Building a Team to Ensure Cannabis Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory compliance is one of the keys to success in the cannabis industry. If you have hired a team of security consultants to oversee your facility security, why wouldn’t you hire experts to ensure your facility’s compliance? Lawyers are great, and some are flexible enough to oversee the specifics of facility compliance. You need someone to be your boots on the ground, making sure that employees are handling product in accordance with the regulations. And if you have someone overseeing compliance, who is their support at the management level to help them enforce the regulations and ensure employees are not putting your license in jeopardy? There are many options to ensure regulatory compliance.
Compliance happens from the employees up, and from the management down. Employees must be trained and really understand compliance in business practices. Management must understand the impact of having a complete and adaptive regulatory compliance program has on their business. In the long run, it protects the business from violations and resulting fines. In the short term, it encourages standardizations of processes, clearly defined responsibilities, and the training and resources that employees require. Everyone benefits when there is a strong facility compliance plan in place.
Having the synchronization of cannabis consulting professionals working alongside your employees will provide ongoing professional oversight, and resources and tools for your employees to quickly manage problems and predict future issues. If you currently have someone in-house performing compliance audits, who on your team is responsible for responding to the audit findings? Additionally, who updates the audits according to the changing in regulations? Who ensures updates and training are distributed throughout the staff? How is it done, and how are those updates recorded and reported?
If you are unable to answer any of these questions, you have a gap in your compliance team, and that could lead to unknown and potentially compounding violations. For example, if your in-house compliance person is performing an audit, checks the licenses on the wall and checks the limited access/restricted access area floor plans, does that person know the requirements for those floor plans at the state level? Will the current floor plans be acceptable at the next licensing renewal? Has there been any modification of the premises? Or do they just check a box that says “it’s adequate,” which is the same box they have been checking every month for years? How do they know what is adequate and what is in need of updating? Does the person submitting licenses renewal ensure they are adequately updating the person performing the audits and updates? There are a lot of moving parts, so having a team constantly communicating what needs to be done, and making sure it gets done, is the only path to success.
Ensuring compliance in your facility should be as high of a priority as security. Having a legal team who takes care of licensing is a great start. Having a compliance expert in the facility is also a good idea. Ideally, having a team consisting of legal experts, compliance experts, and facility managers is the best approach. Assigning facility management regulatory compliance tasks and responsibilities may not be as successful. The responsibility of facility managers should be to ensure implementation of regulatory oversight, but having a cannabis compliance professional to create and update a comprehensive regulatory compliance program will be the most effective approach.