Ohio has legalized recreational cannabis. Click HERE to learn more about cannabis business opportunities in Ohio.

Cannabis Operational Readiness


Congratulations! You have successfully won your cannabis business license. But what now? At this stage, as you get ready to get your doors open, the focus will be cannabis operational readiness. 

Let’s start by discussing your next best moves to ensure success in your cannabis business. A common challenge that delays launch day and adds unanticipated costs is not having a well-thought-out operational readiness plan for transitioning from getting licensed to running a business.

Startups and all licensed cannabis operators must plan for operational preparedness so that, once the business starts operating, they can concentrate on revenue generation. Due to contradictory state and federal regulations and new or inadequate regulatory structures, starting a cannabis company presents particular hurdles. We developed this cannabis business readiness guide to help you better understand these obstacles and offer you the knowledge and tools to get started!

What is Cannabis Operational Readiness?

Cannabis operational readiness is the preparation of any cannabis business, including dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers, for launch. Cannabis operational readiness improves operational effectiveness by identifying and implementing best practices, benchmarking against peers, and tracking progress over time.

Operational readiness is important because it allows businesses to perform at their highest level. When operation-ready, businesses can increase productivity and efficiency, reduce costs and waste, improve customer experience, and more. 

Cannabis Operational Readiness Critical Stages 

You must take crucial steps to make your vision a reality once you have obtained your license.

From License to Inspection

Once you have received your license from the state, it’s time to get ready for your inspection. There are many things to consider and prepare including:

Assess your cannabis business facility – Verify there are no compliance or operational concerns ahead of the initial inspection. Develop an action plan based on your assessment results and understand what steps need to be taken to address any identified issues. Implement your action plan so you can correct any noncompliance before the inspection.

Hiring key personnel – Your employees make up a big part of your business, and their knowledge, skills, and attitudes can affect your bottom line. You need a good mix of experience levels and personalities to succeed as a company.

Getting project and vendor management up and running – Project management refers to managing projects from start to finish, so they are completed on time and within budget. Vendor management refers to selecting vendors capable of providing goods or services that meet your company’s standards for quality control, cost-effectiveness, and other factors that may be important to your organization.

Inspection to Open for Business

In addition to devoting time, effort, and resources to the idea, layout, licensing procedure, security, and overall launch of the company, starting a legal cannabis operation requires endurance and unwavering devotion to see it through. Every stage, process, and company process—whether a soft or hard opening day—is essential to the company’s ongoing success as it navigates the regulated cannabis industry.

After passing the inspection phase, be prepared to start selling, cultivating, producing, or conducting tests. This comprises:

Point-of-sale system – Ensure your systems are up and running properly before opening. If you’re using a POS system, test it thoroughly and make sure it is compatible with your computer system. Make sure the software is configured correctly and the devices it interacts with (such as credit card readers) are in good working order. 

Equipment inspections and final checks – This is an excellent time to ensure your equipment is working correctly. If you have doubts about the safety or functionality of your equipment, now is the time to fix those issues before opening for business.

Standard Operating Procedures – SOPs are essential for any business owner to have in place from day one. Having SOPs in place will help make sure that all employees are on the same page regarding operating procedures and policies within your business. It will also help prevent confusion or miscommunication among your staff when dealing with customers or other employees.

Employee handbooks and training – Employee handbooks and training help ensure that employees can do their jobs correctly and safely, which helps reduce liability for you as an owner and operator. Training staff on operating the business, including operating procedures for any equipment used in cultivation or production. Staff should also be trained to handle customers, interact with other employees, and respond to emergencies.

Open for Business to Growth

The opening is just a step in a long and hopefully successful business journey. Now that you’ve made it this far, get ready to take on the challenge of scaling up your business and growing it. Well run canna-businesses will have a strong foundation set up to not only be operationally ready but ensure readiness as they grow.

This can include conducting audits of your company on a regular or semiannual basis, and teaching your personnel to be able to audit the company on their own going forward. Thanks to this approach, you will be able to see any faults before they become an issue.

Operational Readiness for Cannabis Business Types

The following are examples of some types of cannabis businesses, along with the measures needed to be operation-ready:


  • Hiring key personnel (General Manager, Manager, Budtenders, etc.)
  • Organizing employee plans
  • Setting up POS systems
  • Overseeing build-out
  • Conducting vendor management


  • Hiring key staff (Master Cultivator, Trimmers, etc.)
  • Setting up seed-to-sale software
  • Overseeing cultivation build-out
  • Managing vendors

Process Manufacturing

  • Hiring key individuals
  • Overseeing manufacturing build-out
  • Conducting vendor management
  • Setting up seed-to-sale

Testing Lab

  • Hiring key individuals
  • Monitoring of the laboratory build-out
  • Undertaking vendor management
  • Setting up seed-to-sale 

Cannabis Business Security

In addition to the steps outlined above, verifying the security of your cannabis business is a crucial step. Cannabis is a highly regulated and risky industry. The industry is susceptible to security breaches, theft, and loss. As a cannabis business, you must have all the knowledge and resources to protect your assets and employees.

Threat Assessment

The process of conducting a threat assessment entails determining and analyzing the potential dangers that might harm the company. Cyberattacks, fraud concerns, and noncompliance with laws and regulations at the local and federal levels are just a few examples of potential threats.

Vulnerabilities Assessment

A vulnerability analysis aims to identify compromise methods by correlating assets with threats. Analyze the existing security program to locate operational, physical, and procedural faults and suitable remedies to limit the occurrence of adverse incidents.

Mitigation Assessment Report

Create a thorough report outlining the assessment results as well as suggestions. The information will contain a review of all security measures, how well they were implemented, and give suggestions on strengthening the controls and processes already in place.

Final Thoughts

As the industry further establishes itself as a viable and highly lucrative investment opportunity, the need for best practices and procedures will supersede any issues encountered throughout the transition. We hope that the above content supersedes and assists in preparing any individual or entity looking to forge a place for themselves within the cannabis industry.

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