In Pictures: High tech for high times. What it takes to run a medical marijuana business

In some ways, getting into the legal marijuana industry is a lot like launching any small business. You need capital. You need grow lights. You need Febreze. And you need technology -- which turns out to be the easy part.

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Retail space Any small retail shop can be converted into a cannabis store, though you may be asked to pay triple the normal rent, says one dispensary owner who asked to remain nameless. You'll need scales, cash registers, display cases for your wares, and employees (known as 'budtenders') to guide customers through the process. But the most important ware is the software you use to run the business. Denver Relief uses MJ Freeway, a Web-based inventory and point-of-sale package designed specifically for the legal cannabis industry. Using bar codes, it can track every plant from seed to sale along the entire chain of custody – keeping stores in compliance with regulations designed to ensure no product goes missing, notes MJ Freeway co-founder Jessica Billingsley.

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