Last year, Simplifya’s Colorado SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) bundle consisted of 35 templates that covered important subjects related to cannabis operations. We called this the “generic bundle” because, with the exception of California, the same 35 templates were used for other states. It was a way to quickly create coverage for 14 states.
2019: The Year of the SOP
Fast-forward to New Year’s Day 2019, when Colorado’s updated cannabis rules went into effect. We updated our SOPs in alignment with the new rules and gave the templates a “makeover” that included more detailed policies and procedures and improvements in readability.
Now, in the summer of 2019, our Colorado SOP bundle has entered the next stage of its evolution: license-specific SOPs that are tailored to state regulations. So, what does this look like? Instead of one generic bundle of 35 templates, we are now offering three license-specific bundles and one general bundle that applies to all license types. The cultivation, manufacturing, retail, and general bundles contain a total of 81 templates.
A Breakdown of the Colorado SOP Bundle
As someone who used to work in the compliance department for a vertically integrated, national cannabis company, I asked myself what procedures were key to the operations at that company, and how could we integrate those procedures into our Colorado SOP bundle? The result was brand new templates that covered the following topics:
- advertising, marketing, and signage;
- employee training;
- handling product recalls;
- opening and closing security procedures;
- actions requiring notification to the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED);
- alarm systems;
- performing and recording a sales transaction;
- patient and consumer education and support; and
- preparing samples for testing.
In addition, we created several new templates that are specific to Colorado’s regulations, such as:
- sampling unit protocols;
- audited products and alternative use products; and
- fibrous waste.
Where appropriate, the templates that were in the original generic bundle are now split into license-specific versions. For example, instead of one “Daily Inventory Management” template written in a generic fashion for all license types, we now have versions that are written specifically for cultivation, manufacturing, and retail licensees.
The Case for an Expanded SOP Bundle
Well-written SOPs are critically important to a successful business –especially a cannabis business. They can help reduce risk, save time and training costs, and increase product quality. SOPs may be required as part of the initial license application process for cannabis businesses, and also as part of the subsequent renewal process. Regulators may also request to see SOPs during an audit.
Therefore, evolving SOPs to meet new operational requirements or expanding the number of SOPs on-hand to cover specific areas of operation is a “must” to stay both compliant and efficient. With the Colorado SOP bundle as our guide, we are now in the process of rolling out these more comprehensive and detailed SOP bundles to the other states we cover.