On the most popular retail holiday in the cannabis industry, Missouri dispensaries saw widespread outages for the second consecutive year. 

Numerous Missouri dispensaries experienced significant disruptions due to outages in their point-of-sale systems supplied by Dutchie during the 420 cannabis holiday, marking the second consecutive year of technical difficulties during one of the industry’s busiest days.

Despite a record-setting day for many Dutchie-powered dispensaries, with over 2 million transactions totaling $165 million nationwide, a 50% increase from last year, the POS provider acknowledged that a specific group of customers faced serious transaction issues. Chris Ostrowski, Chief Technology Officer of Dutchie, stated, “While Dutchie and our partners prepared extensively for this year’s 4/20, a group of customers local to a specific instance of our POS system experienced serious issues that impacted their ability to transact.”

Dutchie states that less than 20% of all customers experienced any performance issues. But for several Missouri operations, those disruptions were particularly severe.

Hippos Cannabis, one of the affected dispensaries, reported more than three hours of system downtime, from 11 am to 2:30 pm with systems returning to normal functionality around 6 pm. Each Hippos location went from selling around 500 units per hour to less than 100, the company revealed in a statement.

“As an emerging industry in Missouri, we rely on our vendors to provide us with services that will help us excel and grow. Last year being the first rec legal 420, we understood that Dutchie experienced some growing pains,” Nick Rinella, CEO of Hippos explained. “A full year later, with robust growth occurring over the past 12 months in Missouri, we are very disappointed that Dutchie failed us as a retail client, and as an emerging industry on the whole that relies on this day to be the largest sale day of the year.”

“Dutchie failed to give us any warning that this could happen, failed to pick up the phone to service our issues in real time, and has not issued any sort of apology even now… despite our significant financial loss of business during the many hours their system was down,” Rinella continued. “We are making adjustments to our tech stack to ensure customers at Hippos will continue to have a pleasant shopping experience in the future.”

Rachael Herndon of A Joint Operation echoed that sentiment. The Homestate dispensaries, managed by AJO, experienced outages and difficulties with Dutchie POS as well. Over a roughly 3-hour period no Homestate dispensary was able to process a single transaction, according to internal data.

“Unfortunately, outages are something we expect in this industry,” she said. “An industry this developed should be able to rely on experienced third-party vendors to meet the challenge. AJO prepares for disappointments such as software outages, but managing expectations does not make these recurring outages acceptable.”

While Dutchie faced criticism, the industry as a whole reported record-breaking sales nationally.

On the day before 420, Treez saw a 200% increase in customers, products, and gross sales, with continued high performance on 420 itself, showing a 120% increase compared to last year.

Additionally, data from Weedmaps reveals a trend towards branded cannabis products, with a notable increase in orders for brand-verified items during the 420 festivities.

On the day itself, 72% of items ordered through Weedmaps were brand-verified, a significant jump from 55% the previous year. The platform also recorded a 130% year-over-year increase in deal redemptions during the week of 420, highlighting consumer preference for discounts.

Interestingly, while spending levels remained consistent, the quantity of items per order saw an increase, with Weedmaps reporting a 7.4% increase in basket size from 2023, with the number of items per order on 4/20 rising by 38% compared to a typical day in 2024.

For Missouri dispensaries, the outage not only affected sales but also damaged customer relations, according to Rinella.  “420 generally serves to foster community enthusiasm and support around the plant’s legalization in Missouri. This frustrating guest experience—-waiting in line for hours to only be told the Point of Sale system is down—-has the opposite effect. It reflects poorly on the industry and on our dispensaries,” he stated.

“4/20 happens every year and Missourians deserve to celebrate their constitutional rights with the legal market,” Herndon declared.

For their part, Dutchie has pledged to continue investing in their systems to prevent future outages.

“Dutchie is committed to stability and will be continuing to invest heavily to provide a reliable platform for all customers,” Ostrowski stated.

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