8 new Simplifya features you might have missed

/ New Features, TechnologyLeave a Comment

We pride ourselves on moving fast here at Simplifya, and sometimes we move so fast it becomes easy to miss a new bit of functionality here, a new and improved interface there. That’s why we’re circling back to make sure you saw some of the biggest new Simplifya features and improvements from the last few months.

1. In-app user notifications

We know everyone loves to switch between email notifications and Simplifya when looking through their assigned tasks. But you deserve more than that. All users now have real-time notifications in their top nav that can be accessed from any page in Simplifya. Click a notification and go to the relevant page, and you never have to leave…

 

2. Revamped SOP Permissions

A big quality of life improvement and an even larger headache reliever, we’re giving you more flexibility with user permissions. Now, you have the ability to control the actions a role (Employee, Manager) or user is allowed to take, AND the ability to choose which SOPs are visible to users.

We started with SOPs (both on a per-user and a per-role basis), and will be rolling out across other modules of the app soon.

 

3. New Smart Cabinet interface

Smart Cabinet is undoubtedly one of Simplifya’s most valuable tools, which is why we undertook a big overhaul recently. With a new user interface and the introduction of Applied Periods, document retention just got a whole new meaning. And you get an easy way to visualize documents you’ve uploaded. Check it out!

 

4. Non-cannabis audit content

As our content expands to cover more and more places in the world, we’ve decided to branch out to regulations beyond cannabis content. In California for example, facilities must be inspected not only for compliance with cannabis regulations, but also the highly intertwined fish and wildlife regulations. And so comes the introduction of non-cannabis audit content, starting with California.

Disclaimer: We’re carefully selecting the non-cannabis regulations to add to Simplifya because of course, we have to draw the line somewhere, right?

5. Rich text formatting

Ever thought the formatting of audits or SOPs could be better? We did too. In order to make our content look as good as our Regulatory Affairs team (the wizards behind the curtain), we needed a way to call attention to textual information. So now, throughout the entirety of the app, text fields use a Rich Text Editor. The power is in your hands to create:

  • Lists!
  • Bold text
  • Italics
  • Underlined text
  • And much more!

 

6. Oversight Portal

Meet the Oversight Portal. A way for an MJB to allow an outside company to “oversee” its compliance. Whether that is for the purpose of passing financial documents, sharing important underwriting applications or just overseeing license expirations, you’re covered. We created Oversight Portal as a way for an Ancillary Company (or an MJB who does consulting) to oversee specific MJB licenses and the documents that pertain to those licenses.

 

7. Mark SOP Tasks as “Best Practice”

We are sure you noticed that, when completing SOP tasks, ones without citations were being tagged as Best Practice. However, this is not always a clear representation of which SOP tasks should be considered a best practice. Now, all SOP tasks are able to be marked (and of course unmarked) as a Best Practice by our team and yours.

8. Add multiple Administrators

You asked. We listened. We know that sometimes your one Administrator is not the person who needs to have autonomy over your compliance. Now the existing Administrator can add as many other Administrators as they’d like.

Check back in soon for the next batch of new Simplifya features or get started with a demo.

Tips to help protect you from a federal cannabis crackdown

/ Cannabis Law, ComplianceLeave a Comment

Cannabis crackdown in Colorado may be sooner than you think.

The U.S. Attorney for Colorado, Bob Troyer, telegraphed his intention to scrutinize state-licensed cannabis operations in recent interviews with the Associated Press (AP) and Denver Post. The October 4 AP interview clearly warns Colorado licensees that they are in Troyer’s crosshairs:

“If somebody is licensed by this state, should they feel at increased risk of federal prosecution now?” Troyer said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Yes. They should. We do a public safety analysis, not an analysis of whether someone has a piece of paper from the state.”

US Attorney of CO, Bob Troyer, sends ominous message to stores of an impending cannabis crackdown on regulations.

U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, District Of Colorado

Of course, federal prosecution against marijuana infractions is nothing new. Ever since Colorado and others started to make the sale and use of marijuana legal at the state level, federal authorities generally pursued cases against black market cannabis operations that are out of compliance with state regulations. Troyer’s predecessor followed such a course, which helped to create a thriving legal market for cannabis sellers and users in Colorado.

The state’s licensed cannabis businesses can no longer count on such an approach from federal prosecutors. In particular, Troyer promises to investigate licensees marijuana disposal records, according to the AP. He also wants to ensure dispensaries refrain from any vaping devices that may appeal to people younger than 21.

A broader federal crackdown against other business activities by state licensees may be at hand. Troyer told the AP: “You can do plenty of harm to the community and still be in compliance with state law because those laws have a lot of loopholes and they’re very permissive.”

Simplifya’s tips to prevent a cannabis crackdown

Troyer’s public statements make it evident that Colorado’s licensed marijuana businesses need to take extraordinary steps to avoid costly federal prosecution. What can you do to protect your business, employees, and customers?

First, we strongly suggest you follow Colorado’s regulations exactly as they are written. The regulations may be confusing at times, but Simplifya makes it easy for you to know where you stand from a compliance standpoint. To see how easy Simplifya makes complicated compliance matters, get a demo!

We have content to ensure your packages, labels, advertisements, required filings, track-and-trace entries, security, inventory requirements, and logistics meet the state’s standards. Better yet, we provide you with simple, plain-English steps to take if our system determines you are out of compliance with any state regulations.

In addition, you also need to avoid any action that may harm the community. For instance, you should always alert local law enforcement when anyone loiters on your premises. You should also go a step further and work to develop positive relationships with your local law enforcement officers by looking for ways to cooperate.

Sometimes, your local officers may view legal cannabis operations as more of a nuisance and not a community benefit. If that’s the case, there are other concrete steps you can take to avoid federal scrutiny:

  • Avoid selling any technically compliant products that could be loosely characterized as attractive to children;
  • Never give medical advice to your patients or customers;
  • Always log each sale you make to every customer and take extra care not to exceed daily limits to individual customers;
  • Dispose of any products that don’t follow package and labeling requirements; and
  • Follow required waste disposal procedures and procure product from licensed cultivators and manufacturers.

If you’re left with more questions than answers, you’re not alone. Which is why we’re here to help you on your compliance journey. Our promise is to make it as easy as we can for you. See what we can do you for you today by signing up for a demo today!

Colorado’s top cannabis regulator reveals his insight into the industry

/ Cannabis Law, ComplianceLeave a Comment

Insight into Cannabis Regulators and compliance within the industry

Link to full interview here

In order to be successful, cannabis companies must traverse a patchwork of state and local regulations while also remaining competitive in a steadily growing marketplace. They frequently have to make complex business decisions, often aimed at achieving compliance while minimizing disruption to their optimal operating procedures. One of the many factors to consider when making these high-stakes decisions is the perspective of the regulators.

Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division Director Jim Burack recently offered some useful insights in a recent interview with Westword. Although he played his cards close to his vest, withholding specifics in response to some interesting questions, he offers a valuable glimpse into how cannabis regulators view their jobs, stakeholders, and the industry.

This is New for Regulators Too

“In 2012, one initial reaction I had was knowing it would be a challenging transition for multiple stakeholders in the criminal justice system.”

“Today’s framework in Colorado is more complicated, given the legalization of both medical and retail marijuana and the criminal and administrative laws addressing both the regulated and illicit marijuana markets. The once-clear distinctions are now more complicated.”

Most cannabis regulators come from two backgrounds: law enforcement and public health. These groups have not traditionally been aligned with marijuana policy reform efforts or the cannabis industry, but their buy-in is critical for the legalization to succeed and the industry to flourish.

Burack’s comments highlight the shift in how law enforcement engages on cannabis-related matters. Specifically, he mentions the challenges stakeholders are facing with the changing social landscape and the transition from a prohibition-based model to one in which marijuana is legal for adults and/or medical patients. For most of their careers, these folks worked to make marijuana as unavailable and undesirable as possible, so it is quite a jump for them to now be facilitating a system of cannabis production and sales.

It is critical for cannabis industry members to understand these regulators’ perspectives and challenges so that they can build relationships that will allow them to resolve compliance issues amicably rather than confrontationally.

Pace of Change

“For example, some topics that we’re paying close attention to include: hemp, vaping and other products derived from concentrates, and impaired driving, just to name a few. While change is undoubtedly a constant for us, our ongoing commitment is to be protective of public health and safety, always.”

This message is critically valuable for cannabis businesses that are committed to complying with laws and regulations. They should understand that, like the industry, these regulators are still developing best practices. And just like licensees, regulators struggle with the pace of change in compliance expectations.

By understanding that regulators are working through the same issues that cannabis businesses encounter, owners and managers can find common ground, build relationships, and collectively develop best practices for maintaining compliance. Some of the most successful cannabis businesses in the country don’t shy away from regulators and, instead, invite them into their facilities to help them work through complicated regulatory issues.

The Compliance Evolution

“… [M]y observation is that the industry has become generally more compliant over time. While we have certainly encountered and addressed instances of serious illegal conduct in the regulated space, we have also witnessed the industry attracting skilled and experienced business owners and operators, perhaps due to the dynamism, opportunity for innovation and potential for growth in the space.”

This is great news! The lead cannabis regulator in the nation’s most experienced regulated cannabis market strongly believes our industry is largely made up of skilled operators and is moving in the right direction. This doesn’t mean it is time to rest on our laurels; rather, it is a sign that the bar is being raised for cannabis business around the country.

As the industry continues to grow, evolve, and become more compliant over time, instances of non-compliance will become even greater outliers, resulting in greater enforcement. It is incumbent upon cannabis businesses to understand that regulators’ compliance expectations will also grow and evolve over time. As the pace of change settles and they reach the end of their learning curve, regulators will expect businesses to do the same and become more compliant, and they will enforce regulations in accordance with those expectations.

Your company needs SOPs ASAP

/ ComplianceLeave a Comment

SOPs are integral to any business' success. Especially in the cannabis industry.

What is the Deal with SOPs?

Developing written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is critical for cannabis businesses. Operating procedures, in some jurisdictions, are even required as part of the application for a business license. Mandatory or not, they are a useful tool that companies can use to define various tasks. SOPs can cover areas such as expectations of employees, facilitating workflow, and maintaining compliance in a tricky regulatory environment.

The process of developing SOPs can seem daunting. This is especially true if you are starting from scratch, revamping existing ones, or are adapting them for a new jurisdiction. Whatever the case may be, we are here to help.

Our Take On’Em

Simplifya offers its clients SOP templates covering a wide range of state-based regulatory issues and best practices for cannabis businesses. So far we work in California, Colorado, Nevada, and most recently Oregon. Our free trial includes the SOP feature to optimize the efficiency of your operations and keep them in compliance.

Simplifya’s SOP templates are highly customizable to meet the needs of each cannabis cultivator, retailer, processor, manufacturer, or distributor. These SOPs also include required tasks that follow regulations and recommended best practices, each clearly identified within the app. This easily ensures that your team knows which assignments are suggested and which are critical to maintaining compliance.

We made it a point to keep our SOP feature flexible since it is impossible for anyone to know the full universe of operational procedures. There are simply too many variables, especially in cannabis businesses. We give companies the opportunity to create their own SOPs or download and save Simplifya-created ones. We also provide owners and managers the opportunity to reflect the complex procedures they may have already developed over time.

Take It From Us. Literally!

As you can see, we have not only put a lot of thought into our business, but also into all cannabis businesses. Our team of compliance experts knows what it takes to navigate the byzantine marijuana regulatory landscape. Whether it is assisting with the development of SOPs or providing state and local audit content, let us help you get through it. Start your free trial with Simplifya today and find out more about what we have to offer.

California should follow Colorado’s lead on packaging and labeling

/ Cannabis Law, ComplianceLeave a Comment

California's Packaging and Labeling Deadlines Are The Same Mistakes Colorado Used To Make

Earlier this month, the two largest cannabis markets in the country, Colorado and California, underwent some pretty significant regulatory changes. Colorado adopted an entirely new set of packaging and labeling requirements (again!) late last year and expected compliance on July 1, 2018. California required its cannabis products to be tested, packaged, and labeled immediately following its new regulations.

These types of transitions can be incredibly disruptive for businesses and markets while creating significant compliance challenges. For now, they are merely a fact of life in the cannabis industry. “Change is the only constant in life,” is more true in cannabis regulation than just about any other area of law. As the industry evolves, regulators are continually tweaking– or in some cases even overhauling– regulations. Businesses then develop best practices to catch up with the new rules only to see them change again.

The History of Colorado’s Packaging and Labeling Regulations

In the category of “It’d be funny if it weren’t so costly,” Colorado has changed its packaging and labeling regulations practically every year since 2013. I experienced this firsthand while I worked at the state Department of Revenue, drafting up the initial rules. During these first stages of regulation, the state set hard deadlines that left nearly everyone in the industry scrambling to comply. By now, Colorado has a tremendous amount of experience executing these changes. Even state regulators have improved their handling of them and have become increasingly more accommodating. As a result, the latest major changes to packaging and labeling in Colorado have occurred with little disruption to the industry.

Colorado Gives the Industry Enough Time for Packaging and Labeling Changes

Time constraints for cannabis industries

Colorado regulators have created a more flexible two-phase implementation plan. Doing this allows the cannabis industry to adapt to the new requirements over a period of almost two years. These two years give ample time for the industry to change their compliance requests.

On January 1, 2018, the state of Colorado kicked off its first transition period. A new regulation change was specifically for packaging and labeling. All license holders were allowed to produce and sell products accurately packaged and labeled according to either:

1. The pre-November 2017 regulations (the “Old Regs”); or

2. The post-July 1, 2018 regulations (the “New Regs”).

Starting July 1, 2018, regulators prohibited cultivators and manufacturers from distributing products packaged and labeled under the Old Regs. Retailers, on the other hand, were given more leeway. Regulators extended the date an additional year (until July 1, 2019) to sell off any inventory packaged and labeled under the Old Regs. Essentially, cultivators and manufacturers had eight months to bring their products into compliance. Retailers still have a year to replace their stock with compliant products.

California’s Contrasting Packaging and Labeling Regulations

CA should look to CO for regulation implementation

In contrast, the California cannabis industry was expected to transition from the state’s old system to the new one in an insufficient amount of time. The new system introduced much more complex regulatory changes in a more abrupt fashion than in Colorado. While California did have a “transition period,” it introduced virtually no flexibility for businesses. It also lacked in helping stage the changes between procedures and retailers. To make matters worse, regulators have changed their compliance expectations several times since the initial publishing. All of these variables combined have resulted in significant market disruption.

Prior to California’s mandatory regulation changes on July 1, there were massive sales in California with nearly every retailer selling cannabis for huge discounts. Since then, there have been reports about the industry potentially needing to destroy “hundreds of millions of dollars” in products because of the change. Shelves were looking barren and prices increased to reflect the lack of supply.

These types of problems are not exactly hallmarks of a well-regulated industry. They are, however, especially challenging for the new cannabis industry. An industry that is still fighting for legitimacy and competing against the illegal market.

Looking to Colorado as an Example for Future Regulation Transitions

As cannabis regulatory aficionados, we’ve seen this all before. We even predicted these issues would arise in California. We hope California regulators will create a smoother on-ramp for their next set of changes. They should look to states like Colorado that have already gone through these growing pains. Colorado has learned from its mistakes and developed processes to avoid these market disruptions.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain in the cannabis industry, it’s that more changes are sure to come.