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Starting a cannabis business is on the rise, and for good reason. With more states coming on board every year, it’s a world of opportunity.

Yet cannabis startups don’t face the same challenges as other businesses. Several common IT challenges are unique to the industry and can make a world of difference in how successful you’ll be. Whether you’ve faced these IT challenges yet or not, they will be in your future. Awareness is critical to making better decisions now to avoid pitfalls that can quickly impact your future.

Fierce competition

The cannabis world can be quite fierce. There are always giants vying to become the biggest name in the industry. But even at the startup level, others will constantly be jockeying for position. Startups are known to be scrappier, looking for ways to do things on a shoestring budget. Cybercriminals know this and often target startups because of their looser security strategies. Developing your IT strategy early will help you stay ahead of the crowd if you envision growing.

Limited resources

Starting up a new cannabis business isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll be wearing a hundred different hats, sometimes all in one day. That can leave you stretched thin and looking to cut corners. That can also leave you vulnerable. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s the best time to partner with experts who can guide you to make sound decisions to help you put your best foot forward.

Change is a constant

Cannabis remains illegal on a federal level. While more states and territories are legalizing cannabis for recreational and/or medical use, it doesn’t change the fact that you’ll need workarounds to get the job done. It impacts the way you bank, the way you process, and the way you manage your business. Ultimately, that also affects the way you handle security. Be ready for change at any time. Ask for help when you need it to ensure you’re always prepared for the latest batch of regulations.


Technology continues to change at warp speed. A Lenovo study revealed that 57 percent of CIOs believe at least half of their current tech is serviceable but could be improved, while 21 percent want to replace almost all of their tech. Most cannabis startups don’t have a CIO but instead try to piecemeal their tech together based on available knowledge. Tech is the heart of your business production and if you don’t monitor how it impacts your business, you might be missing crucial pieces to help you grow.

Meeting regulatory requirements

The cannabis industry is heavily regulated and changing all the time. As more states come online, more rules solidify and affect how you’ll do business. Add in HIPAA regulations if you operate on the medical side. Do you understand how they all impact your business? Are you carefully considering all of the changes to help manage your data?

Acquiring and retaining employees

While hiring and retaining employees is difficult for any business, it’s especially difficult for cannabis businesses. Many employees move into the industry because they enjoy the product, but burn out once they discover the internal workings of the industry. Building your culture early can help weed through prospects and find employees who will stick around. It can also help you establish effective training processes to ensure they stay relevant in this ever-changing world.

Create a hybrid work environment

Even as a brick-and-mortar, you’ll still find yourself shifting based on how the world works. A hybrid work environment exists for everyone who works for you. What’s your BYOD policy? Do employees have the right tools and support to do their jobs? How do they access data? How do they stay secure? If you aren’t asking questions daily about creating a better, safer work environment, you’re facing problems down the road.

Have you faced any of these IT challenges?

For IT Strategy, Security and Compliance, or Help Desk Services, reach out to us at Cannabis Technology Partners 360-450-4759.