FAQ (and Answers) about the Burgeoning Cannabis Market

Here are all the answers ISVs need about the cannabis market and advice for developing applications for this growing industry.

The cannabis market is a new consumer market with a product that is in huge demand. But, with any new market, there are going to be a myriad of questions that ISVs need to be answered.

What is the current status of cannabis legalization? Are more states considering legalization?

Information varies and changes frequently regarding the legalization of recreational cannabis, so it’s hard to determine exactly which states are considering legalization and which will actually pass laws for legalization in the near future. As of July 1, 2018, states in the US that have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis include ME, MA, CO, NV, AK, OR, WA, VT, CA, and Washington, DC.

Because cannabis is a highly regulated industry, what resources are available for software developers to help them build compliant solutions?

Partnerships with knowledgeable subject matter experts are crucial for ISVs looking to break into the cannabis market. A good partnership as with an experienced hardware vendor, will help ISVs develop the new part of its business as it expands into the cannabis market. A good partnership will also assist in staying in the know about regulatory developments, and in searching for solutions that will provide customers with the greatest value.

Are there still opportunities for ISVs to develop solutions for cannabis retailers or dispensaries?

Absolutely! However, since many states still have yet to legalize recreational cannabis, compliance and regulation requirements will vary greatly. For this reason, it’s important that ISVs have access to local level support to help them with the development of their software applications and its compliances with local laws and regulations.

What are the top opportunities for ISVs in the cannabis market?

Overall, the new market itself provides an opportunity for any ISV in the cannabis market. However, on a more granular level, more specific opportunities can vary state by state. For example, Oregon legalized cannabis delivery. This is an opportunity for those in both the medical and recreational cannabis markets in Oregon.

Additionally, the ability to take payments by credit card will provide a substantial opportunity for ISVs in the cannabis market in the future. Credit card payments for the cannabis product are not legalized in all states. However, if an ISV’s software is equipped to handle credit card payments before its competitors’, it will certainly provide an edge over the competition.

What advice would you give to an ISV considering developing a solution for this industry?

Even though the cannabis market is unique, it is important to remember that it still belongs to the retail vertical. Technology solutions that are critical in retail will be advantageous in the cannabis market as well. For example, software for the cannabis market should provide solutions for tablet POS, online ordering, and delivery.

When developing software for the cannabis retail market, ISVs need a solid understanding of the rules and regulations of compliant cannabis software within the ISV’s state, as well as an understanding of what the general retail market needs. In this way, the ISV will deliver a compliant and versatile cannabis retail solution.

It’s also important to remember that any information provided to ISVs via online sources is solely for educational purposes and is not a legal substitute for legal counsel. 


Masahiro Mano works in business development at Star Micronics America, Inc., where he helps develops new vertical markets that are in need of mPOS, POS, or thermal printers, in retail and hospitality. Mano previously worked in Star Micronics Japan and managed new software solution projects which related to POS printing, including iOS/Android SDK, WebPRNT, PassPRNT and CloudPRNT. He helps cannabis software ISVs to choose the right POS peripherals and technologies with his wide-range of technical background, and deep understanding of the cannabis market and its growing needs. Mano currently resides in Chicago, and is a fan of playing basketball and collecting sneakers. To contact Mano, please email mmano@starmicronics.com and visit to http://www.starmicronics.com/ to learn about Star Micronics.