Legal sales of cannabis in both recreational and medical markets in the US is projected to reach $43 billion by 2025. However, a lack of proper planning and implementation of compliance procedures and records can be potentially costly, if not a threat to the company’s future within the industry. Don’t let cannabis compliance become a moving target, partner with experienced industry professionals that can keep you ahead of regulators and prepared for inevitable audits or inspections.
Compliance within the legal cannabis market begins with ensuring that state laws and regulations surrounding access and purchase limits for these products are verified and continuously monitored with each client. To ensure these regulations are met, POS systems which can be integrated with state approved seed to sale software should be installed, and employees must be trained in the proper use of these tools.
Biotrack, a top rated seed-to-sale software for cannabis business compliance, cites the top compliance failures by cannabis businesses as: inventory management, purchase/visitor logs and records, packaging and labeling with the appropriate consumer warnings, and improperly installed surveillance systems.
Records of employee training and the appropriate handbook materials with company policies can go a long way to help keep staff accountable for following state policy and regulations. These policies include but are not limited to the appropriate language and terminology for retail sales, customer verification, zero tolerance workplace violence, social media use, sanitation and hygiene, emergency response, consumer complaints and recalls, as well as smoking and workplace substance abuse. Any area where an employee lacks knowledge regarding the state or federal laws or regulations is a potential risk to compliance which could result in fines, suspensions of operation, and even the loss of licensure.
Every model of cannabis business including retail dispensaries and deliveries, cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors must develop and implement careful Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These SOPs are necessary in order to comply with state and federal regulations surrounding fire code, security, OSHA, incident reporting, waste disposal, integrated pest management, facility sanitation and maintenance, third-party testing, chain of custody of products, and vendor verification to name only a few areas where inspectors may review records during an audit. These operations plans are to be developed according to GMP for manufacturing, GAP for cultivation, and GRP for retail operations, and standardized QAQC measures are to be integrated into the production process for consumer health and safety. These include protocols for recall, corrective action plans, product remediation, and problem mitigation strategies to reduce failed product tests, and guarantee product consistency.
SOPs are intended to be developed and put into place at the beginning of operations, often with part of this production plan already being documented within a business’s license application. However, for companies with already robust SOPs that may still be encountering production issues, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or HACCP training can help identify points where issues arise and help to suggest corrective action plans for mitigating problems before spending a fortune on failed product tests or issuing a costly recall.
The legal cannabis market evolves continuously with new technologies and strategies regularly emerging which improve operational efficiency. Having an expert review operating procedures with a careful focus on regulatory compliance, workflow, and process efficiency can net significant savings in terms of labor hours, net productivity, and unnecessary fees or interruptions to production.
Even businesses which have been successful in compliant operations for years can be caught off guard by unscheduled inspections or audits following legal disputes. Unfortunately, the incredible support the medical and recreational cannabis markets share nationwide has not been enough to insulate these businesses from frivolous lawsuits and shifting regulatory demands. It can be extremely valuable to operators of all scale and experience level, from industry veterans to new startups, to seek out a compliance review and instantiate a system of self-audits and in-house testing.
Partnering with experts experienced in working with inspectors, passing audits, and managing what can be unwieldy volumes of seed-to-sale market data and operations records can make this information a valuable tool for management oversight and problem prevention. Companies can greatly benefit from creating a secure platform which will not only assign tasks to the appropriate employee from their organization, but will also record the completion of these tasks maintaining a transparent record of carefully followed SOPs. Once completed according to established procedures, a secure login system can notify auditors that a facility is ready for inspection and records are ready for review. Stay ahead of regulators and pass inspections with high marks every time, securing your business’s continued success and profitability. Contact the compliance team at Cannaspire today!