Cannabis on the Go: A Guide to Drive-Thru Dispensaries

Two-day Amazon Prime shipping. Pre-paid order pickup. Food delivery. Our world has been optimized for convenience across the board, and cannabis is starting to catch up. More and more states are allowing marijuana dispensaries to offer drive-thru ordering. 

Drive-thru States

Take a drive through any of these states and you may spot a drive-thru dispensary. Updated June 2023.

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Benefits of Dispensary Drive-Thrus

Offering various shopping options and experiences makes your store appeal to a broader audience, but it also gives added benefits to your day-to-day dispensary operations. 

1. Capacity Management

With Dispense’s Drive-Through feature, dispensaries set time slots so customers can select a window that works best for them. Customers simply place their order online and choose a time to stop by your store. Using pickup times ensures your cannabis drive-thru window doesn't get overloaded. Additionally, drive-thrus can reduce wait times and increase your order fulfillment efficiency.

cannabis drive thru

2. Reduce Operational Costs

Implementing a drive-thru system will help streamline your dispensary activities. All orders are easily managed through an ecommerce system, like Dispense, and budtenders receive an alert when a customer arrives in their car. Your store may be able to operate with fewer staff members on the floor, thus minimizing labor costs.

cannabis drive thru order management

3. Improved Customer Experience

The fast, friendly, and streamlined service of drive-thrus offers convenience and ease that delights shoppers and can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction. And happy customers talk, meaning your dispensary could easily benefit from positive word-of-mouth and repeat business. 

cannabis dispensary

4. Accessibility 

Naturally, drive-thru dispensaries took off nationwide during the 2020 pandemic. But the low-contact benefits amidst COVID-19 proved to be more than just convenient. Drive-thru offerings promote accessibility for customers who are elderly or disabled. It eliminates the need for them to navigate through the store, potentially encountering physical barriers or overcrowding. With drive-thrus, dispensaries can provide a more inclusive experience and ensure that everyone has equal access to their cannabis products.

marijuana drive thru

5. Privacy

Drive-thrus promote a discreet and private shopping experience. Many individuals still feel a social stigma surrounding cannabis use and prefer to keep their purchases confidential. Drive-thru ordering provides a level of privacy that traditional in-store experiences may not offer. Customers can feel more comfortable and at ease as they make their selections without any concerns about being seen or judged by others.

How to Implement a Cannabis Drive Thru

Here are some key steps to take when setting up a drive-thru for your dispensary:

Compliance and Regulations

Before implementing a drive-thru, it's crucial to thoroughly research and understand the local regulations and compliance requirements related to cannabis sales and drive-thru operations. Dispensary drive thrus are only legal in certain states. Consult with legal experts who specialize in the cannabis industry to ensure your drive-thru complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

Location and Infrastructure

Choose a location that is suitable for a drive-thru setup. Consider factors such as accessibility, traffic flow, and available space. Evaluate the existing infrastructure to determine if modifications or additions are needed to accommodate the drive-thru, such as constructing a separate drive-thru lane, installing menu boards, and creating designated pickup areas.

Workflow Design

Design an efficient workflow that optimizes the drive-thru process. Consider factors such as order placement, payment processing, and product fulfillment. Implement a user-friendly ordering system that allows customers to easily browse and select products, specify quantities, and provide necessary identification and payment details.

Staff Training

Provide comprehensive training to your dispensary staff on how to efficiently operate the drive-thru. Train them on customer service, order accuracy, and handling transactions. Emphasize the importance of maintaining compliance, ensuring product quality, and prioritizing customer satisfaction during the drive-thru experience.

Technology Integration

Leverage technology to streamline the drive-thru process. Implement a robust point-of-sale (POS) system that integrates seamlessly with your drive-thru operations. This includes features such as online ordering, digital menu boards, payment processing, and inventory management to ensure accurate and efficient order fulfillment.

Security Measures

Prioritize security to protect both customers and staff. Implement video surveillance systems to monitor the drive-thru area and deter potential criminal activities. Ensure adequate lighting and visibility for the safety of everyone involved. Implement strict identification verification procedures to prevent unauthorized purchases or access to cannabis products.

Marketing and Promotion

Once your drive-thru is operational, promote it to attract customers. Utilize various marketing channels to create awareness and highlight the convenience and benefits of your drive-thru service. Engage with the local community, advertise through social media platforms, and consider offering exclusive promotions or discounts for drive-thru orders to incentivize customers.

Remember, ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement are essential for a successful drive-thru operation. Collect feedback from customers, analyze data, and make adjustments as needed to optimize the drive-thru experience and meet customer expectations. By carefully implementing a dispensary drive-thru, you can provide convenience, privacy, and accessibility to your customers while boosting your dispensary's overall success.

Dispense Team

Dispense is ecommerce software for cannabis dispensaries. We give dispensaries the tools they need to list and sell products on their own website, leverage their menus and data to drive SEO traffic, build direct relationships with their customers, and scale their businesses.

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