As a cannabis retail store manager in California, you have a lot of responsibilities, and it's important to stay organized with dispensary standard operating procedures (SOPS).

In addition to managing your inventory, staff, and compliance with state and local regulations, you also need to make sure that your store has all necessary checklists put into place to keep things running smoothly. Let your staff know exactly what's expected of them so you can operate efficiently and get out on time--saving you on your dispensary payroll.

This includes making sure your shop is clean, organized, at closing to prepare for the next sales day. If your store provides delivery services, it's important to follow the delivery procedures we'll provide; including cash counting, making sure your delivery drivers' sales reports undergo thorough checks and vehicle maintenance. This ensures that your driver's cash sales are accounted for and their vehicles are in good condition, promoting safe and reliable deliveries for your customers.

To help you streamline your end-of-day closing routine, we've put together an SOP template for you to use including seven key areas to take care of:

Cash Counting at a Dispensary SOP for closing

Cash Counting

Balancing the Till

The most important step in closing is to count all the cash accumulated from sales throughout the day. Counting all of the cash in your drawers is essential to ensure that there is no discrepancy in your sales and register receipts. As a store manager, you are responsible for cash management protocols such as counting the cash in all register drawers, the safe, and the cash handling equipment like ATMs. This may include calculating totals from your debit card terminal receipts.

Accounting for mistakes

If there are any discrepancies, you should investigate them in your point of sale system (POS system). Discrepancies can be identified through mistakes in their sales transaction processes. If found, best practices include confirming with employees before they clock out why their drawer was off, and if employees are routinely making mistakes, be sure to hold them accountable.


All cannabis dispensary operations use reports and analytics to confirm and communicate sales totals for the day. Many dispensary owners request an end of day update for accounting totals such as Gross Sales, Net Sales, Tax Totals, Cost of Goods sold and more. If your shop owner wants to be informed of these accounting totals, be sure to include this step in your standard dispensary operating procedure. All point of sale systems should have this capability, and if you're using Meadow POS, the most common reports include the Orders Report or Shifts Report.


Anywhere money is stored should also be locked up and secured, as cannabis businesses are prone to break-ins and theft. All dispensaries are different; some require a second manager present to confirm cash is being stored and counted correctly, some require a security guard present before locking up the safe. Inquire with your team what your best practices should be for your cannabis business.

Benefits of Shifts and Drawers with Meadow POS:

  • Flexible retail models: Depending on the size of your operation, managers can decide if they would like to have one drawer for the whole day or run multiple drawers in one day.
  • Accountability: Managers can adjust their settings to only allow one employee per drawer or allow multiple employees per drawer. Employees can be required to enter their PIN in order to finalize a transaction to help with tracking discrepancies.
  • Seamless User-interface: Manage drawers as a manager in Meadow Admin. View orders placed on each drawer, who fulfilled them, track refunds, and calculate expected drawer balances.
  • No mental math required: Enter the final cash balance for a drawer, and the system will calculate and compare it to Meadow’s expected total to find any discrepancies.
  • Manager functionality: Require managers to approve custom discounts, opening/closing shifts, and drawer balance adjustments.

Cleaning and maintenance

Maintaining a clean and organized cannabis dispensary is vital for both aesthetic appeal and operational efficiency. Focus on quality control; it's crucial to do a thorough cleaning every day after work. This includes making sure everything is organized and in its place, surfaces are wiped down, and all equipment is cleaned properly. Consistent cleaning not only keeps things tidy but also ensures a welcoming and well-maintained environment for the next day's customers and staff.

Don't skip on these steps

  • Ensure the presentation of the store by sweeping and mopping the floors, dusting shelves, and wiping down and appropriately storing all equipment.
  • Clean and disinfect any customer facing surfaces, employee workspaces, and delivery vehicles used throughout the day to uphold hygiene standards.
  • Refresh the display products within your retail merchandising cabinets and ensure they are arranged in an orderly and visually appealing manner.

Pro Tip

Consider "pre-closing" or side-work throughout the closing shift to save on dispensary payroll. During lower customer volume hours, get ahead of your closing responsibilities with small tasks; organizing countertops and shelves, taking out the trash, organizing displays, and wiping down equipment that is not currently in use.

In addition to general cleanliness, implement equipment maintenance measures by turning off and charging all hardware before leaving for the evening. Prioritize energy efficiency by powering down lights in areas that are no longer in use.

Inventory Management

The role of a closing inventory manager helps maintain operational and financial accuracy. As the shift draws to a close, the inventory manager contributes to safeguarding your dispensary assets. Responsibilities include cleaning the stockroom, locking up any inventory safes or vaults, and ensuring the opening manager has ready-to-work-in space.

Misplaced products create inventory discrepancies

Make sure that all of your loose inventory has been put away for the day. The sales day can be busy, and budtenders might have pulled some display or example products to show customers. Make sure any products out of place are back where they belong to avoid potential discrepancies in the future.

Restocking your top sellers

Provide a report and communicate with the purchasing manager to reorder any items that are running low or out of stock. Reference your POS system and inventory tracking systems for this information. Ensure that your stock is tidy, organized and stored properly. Learn more: Dispensary Inventory Management

  • Lock the stockroom and secure any vaults where product is stored
  • Organize any products on the display shelves, retail floor, and backstock area
  • Ensure any refrigerators or coolers are closed tightly or locked that hold concentrates

Inventory Manager SOP for closing a dispensary

Compliance Check

As a cannabis retail store manager, you must comply with all state and local regulations. Stay ahead of the curve and protect your business from potential penalties by implementing rigorous compliance measures.

  • According to the DCC, all inventory must be stored on the licensed premises.
  • Make sure the delivery driver inventory kits have returned from the vehicle.
  • Confirm all cannabis products are stored in an inventory location that has video surveillance.

Delivery Management

Dispensaries offering delivery services must prioritize adherence to dispensary SOPs and regulatory compliance by ensuring the timely completion of all order fulfillments each day. Verify that all driver delivery ledgers are accurately completed, aligning with regulatory requirements before the 10 pm deadline. Before your driver clocks out, conduct comprehensive checks and cleaning of delivery vehicles. Read more: Important Regulatory Update: New California Cannabis Delivery Ledger Requirements & Steps for Compliance


Lock up

Implement security measures in your cannabis retail store by meticulously checking all security systems, locks, and alarms before leaving for the day. Make sure a guard is present until your retail manager locks the door and sets the alarm. The guard should be present while the manager is setting the alarm code-- that is a very vulnurable time for break-in attempts. Set the code, lock the doors, lock the safe before leaving for the day.

Lights, Cameras! Action

It's important to invest in a great security team who is willing to protect your staff and your valuable property. Your security equipment must also be well-kept and maintained. Verify the proper functioning of all cameras, ensuring they adequately cover all essential areas within the store. Your security team should conduct a thorough review of security footage to identify any signs of unauthorized access or suspicious activities. Hiring an overnight security team is one of the most valuable investments you can make for your store.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you fortify your dispensary. In this regulated industry, be sure to reference your local regulations to remain in compliance. With these steps, you'll be safeguarding not only your valuable inventory but also the well-being of your staff. Read more: 7 Ways to Protect Your Cannabis Dispensary From Break-Ins

Read more: 7 Ways to Protect Your Cannabis Dispensary From Break-Ins

Team Management

Implement best practices in employee management by verifying that your staff has successfully completed their assigned tasks. Some dispensaries use check-lists that are printed out and laminated so all employees can contribute and sign off on their assigned tasks. By signing their name, this encourages them to do a great job, and if they don't, they can be held directly accountable.

Take care of your Budtenders

Perform check-ins before they clock out by actively seeking any feedback or concerns to encourage employee retention. Offer necessary instructions or training for upcoming tasks to enhance their long-term performance. Foster effective communication channels and encourage teamwork to ensure everyone is aligned and contributes to a seamless closing process. This approach not only supports employee management best practices but also contributes to an enhanced customer experience by maintaining a well-organized and efficient operation in the long term. Happy employees will perform better, and that will reflect in your customer retention.

Make sure they clock out!

This is the last step for your team! Nothing is worse than adjusting clock-out errors in your time management system. Pro tip! Post your weekly schedule next to the clock-out machine so your team is well-informed about their schedule for their next working day.

Team Management Closing procedures SOP dispensary check list

Closing a cannabis dispensary requires a comprehensive checklist to ensure the business operates seamlessly the next day. As the dispensary manager, incorporating efficient and thorough end-of-day closing routines is crucial. By aligning with the dispensary SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and including the seven key items on our checklist in your daily routine, you can ensure that your cannabis business runs smoothly and remains in compliance with all necessary regulations. Adhering to these SOPs specific to cannabis dispensaries can also help you identify any issues or concerns before they escalate into more significant problems, making it easier to manage your dispensary and ensure its success in the cannabis industry.

Read more: Cannabis Dispensary SOPs: Opening Procedures Checklist

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