Ask a Stoner: Why Have Dispensaries Been So Slow Lately?

MJ Freeway got hacked.EXPAND
MJ Freeway got hacked.
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Dear Stoner: I heard that dispensaries have been slow all over the country because of some hack in their sales systems. Like, all of them. Why are they so unorganized?
Malcolm

Dear Malcolm: An industry representative recently told me that at least three-quarters of Denver dispensaries use pot-tech company MJ Freeway as a point-of-sale system, and stores in other states where rec sales are legal use it too. If it gets hacked, as it was earlier this month, budtenders and managers are forced to document sales on paper, which makes transactions take longer and lines move more slowly.

The issue isn’t the industry, though — it’s prohibition. Dispensaries are forced to partner with POS systems like MJ Freeway because of pot’s legal status. Banks are afraid to serve cannabis companies out of fear of retribution from the feds, so a vast majority of shops are cash-only. Companies such as MJ Freeway were smart enough to start POS systems specific to dispensaries, but they might be less capable than their highly funded and secure counterparts at bars, restaurants, and retail shops. Pot shops are doing the best they can with what they have. Employees had to re-enter nearly two weeks’ worth of sales into their computers once MJ Freeway was back up, so have some sympathy.

Dear Stoner: I’ve been seeing a lot of strains with no information about them online. Are stores just making up names now, or are these really rare hybrids?
Skeptik

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Dear Skeptik: Unless you have access to strains behind the scenes, it’s tough to tell. But consumer knowledge is growing by the day, and just slapping a new name on a jar of shitty weed won't fool buyers much longer.  If you’re worried about getting duped, though, there are a few indicators.

First, ask if the store grows its own flower. If it does, cross-breeding is more likely, because growers have proprietary access to seeds and clones for experimenting. The growers could also be evolving phenotypes of singular strains, such as Key Lime Pie, which descended from Girl Scout Cookies. Asking about a strain’s genetics can help, especially if the budtender has some special knowledge of it (true pride is hard to fake). Finally, inspect the flower: If it’s covered in trichomes and smells amazing, does the name really matter?

Have a question for the Stoner? Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.


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