One of the biggest concerns for dispensary operations managers is maintaining cannabis compliance, especially when you’ll deal with multiple different laws across jurisdictions. As important as it is to stay profitable and to grow your business, following the various compliance laws is about a lot more than just protecting your own dispensary and interests.
By accurately maintaining cannabis compliance laws across multiple jurisdictions, dispensary operators and employees are helping to legitimize the cannabis industry. Many states are not fortunate enough to have legal marijuana. Taking steps to legitimize the industry will pave the way for these states to enjoy the benefits of being able to access marijuana safely and legally.
By doing your part to follow these laws, you are helping to end marijuana prohibition and give all Americans the same right to light up.
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Dispensary Compliance Is Tough for Cannabis Retailers
Chances are, you’ve invested serious time and cash into your business. Anyone who operates a dispensary has seen a competitor shut down for non-compliance mistakes across jurisdictions and fully understands what’s at stake. If you break the rules, even if you didn’t do it deliberately, you could lose everything in an instant.
You want to comply with regulations, and you’re committed to helping legitimize your industry, but with so many complex regulations states don’t make it easy for operators. If your staff loses their jobs or anyone ends up in jail, as the operator, that’s on you. The legal marijuana industry is a game in which the rules change often. As a key player, it’s easy for you to end up confused and concerned.
If you disregard your state’s compliance laws they will find out, and they won’t let it go. Each medical and recreational marijuana state has its own protocol in place that details the consequences for those who fail to comply. The consequences each dispensary will face depend on the seriousness of the infraction and how many past infractions the business has had.
Although each state’s laws are different, non-compliers can generally expect the following:
- Notices to comply that must be returned with proof of compliance within a set timeframe
- Citations that must be paid on time or your license will be revoked
- Suspension or revocation of your cannabis retailer license for a period of time
- The permanent revocation of your business license
If you want your dispensary to steer clear of these issues, your best bet is to use a seed-to-sale POS system that will allow you to track everything that is going on in your business and make sure you’re complying with laws in the jurisdictions that affect your business.
Best Practices for Maintaining Cannabis Compliance Across Jurisdiction
By following these best practices for dispensaries who operate across multiple jurisdictions, you’ll be able to keep your dispensary and employees safe.
Implement Age Verification
Make sure no customers get through your door until their age has been verified. Even if they’re a regular, have every employee check every customer in through a documented procedure.
Track Your Inventory
Keep track of your inventory using a scanning system that will make it easy to show exactly what you have, where it came from, and where it’s going. This makes it easy to stay transparent.
Train Your Employees
Create and enforce standard operating procedures, then provide your employees with the training they need to successfully represent your brand. Proper training up front can prevent turnover later.
Get High-Tech Security
You want to have the best and most current security system in place you can afford to protect your customers, your employees, and your bottom-line.
Set Sale Limits
Make sure your budtenders know what the sale limits are and stick to them. You can’t do this without a system in place to track who is visiting your dispensary and what they’re purchasing.
Tips for Staying Compliant as a Dispensary
If you’re in a state that’s regulated by METRC, or the Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance system, you’ll need to provide data to MED authorities so they can assess it to regulate the cannabis industry. Even if you’re not, the way the laws change so quickly means this could change at any time, and possibly without much notice. These tips for staying compliant will help you to be prepared for what happens next. In this industry, it’s always something.
Keep Meticulous Records
The most important thing you can do as a dispensary owner is to keep meticulous records and make sure you are reporting the data you collect properly. If your state’s regulators make allegations against you, you’ll need to have proof if you want to defend yourself. Some states will allow you to get away with keeping only paper records, but again, that may change.
Dispensary operators in states that allow paper and electronic records are in luck, because they’ll be able to keep electronic records that will make it easier to input that data into their paper records.
Use Dispensary POS Software
There is no better way to make sure you’re staying compliant across different jurisdictions than by using a seed-to-sale point-of-sale system that was specifically designed for cannabis retailers. These POS dispensary systems can be used to literally track your inventory from the source all the way to the consumer and beyond. They can also help you track all of the above best practices. If you’re a multi-state or -jurisdiction operator, this is a must-have.
These systems are designed to allow you to work easily with the states’ authorities so you can stay compliant and prove it.
On top of helping you to keep track of your dispensary’s activities across jurisdictions, having a POS system in place will allow you to keep your tax records in line and up to date, to track your licenses to make sure they’re up to date, and to prevent loss and employee theft. A good cannabis dispensary POS system will change the way you do business, and it will well worth the investment.Posted by Jeremy O'Keefe
Jeremy O'Keefe is the CEO of Yobi, an industry leader in the cannabis tech marketplace. Jeremy's extensive experience in designing and developing retail and operational software for partners such as Amazon and Zappos are what drove him to build a best-in-class platform to serve the burgeoning cannabis market. Prior to starting Yobi, Jeremy worked as a Project Manager/Software Engineer for some of the largest infrastructure projects in the US and served in the Air Force as an Electronic Warfare Technician for 8 years.