cannabis business

Your cannabis business should have New Year’s resolutions too

If you’re anything like me, coming up with New Year’s resolutions for yourself (and sticking to them, for that matter) is just so … blegh.  For cannabis business owners, though, some healthy 2019 resolution-reflection time can go a long way in setting up a great year.

…But what should those goals be?

I’m so happy you asked! Here are some ideas to spark that elusive New-Year inspiration and get your company in gear for 2019.  


New Year’s resolution idea #1: Perfect your record keeping

cannabis business resolution

Much like exercising is a necessary aspect of getting into shape, making sure that your business’s documents are organized is a high-priority must. If your office is a mess of papers (or your computer is a doc-storage nightmare), this resolution is for you.

Why is record-keeping so important? Because literally every state that has legalized marijuana has record-retention requirements, and some states impose mega-fines for not having all of those records organized and immediately available. For example, California requires all cannabis business owners to keep every document “related to commercial cannabis activity” for at least seven years. The penalty for not? A citation, for starters — and a fine of up to $30,000 per violation.

…You know what you don’t want for 2019 Future You? To end up frantically ripping apart your office one day because you can’t find a missing (and now potentially very expensive) visitor log sheet from August of 2014.

Nobody wants that future. Avoid it by using 2019 to get those records in order and creating a system to keep them that way.


New Year’s resolution idea #2: Revamp your employee education

A few weeks ago, I asked a budtender here in Denver if he could tell me more about “the butt pot stuff.” And, believe it or not, it wasn’t because I secretly have the maturity of a 12-year-old boy and wanted to say the phrase “butt pot” with a straight face. Rather, it was because Colorado had recently passed new rules regarding marijuana suppositories, and I was curious if this dispensary had relayed those updates to its employees.

Based on his stifled man-giggle of a response, it hadn’t.

cannabis business resolutions

Using 2019 to revisit (or implement) a quality ongoing training program for your employees benefits everyone involved. For one, providing your staff with continuing education on the industry allows them to relay that knowledge and expertise to customers and other businesses. In turn, that quality customer service helps build consumer loyalty, putting more cash in your business’s pocket. And who doesn’t want that? In addition, it tells your employees that they matter, especially if you let them help guide you by asking them where their interests lie.

A dispensary owner I know did this last year, and he was floored by how little some of his staff knew about manufacturing. However, he was also pleasantly surprised by how much those employees genuinely wanted to learn more. The result? An employee field trip to a manufacturing facility — and more motivated, educated budtenders.

How you do it doesn’t matter. Rather, what matters is that you provide your staff with engaging ways to broaden their knowledge — and increase their interest. Why not start in 2019?


New Year’s resolution idea #3: Revisit your SOPs

When was the last time you updated your SOPs? If you’re like many businesses, the answer to that question may be something like: “The last time I had to submit them for an application renewal.”

Why is this a problem, you ask? Because it means the odds are pretty good that you’re only doing the bare minimum when you do update them — especially if it’s a situation like a license renewal application, which requires numerous other paperwork “face lifts” as well.

So here is a reminder: Your SOPs matter! In short, they dictate how your business operates — and if they’re “not that great,” your day-to-day operations might be paying the price. Taking the time to revisit these in 2019 can help your business ensure it’s compliant with the newest regulations. It can also have positive effects on your company’s efficiency, the quality of your product, and, well, why you do things the way you do.

For starters, checking your SOPs for completeness can go a long way: Are all of the packaging and labeling requirements included and current? Does each adequately address all appropriate hygiene and sanitation requirements?

Next, ask yourself how they can be better. Do any need more clarification or guidelines? Do they address what to do in unexpected circumstances? Perhaps most important: do they make sense to the people doing them?

Taking some time to really review the quality of your SOPs can help you position your business for a fantastic year — and make sure you remain compliant in the process.

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