One of the most important elements of cannabis retail compliance is accurately selling products by weight. A dispensary’s inventory may include a variety of cannabis offerings, including packages of marijuana buds or flowers, edibles, vaping supplies, or containers of shatter (cannabis concentrate), topicals (ointments and creams) and marijuana extracts. Scales for cannabis ensure you are not over- or under-charging customers and assist in inventory tracking at a medical marijuana dispensary or cannabis retail outlet, regardless of the product you sell. Running a business that sells products by weight is impossible without the proper scale, so make sure you choose the one that addresses your business needs and adheres to local and state cannabis laws.
The standards and regulations for cannabis scales vary by state, so choose the scale that will keep you in compliance and accurately serve your customers. Here are three main features you should look for when shopping for a scale for cannabis:
1. Weigh to One-Hundredth of a Gram
Anyone shopping for a scale for cannabis should brush up on the metric system. Metric isn’t standard in the U.S., but scales for cannabis measure in grams. Although it’s commonly thought that an ounce of is 28 grams, it’s actually 28.349 grams—so don’t short your customers by rounding. Most scales will weigh to the tenth of a gram, but it’s recommended that scales for cannabis weight to the one-hundredth of a gram (0.01) for a higher degree of accuracy. This is important because it tells the customer they are receiving the exact amount of product they’re paying for, it ensures the cannabis retailer is receiving the correct payment, and it maintains accurate inventory records.
2. NTEP Certification
The National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP), overseen by the National Conference on Weights and Measures, covers every aspect of a scale’s use, including capacity, accuracy and the effects of temperature fluctuations on the scale’s operation. The standards are developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A local weights and measures official will use NIST standards when inspecting your scale and sealing/certifying it for legal use. Every NTEP approved scale will have a NTEP certificate of conformance (CoC) number that an inspector can use to verify the scale has been certified. However, a CoC doesn’t mean plug and play—call your local regulatory agency for the proper procedure before using the scale.
3. Class II NTEP Balance
A NTEP CoC means the scale is legal for trade and able to be used to sell product by weight. However, there are different classes of accuracy. Class II is a higher accuracy scale that applies to lab scales as opposed to industrial or retail equipment. This higher class of scale can be used in medical or scientific uses such as pharmacy, laboratory, and compounding, which require precise measurements. Most states require cannabis retail stores to have a Class II digital scale.
Medical marijuana and cannabis retailers are legal in more than half of the U.S., but requirements for how you run your business will vary depending on your location. With products sold by weight and strict regulatory requirements, investing in the right scale will be vital to your profitability and compliance. Carefully evaluate your options and make the right choice for your business.