Dana Cawthon: 3 Rules Every Medical Marijuana Dispensary Must Follow to Help Stabilize Industry

By Dana Cawthon

In our uncertain and volatile marketplace, it is more important than ever for medical marijuana dispensary owners to comply with local rules, standards and regulations established for the industry.

With a proliferation of MMJ businesses in recent years and marijuana legalization on the ballot in several states, authorities are looking for any reason to shut dispensaries down. Moreover, recent banking restrictions have made it significantly more difficult for dispensaries to be successful from a financial perspective.

The best way to overcome these obstacles and reinvent new, more favorable market conditions is to maintain strict business guidelines. While this may seem obvious, it is crucial for each medical marijuana entrepreneur to make sure he consistently reexamines his business practices and adheres to the following three rules:

#1. Managerial Accounting – As an owner, it is imperative for you or your management team to routinely (daily or weekly) go over the company’s financial statements and target discrepancies. This adds to your bottom line by keeping you on pace for the short and long term financial goals established in your business plan. It also helps to manage inventory as well as to establish buying trends and pricing practices. Adopting effective accounting practices is the best tool to use to eliminate employee consumption and theft—the largest area of business risk in the MMJ industry. Another positive byproduct of implementing a strict accounting routine is that you will be much more ready should the government ever decide to audit your company.

#2. “Hands On” Leadership/Human Resources Development –  It is vital that dispensary owners have a thorough knowledge of the rules, standards and regulations of the industry in order to convey them to their employees. Non-compliance exposes you to being shut down. Interactive leadership engages your team to be more responsible, to take pride in the importance of their duties and to build morale. An employee will be more valuable through this commitment and accountability and become much more likely to stay longer, thereby reducing turnover.

#3. Business Ethics –  Establishing and implementing proper business ethics will help to change the perceived culture of the MMJ industry and enable us to become better corporate citizens. Our industry promotes and sells a product that is subject to added public scrutiny due to its inherent “gray areas.” Therefore, dispensary owners need to be proactive and set a high standard for policing ourselves in order to gain acceptance. Each owner should implore his team to not “use” on the job, to insist on seeing proper ID’s, look and act professional at all times, know the rules, and engage with customers and the public at large in a positive manner. Adhering to strong business ethics will help establish an owner not only as a leader in the MMJ industry, but even more importantly as an asset to the general business community as well.

While the medical marijuana industry is in its infancy, we need to step up our game and earn the right to be viewed as a legitimate trade. The best way to ensure our success and safety is to practice what we preach. We need to recapture the trust of the banking community and the overall business community in general by becoming better and more responsible business people ourselves. In the end, it is the best public relations we have to ensure that medical marijuana becomes legalized and that we all benefit.

Dana Cawthon is chief executive officer and co-founder of Corporate Results, a full-service consulting firm specializing in the needs of dispensary owners, MMJ manufacturers and supporting doctors.

6 comments on “Dana Cawthon: 3 Rules Every Medical Marijuana Dispensary Must Follow to Help Stabilize Industry
  1. Winnie on

    This lady is not qualified to be giving advice in the MMJ field. She is uneducated and ignorant, be weary of working with her.

  2. Elyse on

    This woman has only one year maximum experience in the MMJ Industry. Her title as a consulting specialist in the field should be reviewed before using her service. I would consider her a “power trip” specialist. Stepping in to more than she can handle. It takes true experience and time during the construction of this industry over the last 5+ years to understand, develop, and advance this industry.

  3. Levi on

    She has a master’s degree in business from DU and 20+ years in her field. I highly disagree with your comment of her being uneducated and ignorant. I welcome all the support from those who contribute in a positive manner.

  4. Denise on

    I agree with Levi. I have been working with Dana for over 2 years now and she knows her stuff. You don’t have to work in an industry forever to know what’s right to do. All of us could benefit from her advice.

  5. Triton on

    I don’t know who Dana is but it all seems very logical and productive to me. Thank you for looking out. Already posted in the office for managers and myself.

  6. Covi on

    Dana holds a Masters degree from Daniels College of Business, DU Denver, that’s big time! She is fully qualified to comment on basic business accounting concepts as she has in her article. Further Dana is fully qualified in advanced business accounting principles, advanced business tax accounting (Federal\State\Local) and how to keep you from losing your rear in business. Her perspective is right on, she is suggesting basic business strategies that are applicable to any business. Listen up!

    What are my qualifications, I’m an IT pro in the Healthcare\Pharma Industry employed with a very large health care provider. My healthcare employer must follow basic accounting\regulation protocol and more as Dana presents. In addition we are required to adhere to HIPPA regulation, Sarbanes–Oxley and goodness knows every other Govt healthcare related and general business regulation. But most of all we are dedicated to the patient. The patient is number one. Not a concept I’ve experienced with MMJ!

    Banks\credit companies are dumping the MMJ industry. Losing access to business credit\banking is a major blow and now the industry has to move to a cash accounting environment. You better get ready for cash accounting as that is a serious undertaking like nothing you’ve ever experienced.

    Dana knows her stuff, she is very well educated, has many years in business and specifically in business\tax accounting. And she kept me from losing my rear end in a business by providing her fabulous experience.

    Thank You Dana for providing your exceptional perspective!


    Knock, Knock, IRS can we see your cash accounting records. Sure ask Dana she’s got out back!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *