Cannabis Recordkeeping and Management
Written by Jenny Germano
There is one specific area of cannabis compliance that is shared across all the regulated markets in the United States, it is Recordkeeping. Tracking and management of documents may be the key differentiator for a licensed operator. Not only adherence to the rules, but also creating a culture of compliance is critical to success.
The way in which records are managed has changed over the years in cannabis. Earlier in 2010, only physical records were accepted and required, now in 2022 more and more States are open to accepting digital records, and/or records kept on the cloud. Having both physical and digital access to documentation has its benefits, especially when it comes to physical inspections and audits.
The mismanagement of required cannabis operation records could lead to some serious violations as we’re seeing in several States, and from every license type from Retail to Testing Labs. It’s important every licensed operator understands what records are required to be maintained and for how long. Going above and beyond the requirements for recordkeeping management is always recommended.
What Can Make or Break Your Cannabis Operation - When it Comes to Recordkeeping?
- Non-legible records, messy and unorganized documents create an unprofessional work environment.
- Lack of knowledge of State recordkeeping requirements.
- Records must be secure on-site - Not on employees phones or on off-site computers, stored in unlocked file cabinets, where they may be accessed inappropriately.
- Untrained staff, not being able to provide records to regulators during surprise inspections.
- Poor management of records - such as not knowing where records are located in the facility.
- Not following HIPAA standards when it comes to Medical patients, or non-compliance with employee records.
Recordkeeping is one of the top non-compliance issues our auditors and regulators come across. Sometimes it can be specific SOPS are missing, or the lack of understanding of the records being required to be maintained, not being up to date on changes to rules and regulations that affect records, or records being shredded too early not adhering to the annual or longer retention requirements. Regulated cannabis operations are always under a microscope, and in order to be transparent with local and State agencies, how records are managed are at the top of the list. It can really sink a business if there is a complete disregard for the rules.
Records actually protect a business, and recordkeeping helps track everything the business is doing, this is in addition to the various software packages, or data collection driven platforms that the company is using.
Having professionally maintained records creates an at-ease environment for staff and regulators when engaging with the business. Strive to make compliance second nature and integrate it into all of your operations.