Dutchie marijuana retail customers report system crashes on 4/20

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Marijuana retailers using Dutchie e-commerce systems reported widespread outages on April 20, the cannabis industry’s top day for sales.

Several operators told MJBizDaily their Dutchie point-of-sale (POS) software crashed for hours during peak traffic Saturday, halting online and in-store purchases and causing customers to leave stores empty-handed.

At Pure Cannabis Outlet in Michigan, store workers reported the Dutchie POS system crashed for more than five hours.

“We had so many angry and disappointed customers, and we were literally helpless,” said Jerry Hicks, an operations manager at the store.

Pure Cannabis was unable to cash out customers for hours, Hicks said, because staffers couldn’t log in to accounts or access systems for inventory and back-office functions.

Bend, Oregon-based Dutchie’s POS and e-commerce software is used by more than 6,000 cannabis retail clients in the United States and Canada.

Dutchie reacts

“This year’s 4/20 was a record-setting day for the majority of Dutchie powered dispensaries,” Chris Ostrowski, chief technology officer of Dutchie, said in a statement emailed to MJBizDaily.

“Our systems powered over 2 million transactions, representing $165 million in retail commerce – a 50% increase from 2023 4/20.

“While Dutchie and our partners prepared extensively for this year’s 4/20, a group of customers local to a specific instance of our POS system experienced serious issues that impacted their ability to transact.

“Dutchie is committed to stability and will be continuing to invest heavily to provide a reliable platform for all customers.”

Software outages have become a perennial issue for many marijuana retailers.

On April 20, 2023, a cascade of failures between Dutchie’s systems and its retail customers’ e-commerce menus led to widespread outages that affected hundreds – if not thousands – of stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Need for finance reforms reenforced

On Saturday, Curio Wellness co-founder Wendy Bronfein reported customer lines were backed up out the door at multiple locations across Maryland as a result of the system outage.

She estimated the loss in sales at $80,000 and said Curio-owned stores had to cancel nearly 1,000 preorders to remain in compliance.

“For dispensaries across the nation to experience a major outage with our payment system on the busiest day of the year for cannabis is equivalent to Walmart’s systems being down on Black Friday, or Amazon experiencing payment issues on Prime Day,” Bronfein told MJBizDaily via email.

As a result, Bronfein said Curio Wellness would offer coupons to extend 4/20 deals into this week at its Far & Dotter and Pharmkent Wellness stores in Maryland.

“This outage is yet another indicator that the industry is in major need of reform,” she said.

“This reaffirms our need for more accessible methods of payment and SAFER Banking, to ensure we don’t lose essential sales and that our consumers have access to safe, legal cannabis, as is their right in many states across the U.S.”

Safeguards helped some

MacGyver Consulting, a Toronto retail marketing and e-commerce firm that works with 30-40 stores in the U.S. and Canada, fielded calls throughout Saturday from retailers seeking new POS solutions and providers.

“The retailers we work with who implemented the recommended technological upgrades reported no downtime (on 4/20), illustrating the clear benefits of such investments,” said Bobby Fikree, a principal partner at MacGyver.

“This demonstrates that the enhancements are not only effective but essential for maintaining operations during high-demand periods like 4/20.”

Increased store and online traffic on April 20, 2023, pushed sales past $100 million in 10 states and four Canadian markets alone, according to Seattle-based cannabis industry analytics provider Headset.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at chris.casacchia@mjbizdaily.com.