Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures PDFs: What to Include

Dispensary Operating Procedures

Creating a dispensary standard operating procedures PDF can seem overwhelming. What information do you include? And what information is important, but not necessary for an SOP?

In this post, we’ll do a deep dive on what to include in your SOP and why each item is important. The larger your team, the more important it is to create an SOP, especially if you want to scale your dispensary or open multiple locations. Below are some critical points to keep in mind.

The Benefits of Creating A Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures PDF

Before we outline what to include in an SOP, it’s important to understand the context of SOPs and how they can help to grow your dispensary. Clearly understanding the benefits of SOPs will help determine what should be included versus what can be omitted. 

  • Saving time on employee training. The more employees you have on the frontline, the more important it is to create training-related SOPs. This ensures that each employee has the same level of training, knowledge, and understanding of your dispensary. When everyone is on the same page, then it helps the team work efficiently as a unit.
  • Create consistency for your brand. Whether or not you have multiple locations, you should prioritize consistency for your brand. For brands with multiple dispensaries, it’s important that the customer experience is consistently positive no matter what location they visit. Even if you only have one location, is the customer experience the same from day-to-day, budtender-to-budtender? Creating dispensary standard operating procedures PDF ensures consistency.
  • Ensure that legal requirements are met. If you own or manage a dispensary, then you know how challenging the regulatory environment can be. Failing to meet regulatory requirements can result in hefty consequences, including fines. Creating SOPs for specific workflows ensures that legal requirements are met and that key players know exactly what their responsibilities are.

Basic Procedures that Should Be Included in a Dispensary SOP

Hiring Employees

At first, owners may be directly involved during the hiring process. However, as the dispensary grows, this responsibility will eventually be given to managers and supervisors. Creating a standard operating procedure for the hiring process ensures that proper questions are asked during the interview process. It also makes the vetting process consistent for every applicant.

Point of Sale Procedures

How should employees greet customers? How should refunds be handled? What about customer complaints? Point of sale procedures can also explain the equipment that is used and how employees can operate the computer software, the cash register, barcode scanner, or labeling machines.

With more and more dispensaries offering delivery services, it’s important to have standardized procedures for delivery. For example, it’s important that the product is safely, discreetly, and carefully packaged before ever leaving the dispensary. The driver should also have specific instructions on how to handle the delivery and interact with the customer.

Shaping the Customer Experience

Frontline workers directly shape how customers experience your dispensary. Sure, you can have the best cannabis products in the world, but if customers have a bad experience with a budtender, then a bad online review might be around the corner – hurting your sales and online rankings.

It’s always important to define reception procedures, emphasizing the importance of positive customer interactions. Budtenders should be helpful and informative, yes, but they also be helpful to every customer no matter how busy a location may be.

An SOP can even identify specific greeting phrases, emphasize making eye contact with customers, and always encourage a positive attitude.

Procedures Unique to the Cannabis Industry

Every industry has its own unique operating procedures. A hotel, for example, will naturally operate differently compared to an auto shop. Similarly, cannabis dispensaries have unique considerations.

Security Procedures

For all dispensaries, whether recreational or medical (or both), it’s critical to ensure that proper security measures are in place.

This includes proper implementation and handling of store security cameras, and the procedures that outdoor security guards must follow. Failing to comply with these regulations can result in legal challenges.

Customer Relationship Management

Without a relationship with customers, your dispensary will never grow. Instead, you’ll have one-time purchasers who will likely never return. Cultivating customer loyalty and relationships doesn’t happen overnight — and it typically doesn’t happen by luck either.

The creation of customer goodwill is reliant on having a formal process that ensures customer satisfaction and encourages great reviews.

Marketing Procedures

When we think of creating a dispensary standard operating procedures PDF, it’s tempting to only think about the customer side or operation side of things. However, an SOP can be incredibly beneficial for the marketing team as well.

For example, an SOP ensures a consistent brand voice and brand image across every marketing medium. Establishing an SOP also creates a standardized way to manage negative reviews online, especially on Google My Business.

What happens if customers ask questions on Facebook or other social media profiles? Is this the responsibility of the social media marketing team to answer? Or should a budtender who is knowledgeable on various products handle the inquiries? There is no right or wrong answer, but it’s important to designate responsibilities and make them known through an SOP.


Dispensary SOPs strengthen every facet of your business, from customer relations to efficient internal processes.

An SOP helps to clarify the atmosphere that you want to create, outlining how the voice, values, and mission of your brand and dispensary will be realized.

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