The Cannabis Industry Needs a Platform to Build With

The cannabis industry has been forced to build itself from the ground up (literally) with several factors working against it. Since the earliest days of legalization, the lack of tools, services, and support for our industry has been astounding.

Mainstream staples have been reticent to accept cannabis clientele, and the laundry list of basic business services beyond reach for cannabis operators is extensive. Despite these tailwinds, massive accomplishments have still been made. 

Entire cottage industries exist around cannabis-specific offerings. Software such as point-of-sale, enterprise resource management, and financial planning and analysis are some of the biggest areas where purpose-built tools have emerged.

The industry has everything from cannabis-focused delivery, loyalty, and marketing systems, through purpose-built CRMs and everything in between. Seemingly every tool an operator may need has been redesigned and rebuilt in order to serve the unique needs of our industry.

These young, innovative companies are helping to propel the industry forward, but at what cost? Much of this specialization is due to necessity, however operators have enough opposing forces in this competitive industry that relying on incomplete or inferior tools shouldn’t be one of them. 

In order to usher in the next phase of industry growth we need to empower ancillary companies to provide our industry’s licensed operators with the same quality tools and systems as their mainstream counterparts.

This isn’t to say that these ancillary providers aren’t doing a good job today (by and large they are!), however the need for specialization and operational excellence is now more important than ever. The current economic cycle is leading to longer sales cycles, less “discretionary” spending, and a need to deliver higher overall ROI to operators across the board.

Put bluntly; Running a cannabis company is hard (really hard), and it’s the duty of ancillary service providers to do the best job possible to help them. 

The Need for a Platform

What happens when a point of sale company focuses its limited engineering resources on payments features? Core inventory and checkout workflows get ignored. 

What happens when an enterprise resource management company focuses on cultivation features and neglects to invest in proper seed to sale reporting and reconciliation? Operators risk noncompliance in exchange for optimized yield. 

While these examples may sound extreme, they highlight the reality of scarcity. No ancillary provider can be all things to all customers. The number of things a company can do successfully is directly correlated to the overall size and skill of their team.

That’s why our industry needs a platform from which ancillary providers and operators alike can build and expand their offerings without losing focus of their core competency or abdicating ownership of key areas.

In other words, there needs to be a place where collaboration can thrive for the betterment of the industry at large. 

What comes next?

As we look to the future of cannabis commerce – becoming interstate and international – transparency, connectivity and actionable data become increasingly paramount.

There is a connective tissue the cannatech world needs to seamlessly connect, embed and empower cannabis businesses and the financial and business services that cater to them. 

Embedded finance, compliance, and analytics solutions for the entire cannabis ecosystem will soon be table stakes and few are positioned to provide them.

Like many reading this, we here at Green Check are dedicated to driving innovation and propelling the cannabis industry forward. Looking toward the future, through the intelligent connection of data and API-driven cannatech capabilities, we will see more innovation with developers’ creating bespoke financial and business solutions tailored to their unique needs. 

This tech-first approach will unlock the full potential of the cannabis industry – benefiting the legal cannabis businesses eager to grow and succeed, as well as the ancillary businesses that serve them.


  • Mike Kennedy is a Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Green Check Verified. Mike’s background is in helping community financial institutions leverage technology to better manage their compliance and risk functions, and he has helped hundreds of institutions develop and implement bespoke compliance programs. Prior to co-founding Green Check Verified, Mike helped scale Continuity, the first SaaS-based compliance management system for community financial institutions.

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