Compliance in the cannabis industry comes with more problems than it does in other industries. These include stringent licensing and certifications, detailed checklists, and out-of-the-blue check-ins.
And as the industry’s laws and regulations continue to evolve, players in the cannabis supply chain must take extra steps to ensure they remain compliant. Otherwise, they could face serious consequences. These include hefty fines, license revocation, or even criminal prosecution.
Below are tips to help you stay abreast of the ever-changing cannabis regulatory topography and foster strong compliance in your cannabis business.
Stay Abreast of State and Local Regulations
Cannabis regulations are in a state of constant flux. This means you have no option but to stay updated on the latest regulatory measures. One way to do so is to check new industry and governmental sources.
You can bookmark these digital sources and browse them regularly. The good thing is that they are free of hard-to-understand legal jargon. So you won’t have a hard time reading them.
Examples of reputable sources for cannabis industry news include:
- Cannabiz-Industry reports
- Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website-cannabis policy updates
Another way you can stay updated on state and local marijuana laws is to build rapport with your local regulators. When you have a cordial relationship with the regulators, they can inform you about new forthcoming regulations within the industry. They can also help you understand how to follow these regulations. Doing so will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Part of the cannabis industry regulations stipulates that you should perform seed-to-sale tracking. The efforts aim to end unlawful cannabis sales and black market sales.
Seed to Sale Software
Seed-to-sale tracking involves tracking the lifespan of every cannabis product, from cultivation to sale. Investing in seed-to-sale tracking system can help prevent compliance issues with the regulators.
Similarly, there are limits on the quantity of cannabis a consumer can purchase from a cannabis dispensary. These limits differ from one state or territory to another. They serve to reduce the diversion of weed products into the black market.
If your cannabis dispensary does not follow these laws, you may be guilty of compliance violations. To avoid manual tracking of purchasing limits, you can use POS software to get transaction limit alerts. When a transaction exceeds the purchase limit, the POS system flags for review.
Building a strong compliance culture can do your dispensary a world of good. This is especially true if you consider ever-changing cannabis regulations. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) can help you achieve that. SOPs are a set of internal policies that your dispensary staff needs to follow. They help to keep your business operations in the good books of regulators. So you should create the best protocols in all aspects of your dispensary operations.
That being said, it is essential to document your SOPs in writing. Consider having a staff handbook on various areas of operations. These include seed-to-sale tracking, bookkeeping, ID verification, and tax preparation. Make the handbook guide readily available to your staff to reduce confusion. This will make it easier for new employees to become familiar with best practices in the shortest time possible.
You should also hold a series of staff compliance training. The training sessions can help reinforce your standard operating procedures in different areas. It may also help bring your dispensary staff up to speed on any new industry regulations.
Perform Routine Audits
You don’t have to wait for regulators to flag a problem in your dispensary operations. The cannabis industry has many inherent liability issues that require foresight on your part.
You can hire the services of an independent accounting team to review your cannabis dispensary operations. Auditors are independent and are not affiliated with any organization. They can provide an impartial assessment of your cannabis business. They can also highlight problematic areas that need urgent improvement.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider self-auditing your cannabis business. You can assess compliance with the stipulated processes for growing, processing, storing, selling, and transporting marijuana. These routine compliance audits can help your dispensary staff adopt proper business practices ahead of a call or impromptu visit from the regulators.
Employ a Compliance Manager
Given the inherent compliance issues associated with the cannabis industry, you need a dedicated employee to help you tackle these issues. This employee manages all your dispensary’s compliance-related matters.
The role of a compliance manager is to create, implement, and appraise your standard operating procedures. This ensures that you comply with the current compliance regulations. If any changes arise in policy regulations in your jurisdiction, your compliance manager will act accordingly. They will enforce those recent changes to keep your business compliant.
Also, writing internal operating policies in handbooks for your dispensary staff may not be enough. So it would be best if you had someone to ensure your employees abide by the guidelines. And a compliance manager does this exceptionally well.
By roping in a compliance manager, you can focus on other aspects of your business without worrying about compliance issues.
The Bottom Line
The rapid growth of the cannabis industry may bring better tidings to canna-businesses. But it may also add to the risks involved. So it only makes sense for cannabis businesses to prioritize compliance. This helps you avoid setting off compliance alarms.
To achieve this, you need to automate your compliance process. This entails using POS and seed-to-sale tracking systems. Other measures include reading cannabis industry news regularly, formulating SOPs, performing audits, and hiring a compliance manager. You can also hold regular compliance training for your staff. Doing so ensures that your employees are up to speed on the newest cannabis regulations.
Besides staying out of trouble with the regulators, compliance also boosts your company’s image and reputation. Cannabis consumers prefer to buy cannabis consumables from a regulation-compliant dispensary. So aligning your business operations with the stipulated industry guidelines will bring in more customers, thus adding to your bottom line.