking system. This process is meant to identify all of a dispensary’s inventory within their state’s required tracking system, such as Metrc.

Brand Standards

  • Brand standards are the rules and guidelines attributed to the look and feel of a cannabis business. They are more than just a logo, but every aspect of the company’s customer-facing communication, whether it’s social media, website, or in-store experience. Brand standards outline how (and where) your logo is used, your primary and extended color palette, company bio, in-store design expectations, and more.

Budtender/Sales Associate

  • A budtender is a person who sells cannabis products to customers/patients at a dispensary. Budtenders are often the employees who engage dispensary visitors, process transactions, and provide education to customers.

Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS)

  • BOPIS is a dispensary workflow that allows customers or patients to browse products online, create a cart and then pick them up at the physical store. BOPIS provides convenience for the shopper as they can pick and choose what they want to buy without walking around a dispensary.

California Bureau of Cannabis Control

  • The California Bureau of Cannabis Control is an agency of the state of California tasked with regulating the medical and adult use of cannabis. For more information, visit the BCC website.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound in the resinous flower of cannabis. It is one of the hundreds of phytocannabinoids found in the plant and has been found to have therapeutic properties. CBD does not have psychoactive effects like THC and is often used for relaxation, sleep aid, and pain relief.


  • A cannabinoid is a chemical compound found in cannabis (Phytocannabinoids) and produced within the human body (Endocannabinoids). Phytocannabinoids mimic the effects of endocannabinoids and are associated with the euphoric effects of THC in humans.

Cannabinol (CBN)

  • Cannabinol (CBN) is among the many minor cannabinoids produced in cannabis. CBN is a non-intoxicating compound that is created when THC ages and, therefore, is often found in high quantities in older cannabis. CBN is primarily used as a sleep aid but has also been found to have pain and inflammation-reducing qualities.


  • Cannabis is a plant in the Cannabaceae, or hemp family. Parts of the plant, including dried flowers and leaves, have been used for medicinal and recreational purposes throughout history. The cannabis plant can also be used to make hemp products.

Cannabis / Dispensary POS Software

  • POS software allows dispensaries to streamline workflows, automate, and safeguard the checkout process. Good dispensary point-of-sale systems manage your inventory and integrate with your state seed-to-sale tracking system (like Metrc). Have a loyalty program, run your debit card payment processing, and have eCommerce built on the same software platform. But should also offer the flexibility to use third-party integrators if you prefer. Flexibility allows you to create your own experience based on your needs. Your dispensary POS Software should also prohibit selling over the state’s purchase limit. POS software should be easy and intuitive to use and function as expected so budtenders can quickly and accurately sell to cannabis customers.

Cannabis Market

  • In the US, cannabis markets refer to the local or state areas that dispensaries operate in due to the varying laws and regulations imposed by those jurisdictions. This variation in rules means that each state (or market) has unique business models, consumer expectations, and ways of operating. In other industries, the market could be more granular, like by city, or larger, like by region.

Cannabis Taxes

  • Cannabis is taxed differently than other goods and services. Cannabis taxes and tax rates will vary by state (and sometimes by county and city).


  • A cannabis caregiver is a person who is registered with their state, qualified by all state standards, and has agreed to assist with a registered qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. In short, a caregiver is a person that can help a patient purchase and medicate with cannabis.

Cash Management

  • Because cannabis is still federally illegal, dispensaries do not have the same access to banking services such as checking accounts, loans, and credit card processing. This means that many legal dispensaries are forced to operate on a cash-only (or primarily cash) basis, presenting multiple problems for store owners. Cash management is often time-consuming and challenging, but until alternatives are offered, it’s one of the few options available.
  • A cashless ATM scans a customer’s debit card to pay for a transaction and charges the customer a fee as if they withdrew money from an ATM.

Certificate of Analysis

  • A Certificate of Analysis, or COA, is a document provided by a third party that analyzes the compounds found in cannabis. The COA outlines the strain’s cannabinoid and terpene profiles and tests for pesticide residue or heavy metals. Information is also included on the product’s manufacturer, testing method used, and batch data. Not all manufacturers are required to provide a COA.


  • A clone is a cannabis plant that is an exact genetic copy of its mother plant. It is a young female cannabis plant with stable genetics. Typically, growers elect to raise clones purchased from reputable breeders because they pose less risk of getting a plant with poor characteristics.

Closed-Loop Extraction

  • Closed-loop extraction begins when raw cannabis flower is sprayed with a pressurized solvent (usually butane or propane), separating the cannabinoid and resin-producing trichomes from the plant. Afterward, what’s left is a layer of sticky resin, which is then purged, dried, and processed into the desired form of concentrate, such as live resin, wax, or shatter.

Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED)

  • The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) is a Colorado regulatory agency that regulates Colorado cannabis companies explicitly. The MED ensures that dispensaries remain compliant with all Colorado cannabis laws through multiple avenues, including fines and license removal. For more information, go to the MED site.


  • Compliance refers to following rules or expectations. Within cannabis, regulatory agencies care about three main things — public safety, illicit markets, and tax revenue. The laws for each market and license type vary. For retailers, there are regulations around where dispensaries can be located, who can enter, how much cannabis they can purchase, and how their goods are packaged and labeled. There are also strict rules on inventory management. In Metrc states, every cannabis sale must be reported to Metrc, and every cannabis plant must be tracked from seed to sale, meaning the time it’s a seedling to the time it’s sold. Non-compliance could lead to loss of license and fines.

Compliance Manager

  • The compliance manager at a dispensary must monitor the changing state and local regulations, develop and maintain records, and create policies and procedures to keep staff accountable. They also perform regular audits of inventory and facility operations. The compliance manager must take immediate corrective action if any problems arise from the duties mentioned above.


  • A cannabis concentrate is a broad term to describe a product derived from a cannabis flower that is processed into a concentrated form. There are many forms of concentrates, such as tinctures, concentrates, vaporizer cartridges, hash, shatter, and wax.

Consumer Demographics

  • Consumer demographics are statistical data relating to customers’ unique, identifying characteristics. This includes age, location, gender, marital status, buyer type, and more. Understanding consumer demographics can help a cannabis business make informed decisions regarding marketing, communications, inventory, product selection, etc.


  • Cultivation is the process of growing cannabis plants. This can be done through either indoor or outdoor farming and requires in-depth knowledge of proper soil, growth temperatures, light, water, pest management, and more. See how Brytemap Scout was developed for cannabis cultivation Metrc compliance.

Cumulative Taxes

  • Cumulative taxes calculate each tax against the gross receipt plus applied taxes. In California, this is layered taxation that goes in the order of excise, sales, and local business taxes.

Curbside Pickup

  • Curbside pickup is a process where dispensaries offer an online menu for customers or patients to shop and place an order. They can then come to the store and pick up their products without entering the physical dispensary. Budtenders collect payment and deliver the products to the customer’s car. This process was popularized by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Customer Experience

  • The customer experience includes every aspect of customer interaction within a cannabis dispensary, brand, and products. This can be what a customer thinks of your website, the flow of your dispensary, or the quality of the cannabis. Improving customer experience is imperative for cultivating high revenue and attracting returning customers.

Customer Retention

  • Customer retention is the process by which customers return to your dispensary for future purchases. Attracting new customers is one tactic for store growth; retaining the customers you already brought in is another. You can easily maintain customers by providing quality products and fair prices and satisfying them in all parts of the customer experience. If they have a poor experience, they will take their business elsewhere.


  • Decriminalizing cannabis offenses typically means that there will be no arrest, jail time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption. Here is a list of states that have decriminalized cannabis.


  • Deli-style is a dispensary workflow that includes budtenders bringing cannabis flower to a customer or patient in a jar and weighing it out in front of them. They can usually look at and smell the product but are not allowed to touch it. There are pros and cons to deli-style selling. Customers love the transparency, but it is extra work for the staff. Other risks include slowing checkout, labeling containers in-store, accidental spillage, and overweighing.

Delivery Manifest

  • In states where cannabis delivery is legal, there are requirements for cannabis distributors or dispensaries to fill out a delivery manifest (shipping manifest). This must accurately reflect the transported inventory and cannot be altered or voided at any point during transport. It’s helpful to use cannabis delivery standard operating procedures to maintain accurate reporting.

Digital Payment

  • A Digital payment is the transfer of currency from one account to another using digital payment technologies, such as mobile wallets like BrytePay or mobile payment apps. Digital payments are growing in popularity at dispensaries because they are a compliant payment solution for retailers.


  • A discrepancy is an instance of difference or inconsistency. Discrepancies within cannabis businesses relate to inventory and can lead to issues in both reporting accuracy and compliance with the state.


  • A licensee owns a dispensary in a legal market and is a place where customers or patients can access legal cannabis safely. There are two types of dispensaries — medical and adult-use. Depending on state and local laws, a dispensary may operate in both.


  • A distributor supplies cannabis products to cannabis businesses and consumers. Distributors may also provide secure storage services for other cannabis businesses as it can be dangerous to store large quantities of products in areas without high security.

District of Columbia – Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration


  • Ecommerce is the process of conducting business online. Specific to cannabis businesses, eCommerce could include order ahead, online ordering, delivery, and curbside pickup. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, dispensaries had to shift operations to accommodate eCommerce, and many states updated regulations to allow for this type of business process. To learn more about eCommerce in your dispensary, read this post It’s 2022 … Do You Know Where Your Cannabis eCommerce Data Is?


  • An edible is a food product that contains cannabinoids, mainly CBD or THC. Edibles may include pastries, gummies, candies, brownies, beverages, and more. There are also varying levels of dosage in edibles.


  • An “eighth” of cannabis refers to 3.5 grams of flower. The reasoning is that eighths make up an ounce of marijuana.

Employee Permissions

  • Employee permissions are the access granted by dispensary managers or owners to their employees. This can involve access to inventory, cash drawers, reporting, or other aspects of the POS software. Setting appropriate permissions ensures employees cannot see information or make changes that don’t apply to them.

Entourage Effect

  • An entourage effect in cannabis refers to how certain compounds within a marijuana plant interact in the human body. An entourage effect occurs when multiple compounds within the cannabis plant interact in sync, often producing a more pleasant or potent impact than they would if a person only ingested one compound.

Excise Tax

  • An excise tax is a business tax — specifically for cannabis products — passed on to the customer. All legal recreational cannabis sales must include an excise tax collected quarterly by the state to be used for various initiatives such as mental health treatment, substance abuse programs, environmental efforts, and cannabis research. Excise tax rates vary by state.

Exit Package

  • An exit package is a sealed container provided by a dispensary at the point of sale where all sealed cannabis packages are placed. The package is required by state regulations and must be designed to keep the contents secure and child-resistant.


  • Expansion is the process of opening up a second, third, fourth, etc., physical dispensary. Expansion can also mean growing existing dispensary revenue by improving processes, updating technology, or eliminating waste.

Extended Plant Count (EPC)

  • In Colorado, an individual patient may have no more than six marijuana plants, three or fewer being mature. A patient may be prescribed more than this allotment by their physician. This is referred to as an “extended plant count.”


  • Cannabis extracts are specific concentrates that are produced with the use of a solvent. Typical solvents used for this include propane, butane, and ethanol. Types of cannabis extracts include crumble, wax, shatter, budder, live resin, etc.

File Naming Convention (FNC)

  • A File Naming Convention (FNC) is a standardized naming process. An FNC considers what a product is and how it relates to other products. Simply put, it’s the way a dispensary names and labels its products. Naming conventions are essential for cannabis businesses where inventory compliance is required.

First In First Out (FIFO)

  • First In First Out (FIFO) is an inventory management system used in many industries to ensure that products are sold before expiration. Check out this post by Northstar to learn more about FIFO.


  • Flower is the general term used to describe the consumable (smokable) part of a female cannabis plant. Most dispensaries sell several types or strains of flower, each with different flavor profiles, price points, and expected feelings or effects associated with them.


  • Franchising is a business model that allows franchisees access to a business’s ( the franchisor’s) proprietary knowledge, processes, and trademarks. The franchisee is allowed to sell a product or provide a service under the business’s name. Franchising is widespread in fast food, fitness, and other industries and is growing in popularity in cannabis. Several brands now offer franchise opportunities. The benefit of a franchise is quick time-to-market, fewer start-up decisions (like products, logo, and store layout), and advice from industry experts. The downside is decreased decision-making authority and flexibility within the business and paying fees to the franchisor.

Front of House (FOH)

  • In a cannabis dispensary, the Front of House (FOH) is the customer-facing part of the business. It often includes a receptionist/greeter who will check IDs and manage a queue. It’s also where customers/patients talk with budtenders to find the products they’re looking for and eventually check out and purchase products. Maintaining a friendly, informative, organized, and efficient environment in the front of the house is imperative for dispensary success.


  • Ganja is a slang term for marijuana. The word is associated with the West Indies but originated in India.


  • A Ganjier is a certified professional of cannabis. The Ganjier is equipped with the knowledge and ability to successfully assess cannabis quality, among other cannabis business expertise.

Guam – Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS)


  • A dispensary’s hardware will usually include computers or tablets to enter sales and run payments, mobile scanners to check IDs and audit inventory, receipt printers, label printers, and any other physical technology needed to run a cannabis business. It’s vital that your hardware is compatible with your software, modern and high-speed, and aligns with your store layout or flow.

Headless Ecommerce

  • Headless eCommerce is the separation of the front end and back end of an eCommerce application. This allows brands to embed technology from third parties while also building whatever they want on their end.


  • Hemp is derived from non-intoxicating cannabis Sativa L. Hemp is genetically distinct from marijuana and has a variety of uses, including fiber from the stems, protein from the seeds, and oils from the leaves and flowers. Hemp does not produce high levels of THC, but it can have high quantities of CBD. Hemp is regulated very differently from cannabis, as it’s legal to cultivate and sell under The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill).


  • Hybrid strains of cannabis are a mixture of Indica and Sativa strains. They allow the consumer or grower of the plant to take advantage of the best parts of each parent plant and create a hybrid option that fits their desired effect and flavor profile.

Ice-Cream Truck Delivery

  • The ice cream cannabis delivery model involves a driver carrying cannabis inventory in their vehicle and making multiple deliveries in one trip.
  • Like your neighborhood ice-cream truck, cannabis drivers can receive and process orders within the vehicle and oversee inventory management, driving, and selling. This process is called “dynamic delivery” or “warehouse on wheels.”

Illicit Market / Black Market

  • The illicit or “black” market for cannabis includes all sellers of marijuana products that are doing so illegally. This could be a store that is not properly licensed in a legal state or a dealer selling cannabis illegally to consumers in legal or not legal markets, avoiding regulations, taxes, and all other laws and regulations in place by the state. The term “black market” is not the preferred nomenclature nowadays because of its racist connotations.


  • Indica is a subspecies of the cannabis plant. Cannabis Indica strains generally have a short stem and broad leaves and are associated with a more physical high than Sativa strains, which are often considered more cerebral. However, this thinking is no longer scientifically accurate as it has been found that different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes are much more telling of the effects of the strain. Many dispensaries and cannabis industry professionals are moving away from the traditional Indica vs. Sativa terminology as it’s more beneficial for customers to purchase products based on feelings or moods.


  • Integration is the process of joining two technology solutions together through an API.

Inventory Audit

  • Auditing inventory is when a dispensary inventory manager or employee physically counts all merchandise in the store. Once inventory is counted, you’ll find and reconcile discrepancies between the physical and recorded counts in Metrc and your POS.

Inventory Intake

  • Inventory intake is what happens when new products are delivered to your dispensary. It’s the process of bringing inventory into the store, including comparing the manifest with what was ordered, counting to ensure all inventory was sent, labeling the packages, securing and storing the items, and adding the products to your POS and Metrc inventories.

Inventory Management

  • Inventory management tracks where cannabis inventory is, how much of it you have, when more products need to be reordered, and what products are close to expiration. What discrepancies exist between your physical inventory and your inventories in your POS and Metrc. To remain compliant with the state, managers must track products at an individual package level and audit inventory regularly.

Inventory Manager

  • The inventory manager at a dispensary will regularly perform inventory audits. They also keep track of inventory that needs to be ordered or will expire soon. They label all products, take note of ones nearing expiration, and move them to the correct shelves in the dispensary. The manager must keep the store’s inventory organized and track any discrepancies. Because of the intense regulations around cannabis businesses, the inventory manager role is crucial.

Inventory Shrinkage

  • Inventory shrinkage is defined as inventory and revenue loss due to internal and external theft, vendor fraud, damage to inventory, or human errors in the customer’s favor. To calculate your retail shrink rate, take the book value (the amount recorded previously) of the total inventory and subtract the physical inventory value (the actual amount).

Inventory Transfer

  • An inventory transfer is a documentation or request by a cannabis business to move its products from one licensed facility to another.


  • Kief, also known as pollen or dry sift, refers to the resin glands which contain the terpenes and cannabinoids from the marijuana plant. While flower without kief still includes those elements, kief alone will have much higher levels than the remainder of the plant.


  • Dispensary kiosks offer cannabis retailers a new way to support customers and connect them to products they’ll love. A cannabis kiosk allows customers to browse the product catalog, learn about those products, and purchase without interacting with a budtender.
  • The best cannabis kiosk technology providers combine cannabis education and product consultation with an intelligently designed shopping experience to leave customers more confident and loyal and stores more profitable.

Legal Markets


  • Cannabis legalization can be broken into two parts: medical and recreational. Medical legalization means that a cannabis patients can access medical marijuana if they receive the proper documentation from a doctor and follow the specified state protocols. Recreational legalization means anyone over a state-specified age can purchase cannabis from a licensed retailer with a valid ID.
  • Legalization means that a person cannot be arrested, ticketed, or convicted for cannabis consumption, purchase, or ownership if that person is following all necessary rules/laws.


  • Cannabis licenses vary by state in terms of difficulty to obtain, cost, competitiveness, and other factors, but all legal markets require dispensaries to be licensed.
  • Once an owner has a license, they can legally operate a cannabis dispensary in the state where the license is obtained. Any dispensaries or cannabis sellers without a license are considered part of the illicit market.


  • A licensee is a person who has obtained a license to grow, distribute, sell, deliver or test cannabis.

Limited Access Area

  • A limited access area is a building, room, or other contiguous areas upon the licensed premises where marijuana is grown, cultivated, stored, weighed, packaged, sold, or processed under the licensee’s control. This area is not accessible to customers/patients or any other non-employees.

Live Resin

  • Live resin is a cannabis concentrate created by flash freezing a marijuana plant immediately after harvesting and keeping it at freezing temperatures throughout the extraction process. Live resin is usually extracted using a solvent such as butane. This ensures that the concentrate will maintain its terpene profile and retain its original fragrance and flavor.

Living Soil

  • Living soil is a planting material used for cannabis that has active microbiology and biodiversity. This may include worms, bacteria, protozoa, amoebas, and kelp extracts. This cultivation technique is considered healthier and safer than standard soil use because it helps eliminate the need for fertilizers and bottled nutrients.


  • Looping is the illegal practice of customers purchasing their daily limit of cannabis and then “looping” around the block to buy more cannabis at either another dispensary or the same store. This is done to get around the cannabis purchase limits required in many states. To keep customers from purchasing more than they are alloted.

Loyalty Program

  • A cannabis loyalty program rewards repeat customers by offering special discounts, deals, and incentives when they frequent a dispensary. Loyalty programs help improve customer retention and help to differentiate from competitors.

Maine Office of Marijuana Policy

  • The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy is the regulatory body of Maine’s medical and adult-use cannabis businesses and policies. For more information, visit their website.

Marijuana / Marihuana

  • Marijuana is a term referring to cannabis, specifically when it is smoked.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC)

  • The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) develops policies, procedures, and regulations to implement programs that ensure medical cannabis is available to qualifying patients safely and effectively. The MMCC oversees all licensing, registration, inspection, and testing measures of Maryland’s medical cannabis program and provides relevant program information to patients, providers, growers, dispensers, processors, testing laboratories, and caregivers. For more information, visit the MMCC website.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission

  • The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is the regulatory body in the state of Massachusetts. The commission oversees the medical and adult use marijuana markets in the state. For more information, visit their website.

Medical Marijuana Card

  • A Medical Marijuana Card is an identification card issued by a state to allow patients with clearance from a doctor to obtain, possess, or cultivate cannabis for medical use. The process for obtaining a card varies by state, but all legal, medical markets require a medical marijuana card (or official identifier).


  • Metrc (Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Compliance) is a software platform developed by Franwell that tracks all the inventory moving through a cannabis dispensary. Enforcement agencies use data inconsistencies in Metrc as red flags to detect diversion. If these red flags are severe enough, they may spur an investigation that could lead to shutting down operations and hefty fines.

Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency

  • The Cannabis Regulatory Agency will establish Michigan as the national model for a regulatory program that stimulates business growth while preserving safe consumer access to cannabis. Go to the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (michigan.gov) website for more information.

Minnesota Department of Heath

Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services

Montana Department of Revenue, Cannabis Control Division (CCD)

Multi-Location Dispensary

  • Multi-location dispensaries consist of two or more stores operated under the same brand and ownership. Multi-location dispensaries often work in the same state or local jurisdiction.

Multi-State Operator (MSO)

  • Multi-State Operators or MSOs are cannabis companies with operations in multiple legal states. The largest MSOs manage and control their supply chain, including cultivation, manufacturing, wholesaling, and distribution.

Nevada Department of Taxation

  • The Nevada Department of Taxation is the regulatory authority in Nevada that oversees the cannabis industry. For more information, visit their website.

New Jersey Cannabis Commission


  • Non-compliance in the cannabis industry means that a marijuana business is not compliant with specific state or local laws. The company will be at risk of penalties from either the state or local government which include but are not limited to fines, revoking of a license, or other consequences.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA)

  • The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, or OMMA, was established to oversee the medical marijuana program for the state of Oklahoma. It is responsible for licensing, regulating, and administering the program as authorized by state law. Operating under the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the primary goal is to ensure safe and responsible cannabis practices for the people of Oklahoma.


  • Onboarding, also called implementation, is the process of integrating a new employee into a cannabis work environment. It is designed to give the new hire all the tools necessary to succeed in the business. This may be an informal or formal plan but will include job expectations, company policies, training on job-specific roles or technology, and other information as necessary.

Online Menu

  • An online menu is a list or catalog of products that a dispensary offers. Menus may be integrated through industry partners, like Leafly, Weedmaps, Jane, Enlighten, or may be done by the dispensary on their website. Online menus allow customers to see what products are for sale and in stock without visiting the physical store.

Order Ahead

  • Order Ahead for dispensaries is the process of offering customers/patients the ability to pick out what they want through an online menu and formally place their orders. Once the products are selected, and the customer sets the order, the dispensary receives the order and prepares it. The dispensary notifies the customer when the order is ready, and the customer/patient goes to the dispensary to pay and pick up their order. It’s helpful to use dispensary order ahead of standard operating procedures to remain compliant and organized.

Oregon’s Cannabis Tracking System (CTS)

  • Oregon’s Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) is integral to medical and recreational marijuana products in the state’s legal adult-use consumer and medical markets.
  • All OLCC recreational marijuana licensees and their employees are required to use CTS.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC)

  • The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is a government agency of the state of Oregon. The agency was established initially to control liquor sales in the state. Still, with the legalization of recreational use of cannabis in 2014, the authority of regulation was given to the OLCC. For more information on the OLCC, visit the OLCC website.

Out The Door Pricing (OTD)

  • Out The Door (OTD) pricing includes all relevant taxes or additional charges in the final cost of a product sold at a dispensary. Customers purchasing cannabis products will know the final price before that product is rung up. Pros of using OTD pricing give customers the ability to know precisely what they will pay and eliminate adding up taxes during transactions. However, the simplicity for the customer/patient makes for more complicated and non-standard accounting/bookkeeping.

Package Tag

  • One compliance aspect, especially in Metrc, involves a seed-to-sale process that gives each item a UID (Unique Identifier). There are two types of tagged inventory in Metrc: plant tags and package tags. Package tags have a distinct UID that identifies a product or products ready for sale or transfer to another licensee. This is how the state tracks a plant through the entire supply chain, ensuring that legal cannabis is sold to legal customers and doesn’t end up in the illicit market.

Par Level

  • A dispensary’s par level is the minimum amount of inventory needed to meet customer demand. A par level report generates a list of items at or below par level so you can order more. Identifying par levels will help ensure you don’t run out of products, which leads to lost revenue.


  • A patient at a dispensary has a state-issued medical card which gives them access to medical dispensaries. Patients are not the same as customers (Adult-Use/Rec) as they are usually allowed more affordable prices and more products. In states where only medical marijuana is legal, they have access to cannabis products.


  • Payments are the different forms of payment accepted by a dispensary. Currently, dispensaries are only allowed to take cash, ACH, cryptocurrencies, and point of banking transactions. Credit and debit card transactions are still technically not a legal form of payment because these card processors operate under federal oversight, and cannabis is federally illegal. Point of banking, which uses a bank card, is accepted because it’s an ATM transaction.

Pizza-Style Delivery

  • The pizza-style cannabis delivery setup looks and functions like a traditional pizza spot. A central location (your brick-and-mortar dispensary) is where you receive, package, label, and dispatch cannabis products.
  • Deliveries are made one transaction at a time. In some states, there is an option to take multiple orders at a time to cut back on delivery time, but all orders must be processed and packaged before leaving the dispensary. Check your state and local regulations for clarification.

Point of Banking

  • A relatively new concept in cannabis payments is point-of-bank functions similar to traditional ATMs, where customers insert their bank card and enter their identification number (PIN). However, instead of giving back cash, the transaction is electronic, proving that money has been debited from the customers’ bank account and deposited into a business account. This process — especially if integrated with a dispensary point of sale — feels like a traditional debit transaction for customers and streamlines checkout. Learn more about point of banking and what Brytemap can do for you here.

Point of Sale (POS)

  • Point of sale or POS relates to the moment that a customer is making a purchase. This is when a dispensary will calculate taxes, adjust inventory, offer specials/discounts, and collect payment. Dispensaries need POS software built specifically for the cannabis industry to automate the checkout process, improve customer experience, facilitate quick transactions, and maintain compliance.

Post-Tax Fees

  • Some municipalities charge dispensaries a flat post-tax fee instead of a tax. The post-tax cost will list as a separate fee for a transaction. This can create issues with accounting and reporting if the dispensary tries to work around the price by adding an accessory to the cart for each retail sale.


  • Potency relates to the strength or level of THC or other cannabinoids found in a cannabis product. The higher the THC potency in a product, the more the effects will be felt.


  • Pre-pack, or pre-packaging, refers to the dispensary process of packaging marijuana before selling it to a customer. This provides a faster customer checkout experience and allows the seller to control the portions sold.
  • The downside is that customers/patients do not get a hands-on experience in the dispensary. Unless sniffer jars are available, they may be unable to smell or see what they’re buying.


  • A pre-roll is a joint that has already been prepared by either a cannabis dispensary or vendor. They are consumer-ready and save the buyer the trouble of grinding and rolling their joint.

Product Catalog

  • A dispensary’s product catalog is the source of truth for every inventory item that comes into the store. It creates a uniform way of showing products in menus and reporting. It’s essential to standardize your naming conventions to ensure that there are no redundancies or errors that may compromise your ability to remain compliant and organized.

Propane Hash Oil (PHO)

  • Propane Hash Oil (PHO) is a cannabis extract made using propane as the solvent.

Provisioning Center

  • A provisioning center is a legal term used in Michigan to describe a medical cannabis dispensary. It is where cannabis is sold to registered medical patients and primary caregivers. Michigan law has made it clear that a dispensary in the state must only call itself by the term ‘provisioning center’ as well as use the term’ marihuana.’

Purchase Limits

  • Purchase limits are the maximum amount of cannabis a consumer can prescribe or purchase from a marijuana dispensary. This amount varies depending on the state and whether the consumer is a medical patient or an adult-use consumer. Some states have daily limits; others have monthly limits. Purchase limits were created to minimize diversion to the illicit market.

Restricted Access Area

  • A restricted access area is a secure area within a dispensary. The site is not permissible to enter for patients without a valid medical card or that are under 21 for adult-use dispensaries. The restricted access area is considered the space in the dispensary where products are displayed and sold. No one under 21 or without a legal, medical card may enter this area.

Retail Dispensary

  • Retail dispensaries are shops that legally provide cannabis to adults for recreational purposes. These shops function in many ways like a standard retail store, exceptions being state compliance mandates and payment limitations.


Rick Simpson Oil

  • Rick Simpson Oil is a cannabis concentrate created in 2003 by Rick Simpson to treat his basal cell carcinoma. RSO is widely used for medical benefits and has been found to relieve cancer symptoms.

Rhode Island


  • Rosin is a cannabis extract created by applying heat and pressure to the flower to withdraw resinous sap.


  • Sativa cannabis plants are taller than Indica plants. They also have narrower leaves and longer flowering cycles. The effects of Sativa are often attributed to energetic feelings, although due to years of cross-breeding, the results are more easily identified through cannabinoid and terpene levels.

Seed-to-Sale Software

  • A seed-to-sale solution is an all-in-one system that tracks every stage of the cannabis supply chain. It follows the entire process from the cannabis seed to sale, including growing, manufacturing, testing, distributing, and selling.


  • Shake consists of smaller marijuana buds that fall off of the larger nuggets. Shake can be of varying qualities and is often sold for a lower price than the standard bud at a dispensary.


  • Shatter is a cannabis extract that is typically made through butane extraction. Shatter has grown in popularity due to its glassy look and high THC content.


  • SMS is an abbreviation for Short Message Service. An SMS message contains no images or videos and is limited to 160 characters. Dispensaries often use SMS messages to send texts directly to customers highlighting things like promotions, loyalty points, changes in store processes, notifying them that orders are ready, or conducting satisfaction surveys.


  • Dispensary software includes all sales, inventory, reporting, and managing tools a cannabis business uses. This software may be either cloud-based (login and access through the web) or locally installed (physically installed on the computer).

South Dakota Medical Cannabis Program

  • The Department of Health and Education has delivered a regulatory program that ensures the safety of patients, students, and the public in their new industry. For more information, go to Medical Cannabis in South Dakota (sd.gov)

Specials / Deals / Discounts

  • Cannabis specials are deals, discounts, or promotions offered by a dispensary to help retain customers and keep up with the competition. Typical dispensary specials include “Buy Something, Get Reward’ or ‘BOGO,’ cart-level discounts, and event discounts.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) help create efficiencies, maintain compliance, promote transparency, and mitigate risk within a cannabis dispensary. Simply put, SOPs are detailed, written explanations of how everything should be done or what process needs to be followed to complete a task within a cannabis dispensary accurately. In most legal states, SOPs are required to procure a license.

State Reporting

  • State reporting is the process of sending data to the state track-and-trace program. Reporting must be done correctly and consistently to stay compliant. Each state has different regulations on how and when sales data is shared.

Store Layout

  • The store layout of a dispensary includes every aspect of how the physical space is set up. Some factors that contribute to how a dispensary’s design should look include: the brand, state requirements, inventory, staff, location, and customers. Four standard models for dispensary store layouts are the bank model, the pharmacy model, the mobile model, and the kiosk model. There is no right or wrong for store layout or workflow. It depends on how you move customers and inventory through the store.


  • Cannabis strains come from breeding male cannabis plants with females to create different varieties that include some aspects of each parent plant. Other strains are associated with different effects due to lineage information and terpene content.

Tech Stack

  • A dispensary’s tech stack includes all the technology and tools they use. This may be an array of retail and inventory management hardware and software, digital signage, kiosks, apps, and anything else that proves beneficial for day-to-day operations and long-term sustainability.


  • Terpenes create the flavor profile of cannabis. They are oils secreted in the same glands as cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, and the plant developed them to repel predators and lure pollinators. For more on terpenes, check out the terpene guide from Maggie’s Farms.


  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis. THC is the most well-known molecule in marijuana and is sought after for its euphoric, psychological effects.


  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) is an inactive compound found in the trichomes of living cannabis plants. THCA doesn’t get one “high,” although it is the precursor to THC, which it becomes through decarboxylation.


  • Cannabis tinctures are made by infusing cannabis with alcohol. They are often used for medicinal purposes, are taken orally, and can contain high levels of both THC and CBD.


  • Like liquor stores display the highest quality products on the top shelf, top-shelf is an expression often used in cannabis dispensaries to highlight high-quality products being sold. These typically come from premium growers and are sold at a higher price than other products at that dispensary.


  • Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, oils, and balms that users apply directly to the skin for pain and inflammation relief. Cannabis topicals are non-intoxicating so that the user can experience the medicinal properties of cannabis without the psychoactive effects.

Traceability System

  • Traceability systems in cannabis refer to software that tracks the lifecycle of a cannabis plant from the seed to its sale at a licensed dispensary through Metrc RFID tags.

Track and Trace

  • A track and trace system is an inventory control system used by state regulators in legal cannabis markets to track from cultivation to sale. The system tracks the cannabis from the planted seed to the packaged product when it is sold to a cannabis consumer or patient. Compliance with the state track and trace system is required and highly important for cannabis businesses. The most familiar track and trace systems are Metrc and Biotrack.


  • A vape is a marijuana smoking device that creates enough heat to turn the active compounds in cannabis flower or concentrate into a vapor. This can be done with a cannabis vape pen or other tools to vaporize flower. Vaping is a preferable alternative to smoking because it does not release tar odors that can be associated with burning marijuana. There are still studies on whether vaporizing cannabis is a healthier alternative to smoking. For the time being, there are risks associated with vaping depending on the type of cartridge, device, and ingredients used.

Vertically Integrated

  • Vertically integrated cannabis businesses own and manage all aspects of the supply chain. They own the company’s cultivation, lab, manufacturing, and retail sectors. This means that they can save money and time and consolidate the quality of their products.

Visual Merchandising

  • Visual merchandising describes how a dispensary displays its products to appease customers and improve the amount purchased. This may include glass display cases, digital signage, or the general dispensary design.


  • Wax is a cannabis concentrate that often looks similar to honey and contains very high levels of THC.


  • Weed is a slang term for cannabis. It has grown in popularity as younger generations try to distance themselves from other ways slang terms such as “dope,” “kush,” or “reefer.”

Weigh Heavy Threshold

  • For dispensaries that offer deli-style flower, a weigh heavy threshold allows the budtender weighing the weed to “weigh heavy” and not force the budtender to break up big nugs. The dispensary sets a threshold that gets added to the weight tier so that extra weight is added free of charge.
  • Example: A customer wants to buy an eighth (3.5g). The budtender weighs out 3.7g because they’re big nugs. The extra 0.2g is offered for $0. The customer only pays for the 3.5g.

West Virginia Office of Medical Cannabis

  • The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health, Office of Medical Cannabis oversees medical cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries. For more information, go to the Office of Medical Cannabis (wv.gov)


  • A cannabis wholesaler is a licensed person or business that sells cannabis products directly to other companies for resale, such as dispensaries. Wholesalers often provide larger quantities of either their brand or various brands, which may come at a discount for the reseller to profit from once sold individually.


  • Dispensary workflows are how employees, managers, and owners get work done. Workflows may revolve around different aspects of each job, like creating new workflows to handle online ordering and curbside pickup or understanding the inventory intake process.


Disclaimer: These terms are meant for educational use only. It is not exhaustive of all cannabis terms and definitions. This term list should not be used for medical or legal advice.