Cannabis Dispensaries: The Five Biggest Compliance Mistakes

Even with weed being legalized…the MMJ industry is still subject to problems with the law or with those responsible for regulating marijuana. Compliance issues can be costly, detrimental to your operations, and if you’re just starting off, they can pose serious setbacks in licensing. To avoid these types of issues, staying on top of regulatory weed rules and ensuring compliance as a top priority is key. That’s why we’ve put together the five biggest (and easily avoidable) mistakes cannabis dispensaries make when it comes to compliance.

Mistake #1: Disregarding Patient or Customer Privacy 

A breach of your customers’ precious data is the last thing any medical marijuana business, or recreational dispensary, wants. Depending on your state’s exact regulations, there may or may not be guidelines on how, or how long, you can store customers’ information. Ensuring you have proper systems in place, and that your operating procedures account for discarding the information when necessary, is crucial for avoiding violations you may not have even considered. Especially since this type of mistake can cause civil and or criminal penalties, too. 

Mistake #2: Falling Short on Security Requirements

You may think that hefty deadlocks and security cameras are enough for protection, but you would be wrong. The cannabis industry and its regulations are designed to ensure heightened and proper security not only for guests and employees, but for the handling of precious products too. Most states have strict guidelines on security measures for how inventory is received, tracked and stored, to ensure the “illicit” products don’t fall into wrong hands along the way. One slip-up in this day-to-day process can flag violations, so it’s a mistake to avoid at all costs. 

Mistake #3: Allowing Patients or Customers to ‘Loop’ 

Maybe worse than products getting into the wrong hands is an issue with too many products getting into even licensed hands. The act of customer or patient ‘looping’ is one of the latest trends in compliance issues. Looping refers to patients or customers buying the maximum amount allowed by state regulations, then returning to purchase more. If employees allow this overage purchase to go through, you could be subject to big fines, and even incarceration, like dispensary owners in Colorado recently discovered.  

Mistake #4: Becoming Loose On Product Safety, Packaging & Labeling

Becoming loose or neglectful of the packaging and labeling of products you sell is another big cannabis compliance mistake. Although you most likely trust the vendors with which you partner, even the slightest change in state regulation or their type of packaging can cause significant and debilitating fines. For instance, one Massachusetts company was recently fined $75,000 when an inspection found 3,000 improperly labeled products. 

Mistake #5: Neglecting Proper Employee Training

Many day-to-day procedures have weed rules that must be followed, like storing, weighing and distributing cannabis goods. Ensuring your workers partake in cannabis compliance training on all of the ins and outs of your state’s cannabis licensing authority is crucial. What might seem like small “human errors” can result in fines and even the forfeiture of your license. Meaning, you should prioritize the time and costs it takes to train all employees properly, and create a culture of being careful.

Don’t have time to worry about compliance? You need to. Hire experts that’ll have your back. Using a third-party company helps to avoid cannabis compliance issues before they arise. For over 25 years, Coyle Hospitality has provided this service for companies worldwide. Join the likes of MedMen, Cookies & MedCare Farms who are building successful programs and relationships that translate into profitable partnerships for lifetime customer value.

© 2021 Coyle Hospitality Group. Reproduction of any material without written authorization is strictly prohibited.

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