Vendors roll ERP for medical marijuana dispensaries

IdWeeds.com and MJ Freeway are two platforms dispensaries can use to optimize their operations

By , IDG News Service |  Enterprise Software, ERP

"The bulk of the project will be developed in open-source software to keep costs down," said Clarity CIO Dejay Noy, via e-mail. "In the first phase of the project everything will be created from scratch except the point-of-sale system. The majority of the software will be Java-based with a MySQL backend. It will be hosted on a CentOS based Linux system with Apache Tomcat that was provisioned through a third party cloud provider."

Beta testing is set to begin in May with a local dispensary whose owner has a wealth of technology experience, according to CEO Fields.

"We're trying to get it into them in the next few weeks so she can help us hammer out the bugs," he said. The company hopes for a general release by August.

Down the road, the company is planning to develop smart cards that can determine how much marijuana a given patient has been sold.

"That's a big problem for the dispensaries. If they get caught selling more to a person than [allowed], they get in trouble," he said.

Fields is also hoping to tackle a thorny supply-chain problem posed by Colorado's "70-30" law. Under the legislation, 70% of a dispensary's stock has to be grown by the facility, with up to 30% allowed to be brought in from other licensed dispensaries. The problem now is a lack of information about what other dispensaries have in stock and available for sale, Fields said.

Therefore, idWeeds is planning to create a "trading post" website for its customers. "People are driving around door to door now," he said. "It's really inefficient."

MJ Freeway has a similar system already in place, as its platform ties into the medical marijuana social network WeedMaps.

Despite their products' innovations, Goldfogel and Fields face somewhat of an uphill battle due to competition from entrenched players.

Indeed, one soon-to-be-opened dispensary in Auburn, Maine, is not planning to use a specialized system for inventory and sales.

Remedy Compassion Center evaluated about 10 products, including MJ Freeway, and ultimately signed on with POS Prophet Systems, said Jenna Smale, director of patient services.

"I was looking for a company that would be able to provide me with the ability to have the patient database merged with their purchase history, because of state requirements," she said.

Smale was turned off by talks with one vendor of a specialized system, which she declined to identify.

Its sales representative had an overly loose demeanor, at one point answering a call with the salutation "'Sup?" according to Smale.

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