2024 Cannabis Outlook for VARs & ISVs

The RSPA Cannabis Community helps members meet and network with others interested in the cannabis vertical and fosters business development opportunities for RSPA members, all in a vendor-neutral atmosphere. The community has grown to over 200 members ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to SMB VARs and software developers.

To join or sponsor the RSPA Cannabis Community, email Membership@GoRSPA.org.

By: Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA

At the first 2024 meeting of the RSPA Cannabis Community, members discussed what’s around the corner for the cannabis IT channel and what actions VARs and ISVs can take. 

  • AI is creeping its way into cannabis. People are building models that will allow them to reach out to clients and provide inventory alerts when restocking is needed. Essentially, they’re using data to provide an improved customer service experience.
  • Overall, I have an optimistic and positive outlook on where the industry is going. We’re seeing restaurants start to offer cannabis-infused meals on their menus in California.
  • I think it’s our job to help educate and help put solutions together to really cater to the merchants who are struggling in the legal states because if they struggle, they set a bad precedent for the other states looking at them.
  • We are seeing somewhat of a fall out of a lot of companies that thought they could jump into the market to make quick and easy money.
  • We’re seeing other companies establish some staying power. I think we see the same thing in retail and hospitality. Those ISVs come in and they don’t last, or they get acquired.
  • We’re seeing that same trend in the cannabis space where we’re seeing some retail guys are saying, “Well I can do cannabis” but really they can’t. So, they just end up staying in their wheelhouse of retail or hospitality.
  • ISVs that already have a presence in cannabis are looking at adding delivery and e-commerce features into their software.
  • We are definitely seeing deeper and wider offerings from the current ISVs in the market.
  • The ones that do cannabis well, they’re sticking to their guns and weathering the storm. And while you’re weathering it, you should be proactive and invest in different marketing initiatives and shows. This is where you gain market share.
  • While we’re sticking to our guns from a cannabis perspective, we see our ISVs taking us into the medical space where they have cannabis check-in solutions or self-service solutions for customer delivery and easy pickup.
  • I’ve spent a good bit of time with the folks involved in rescheduling cannabis including lobbying groups and law firms. Do big banks jump in if we reschedule cannabis to Schedule 3?
  • It’s really hard to say what big banks are going to do. Nobody really wants to put their rubber stamp on it. They want to push it all over to the FDA.
  • There are at least 44 states that have a recreational and medical status for marijuana. I don’t think Schedule 3 is really going to move the needle much.
  • The politicos are saying they don’t think these schedules will adjust anytime soon. My sources tell me even though we have the votes in the Senate now and it’s not going to pass in an election year.
  • Most folks that I’ve talked to have said that rescheduling will fuel more conversation in their own halls of what they’re going to do, descheduling even more.