The Compliance Boogie Monster

Written By: Jenny Germano

After working in the cannabis industry for almost a decade, the compliance boogie monster has peaked it's head out of the closet.

What am I talking about?

Compliance, it is no longer something that can be ignored by anyone looking to work in a regulated cannabis market. Compliance needs to be addressed and can’t be swept under the rug anymore.

A recent quote inspired me, “If you are not sitting at the table, then you are on the menu”. – Unknown.

I find this to be true in compliance. If you are not adhering to the regulations, you might be what’s for dinner in the States eyes. It is extremely important to comply with local and state regulations. It is a constant maintenance of the compliance culture you are creating or intend to create. We are no longer in the business of just selling or growing cannabis, but more in the business of compliance first, then selling and growing cannabis.

I am seeing the changes happening right before my eyes. Operators are seeing the benefit to moving compliance to the forefront of their businesses. One might ask, how do I create a compliance culture or where do I start, or maybe you are on your way but want to improve.

Here are some best practices I have learned along the way for engaging your team in compliance

  • Get involved on a local level, with the local licensing authority for your city & county – attend meetings and build relationships with city employees.
  • Select a compliance team that is passionate
  • Schedule monthly compliance meetings with managers – but do not forget about lower level employees too, as they want to learn as well.
  • Figure out how to include lower level employees and empower them to understand the rules and regulations per their job role.
  • Offer to send your team to quarterly or yearly compliance trainings, whether state offered or third party.
  •  Sign up for ALL state, and city and county email subscription lists. Stay informed by receiving newsletters and bulletins.
  • Attend working groups, even if you are not on the panel. Be apprised to upcoming proposed rules on a county and state level.
  • Stop using trigger words that are fear based around compliance – normalize it. Compliance is not new, and has been around a long time.
  • The more employees that are engaged with compliance, the more it will help take the fear out of it.

Compliance is Structure – and employees flourish in structure, when implemented. Utilize the structure already provided in the regulations as a placeholder.

Of course there are many other practices to be engaged with and expanded on, but this is a good place to start for creating a healthy compliance culture. Regulated marijuana is not going anywhere, just the people who are not willing to follow the rules.

Will your company be at the table or on the menu?

A tip on what I have learned about being overwhelmed when you are facing a mountain of compliance. Do not try to eat the entire elephant in the room at once, do it in pieces. Break it down so it is tangible for employees and not so terrifying to approach.


ICS Consulting specializes in Compliance based services, such as Third-Party State Regulatory Audits, State and Local License Application Support, Technical Writing, Standard Operating Procedures Development, Compliance Operations Training, Employee Retention Solutions, and Employee Onboarding. For more information on how ICS Consulting Service can help your Cannabis Business, book a free 30-minute consult and we'll help you map out your next steps to be successful in the Regulated Cannabis Industry.