Though widespread cannabis legalization began more than a decade ago, in many ways, it still feels like uncharted territory. Cannabis is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the United States, and also one of the fastest growing, valued at approximately $13.2 billion in 2022.
For many entrepreneurs, the fear of complex cannabis business regulations is seen as both a significant risk and a barrier to entry. Despite the ever-changing landscape of cannabis compliance, adhering to the laws specific to your state does not have to be overwhelming.
Simplify Your Cannabis Compliance Management
Simplifya is the leading and longest-running regulatory and operational compliance software company in the cannabis industry. Our experts understand the technical details of cannabis compliance in the majority of states that have legalized cannabis sales, but we also recognize that there are some general concepts and overarching themes that can lead you to much smoother cannabis compliance management. These are some of the guiding principles for the solutions we have created. Here are four ways to simplify your cannabis compliance management.
Self-Audit with Confidence
How many times have you gone to the grocery store and picked up everything you needed except that one thing because it was not on your list?
When it comes to cannabis compliance, that one forgotten item could result in costly fines or even the loss of your license. One of the most confusing aspects of cannabis compliance is understanding the regulations that apply to your business type. Because cannabis is not federally legal, each state also has its own governing body and set of rules. The more you can automate your self-audit process so that you can quickly check all the boxes and make sure everything you need is there, the more success you will have in meeting all regulatory requirements for your cannabis business.
1. Maintain Standard Operating Procedures
If you were not there watching, would everyone know how to meet all procedural requirements?
There is something to be said for repetition. Establishing and maintaining standard operating procedures (SOPs) ensures that your business is adhering to best practices in a way that is efficient and repeatable for the size and scope of your business.
SOPs keep you and your team from missing important steps that can lead to falling out of compliance by minimizing variables. Maintaining standard procedures is a key element for acquiring and maintaining most cannabis business licenses.
2. Set Important Reminders
Have you ever forgotten to pay a bill, like rent or a vehicle payment? You were probably hit with late fees and the threat of much worse.
License renewals are a standard part of owning any business, but meeting deadlines becomes increasingly important when the number of licenses available is limited. Most states have opted to limit the number of cannabis business licenses available, which means that if you let your licenses lapse, someone may be waiting to fill your spot.
Track all of your cannabis business licenses in one single location with strategic reminders set up to notify you, your cannabis compliance manager, and other relevant parties of looming license renewal deadlines.
3. Organization is Everything
Do you know that feeling of being in a huge rush out the door to make an important meeting, you are already running late, and you can’t seem to find your car keys anywhere?
Putting things where they are supposed to go is an underrated aspect of cannabis compliance. When the state comes to check your documentation, you don’t want to be checking your coat pockets for vital information that could make or break whether your cannabis business is deemed compliant. Storing all of your important documentation in a single location can eliminate the worry and stress that comes with making sure every note is accounted for.
Recent Examples of Cannabis Compliance Violations and Lawsuits
It is important to understand that you cannot sweep cannabis compliance violations under the rug. The industry is too new and closely monitored to allow for any variances. Between January 2020 and April 2022, New Jersey recorded 50 violations across seven cannabis businesses. That may seem like quite a few, but in comparison, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency imposed 20 disciplinary actions in the form of fines or suspensions for cannabis businesses just in April of 2023.
It is important to understand the regulations for your specific state and business type. Here are some examples of recent, newsworthy violations that have resulted in costly fines, license suspension, or lawsuits.
- Vermont – Marijuana containing a pesticide not approved for cannabis in the state was recalled after causing side effects such as headaches and nausea. Not all products were properly tested and registered.
- Minnesota – Three cannabis manufacturers are being sued for violating state regulations that limit the amount of THC that can be in a single product and using advertisements modeled after children’s candy.
- California – A consumer in Santa Ana has filed a lawsuit against a dispensary for failing to ensure their website is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Massachusetts – A cannabis manufacturer was sighted with Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) violations after failing to conduct a hazard analysis which ultimately led to the death of an employee.
- Washington – The business license was suspended for a cannabis producer and processor and approximately 5,000 plants were seized. The business was found in violation of marijuana tracking regulations.
Getting hit with a cannabis compliance violation can be a nuisance, or it can be absolutely crippling. There is no reason to take a chance and risk making a costly mistake.
Cannabis Compliance Management Made Simple
Whether you are a small start-up with just a few owners and employees or a large, established corporation with a dedicated compliance manager, you will never regret simplifying your cannabis compliance management system.
The team at Simplifya is dedicated to creating programs to help you navigate the complex cannabis regulatory system in your state so that you can breathe easier, knowing you have checked all the boxes. Our user-friendly software solutions are designed to maximize efficiency and minimize risk. All of our tools are scalable and can be customized to fit the individual needs of your business. Contact us to schedule a demo.