Blazing the Trail: Star Micronics Leads the Charge in Cannabis POS Technology

The nation’s cannabis industry is continuously expanding. With another round of proposals for new state markets to be voted on throughout the year, the demand for cannabis products is slated to increase exponentially.

This means the retail space is gearing up to be well-stocked, dynamic, and busier than ever – and dispensaries will be looking for a new level of solutions to streamline productivity and optimal success.

Star Micronics has acted as a reliable point-of-sale (POS) solution for a variety of U.S. industries since 1976. As an iconic and innovative leader in the cannabis industry, Star is well-poised to support this evolution.

Leafwire sat down with Channel Partner Executive Christine Stima – who has 25 years of experience with Star Micronics – to discuss the company’s formation, its original foray into cannabis, and the latest from Star Micronics when it comes to cannabis POS metamorphoses. 

Leafwire: How was Star Micronics originally founded?

Christine Stima: The company was founded as an electronics company in 1976. Receipt printers were just emerging, and once we entered the space, we fell right into the POS industry with our impact printers. Then, we gradually merged to offer both impact and thermal receipt printers.

Over the past decade, we’ve added cash drawers, scales, barcode scanners, POS stands, and tablet enclosures to our offerings. We’ve encompassed a full suite of solutions for POS systems, which sets us apart from competitors just offering printers. 

LW: How did you enter cannabis from there?

CS: It all started with a leaf on the TSP100 Eco: our eco-friendly printer. It has an ENERGY STAR on it to signify its eco-friendly status (it’s made entirely of recycled plastics). That logo, which is a green leaf, allowed us to fall into the medical cannabis industry.

We got one software partner from the cannabis industry about 15 years ago, and they were our only partner in the industry for many years. But as the industry grew, so did our printer sales, and that leaf logo became almost a standard for cannabis operators.

The TSP100 is still widely used among canna-businesses. Everyone recognizes its reliability and quality, and the notoriety of Star Micronics in the cannabis industry just kept going.

LW: How did you transition from the medical industry to adult-use? Did it just sort of naturally happen as the industry began to grow and expand? 

CS: Well, it was an easy transition because most dispensaries use tablets with their POS systems, and we’re one of the first printer companies to work with iOS and Mac drivers. Years ago, most people just used Windows drivers, but Star took the initiative to begin offering Mac – and then when iPads and iPhones came out, we upgraded to iOS drivers. 

Also, the cannabis industry was a cash-only industry at the time. Since many dispensaries still only accept cash payments, we evolved our product line to include various cash drawers.

Dispensaries also weigh a lot of items for sale, so we evolved even further to offer POS scales. We have two types of POS scales: precision scales, which are more for determining the weight of cannabis itself, and larger-capacity scales, which are great for edible bakery items and weighing items in bulk. 

Our scales offer Bluetooth communication as well – so if you have a tablet, you don’t have to connect any wires to connect the tablet to the scale. 

It’s definitely been a natural progression for us to move more into the recreational space.

LW: What sector of the industry do you service?

CS: We’re present in all aspects of cannabis. The majority of our partners are retail, but we’ve interacted with seed-to-sale, and we’re also deeply involved in the cannabis delivery space.

LW:  How do you think your services have innovated the industry? 

CS: We employ an integration team to help any new software company that comes to Star, and that team strives for perfection. We offer free equipment demos and work with software companies until they succeed. Our integration department is key for us because of the personalized, highly-technological services they offer. 

LW: What is on the horizon for Star Micronics?

CS: We just released some new POS hardware products, including scales, barcode scanners, and tablet enclosures, but we have much more coming down the pipeline, so stay tuned!

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