Why Compliance is important in the Cannabis Industry


Compliance is the driving force in cannabis operations and has a big seat at the table when it comes to operating a successful regulated business. Why is compliance important in the cannabis industry? Well, there are a few reasons, but most importantly it’s required in order to successfully navigate each States regulatory framework in a productive manner. 

Compliance has become an overused word and can get diluted at times. It tends to get used in a broad manner in the sense of all the different areas it covers. It can cover much more than just the day to day operations of a business. It really comes down to rules and regulations, the systems in place to manage the rules, and implementation of all of the processes. 


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When you involve the general public (consumers), and have employee work environments,it is no different than other regulated industries when it comes to public safety, and worker safety. With that being said, compliance is really the gold standard in adhering to the rules and regulations set forth by the State and local governments. Managing overall compliance in cannabis operations can be overwhelming, especially for new operators.

Here are a few key differentiators in helping manage the different buckets of compliance for a cannabis operation:

Auditing Inventory

No matter the size of inventory large or small there should be a Metrc or Biotrack Administrator who audits all departments in the organization to ensure everything is moving through each process correctly and being reconciled properly in the system. Cultivation facilities tend to run into trouble when the plant moves from Harvest to Post Harvest Processes, not finishing batches correctly (from plant tag to package tag). Take the necessary training not only provided by the seed-to-sale platform but also enlist third-party vendors for additional training. 

Software Systems

There are a slew of different software systems out in the market that will help operators, outside the mandated seed-to-sale software (specific to each State). Using an ERP and/or project management type software can help keep all the different processes organized and keep all the employees connected to they’re roles and tasks. It is vital to have some type of supply management process that supports being in compliance.

Document Management 

Having excellent document management is vital in the cannabis industry. Knowing where every required document is located, how it is presented and that they’re completely aligning with the regulatory requirements can be the difference between getting an infraction or not. Simple management solutions can be documents stored on the cloud and ensure there are linked tables of contents that outline each document or SOP for all regulatory requirements. Record keeping best practices is having the ability to access documents more quickly. Lastly, organizing any physical documents on site in binders with tab dividers. Clear, accessible, and in compliance with the rules recordkeeping practices will set operators up for success.

Employee Onboarding

Employees in the Cannabis Industry need to be prepared properly for their roles, including understanding job descriptions, Cannabis rules and regulations that relate to the license operation, standard operating procedures connected with their roles and responsibilities. Employees, especially those on the retail side can be the last line of defense in ensuring products make it safely out the door and into consumers hands.  

Safe Product Handling 

Employees that handle any raw materials, the creation of products, packaging of products, and the product in final form, should take some form of Food Safety and Product Safety certification/training. Understanding how to handle, properly store, temperature hazards, cleaning and sanitation principles are vital not only to preventing the compromise of materials and/or products, it’s an additional layer in protecting consumers and teaches employees the basics in managing the cannabis supply chain in a safe manner. 

Worker Safety

Employees need to know the hazards in their working environment, and have the proper protections in place to execute their job roles effectively and safely, such as having PPE (personal protective equipment) made available to them, safe working conditions, access to updated standard operating procedures and being properly trained. OSHA standards should be implemented in every cannabis operation, from a Cultivation, Dispensary, Manufacturing, Transportation, and Testing Lab. 

Chain of Custody

Chain of Custody is an important standard in mapping out how Cannabis products move throughout the regulated supply chain. Each State has different requirements, but all require some type of Seed-to-Sale tracking system that follows barcoded or tagged materials and/or products through the life cycle from plant to final form from license to license operation. Whether it’s samples being sent off for testing, or products being transported to retail stores - it’s all tracked to protect not only the integrity of the product but also for public safety.

These are just a few examples of processes and standards that can be applied to your business. Additionally Standard Operating Procedures are vital and 100% of regulated States require some type of SOPs for cannabis operators. These mapped out processes not only help in staying in compliance, but support the success of employees implementing the correct steps in their daily job functions. Compliance can be made easy through breaking it down into digestible steps. 

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, Worker Safety, QMS, OSHA Compliance, Metrc Seed-to-Sale Support, 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