Cannabis compliance should be of utmost concern when operating a marijuana retailer. What may seem like a small mistake could create a compliance violation that could result in substantial fines and possibly even cause your business license to be revoked. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not a valid justification.
A cannabis compliance officer must have incredible attention to detail, great interpersonal skills, and hold a flexible attitude.
During the interview process, ask a question that will entice the candidate to demonstrate their patience and flexibility while in a stressful situation. Interacting with cannabis regulators, especially when being inspected, can be very stressful.
Ask a random, seemingly nonsensical question, like how many paperclips fit in an airplane? Compliance managers won’t always receive clear information from regulators, so often tough decisions are forced to be made without complete information. It’s a great way to see how the candidate handles a challenging question, and provides some insight into their thought process.
The following are five reasons you should consider hiring a cannabis compliance manager:
Develop Compliance Protocols
Establishing compliance protocols is imperative when trying to prevent compliance infractions. A cannabis compliance manager who has experience in the industry along with retail management can develop and implement those protocols.
Creating these standards will discourage improper conduct as well as encourage a code of ethics where your employees feel comfortable reporting any suspicious behavior they see.
Resolve Compliance Issues
A cannabis compliance manager will be responsible for investigating a compliance infraction when and if one does occur. They will explore when the incident happened, how it occurred, and who was on the clock at the time of the violation. Once identified, the compliance manager will consult with upper management on how to continue.
If the compliance violation was a result of a mistaken human error, additional training and/or a probationary period may motivate the employee to be more mindful. If the infraction instead occurred due to unethical behavior, it may be necessary to consult with cannabis regulators and even law enforcement on the proper way to proceed.
Having someone in charge of auditing your store processes and procedures can help prevent compliance infractions from happening in the first place.
Cannabis compliance managers will be responsible for assessing and auditing their dispensary’s inventory to prevent product loss.
Typically, regulators want to be sure that cannabis companies are committed to operating compliantly. If your business’ compliance efforts have been well documented, regulators are much more likely to work with you to remedy a minor violation if and when one occurs as opposed to issuing a penalty.
Having a signed acknowledgment of your business’ responsible handling and sales policies on file for each employee and holding annual training on marijuana laws with your employees are examples of mitigating circumstances that regulators want to see.
Additionally, standard operating procedures (SOPs), manuals, and training shows documented proof of your company’s efforts to conduct business compliantly.
Keep Up With Changes
State and local laws are changing constantly, creating difficulty for marijuana retailers. There are state and local legislative initiatives that dispensaries, distributors, and cultivators need to stay aware of to remain compliant. Eventually, federal cannabis compliance will also have to be included in your consideration (hopefully, at least).
A compliance manager can monitor all applicable laws, regulations, and requirements to stay compliant.
A compliance manager should serve an active role on state and local cannabis reform organizations that advocate for legislation. They should attend monthly meetings to learn what local and state initiatives are occurring, so your location can support causes that benefit your business.
Regular meetings should be held with your compliance manager to compile, review, and resolve any compliance concerns that have arisen.
Understanding and keeping updated records of all the regulations and laws that apply to your business’ operations should and must be a continued effort, especially considering how often those regulations and laws can change.
Openly Communicate with Regulators
Compliance violations can occasionally be committed by cannabis retailers within their location. The cannabis compliance manager would be tasked to investigate and report their findings to the Bureau of Cannabis Control. They should present a clear, full picture of the situation to assist regulators in deciding on a consequence that is fair.
Creating an open, honest line of communication with both state and local regulators is a crucial responsibility of this position.