By Garrett Rudolph
State regulations have established a limit of 334 licensed marijuana retailers in Washington. However, there could be 10 times that many producers and processors — or more — based on nearly 5,000 pending applications and no limitations on the number of those licenses that will be granted.
Imagine the chaos that could occur as wholesalers scramble to get their product on the shelves of cannabis stores.
Retailers could be bombarded by thousands of phone calls from producers and processors looking to sell their product. Keeping track of all those vendors and different ordering procedures could be a nightmare, said John Miles, founder of CannabisTracker.
Miles believes his product (www.cannabistracker.net) will be a solution to the confusion.
CannabisTracker is an online marketplace for the legal marijuana industry, connecting producers and processors with retailers in a simple, efficient manner with standardized order forms and personalized web storefronts for each vendor.
“Basically, we are a cross between Amazon, Facebook and Match.com for the cannabis industry,” Miles said.
Only marijuana industry professionals will have access to the password-protected online marketplace.
For retailers, the service will be completely free.
Producers and processors will pay a monthly subscription fee based on the number of products they choose to display.
Miles said he expects the CannabisTracker site to be fully operational by early May, giving all three sectors of the industry plenty of time to get their accounts set up before the first retail stores open.
“There definitely is a huge need for this,” Miles said. “CannabisTracker standardizes all the ordering, so you can order from a wide variety of vendors and still utilize a one-format ordering platform.”
Miles’ background is in inventory management, specifically in the health care industry, so he’s familiar with the need for standardization and a simplified ordering system.
“If you’re not easy to do business with, retailers are not going to order from you,” he said.
“It just isn’t plausible for a retailer to go to everybody’s individual website and deal with different formatting.”
Plus, CannabisTracker will give vendors the ability to create an online storefront — “like a mini website,” Miles said — with a logo, company profile, photos and information about the products and prices.
The digital storefronts are designed to be easy to set up, even for people who are not computer savvy, said Miles, whose company is based out of Olympia. Each business owner has full control over the content of their online profile and storefront. Producers and processors will easily be able to make changes to their online inventory or market new products and specials, Miles said.
“If they’ve got a varietal that’s out of stock, they can change that right away,” Miles said.
Other benefits include a simple shipping manifest of all orders, including documents to be carried by delivery drivers, and historical data of all transactions in order to comply with Washington State Liquor Control Board requirements.
Retailers can instantly access a secure record of all ordering activity.
The pricing for CannabisTracker is set up with five tiers for growers and processors of all different sizes and needs. Level 1 users can display up to five items, while the Level 5 users can display an unlimited number of products.