With all the different government agencies, you can imagine the task of keeping all your regulatory data straight will be daunting especially as you apply it to your cannabis operations. So great organization will be critical to your success in staying compliant. You must know the laws to be able to apply the laws. So as you find the applicable laws, statutes and governing regulations be sure to add them to your lexicon.
Agencies Should Be Helpful in Cannabis Compliance
The one saving grace here is that the agencies know you are doing this for the first time, as they are too in many cases. This agency will be more than happy to assist in answering any questions you may have. So do not hesitate to ask for assistance or clarification whenever you need it. Additionally, if you are doing your best and are active in working with these agencies they are more willing to work with you to resolve any issues that may come up. Issues will come up, this is guaranteed, the best thing to do is recognize them early and take the appropriate steps to cure them as soon as possible. As long as you do this the States will work with you to fix any issues.
Now if you have made it this far then you have figured out the zoning issues and have your site in mind. You have identified your potential product mix and how you are going to make it. You have your growing methodology and are ready to start growing, right? WRONG!
Many of the states who have legalized cannabis have, or are in the process of setting up regulatory state compliance systems. These systems require licensees be trained on how to enter specific data into the State mandated tracking system. These systems do little or nothing when it comes to validation of the data being entered and keeping your company compliant with state laws. I have seen many examples of this in every state system without exception.
The thing to remember is that these systems are not intended to keep you compliant what-so-ever. They are intended to allow the state to track you via data entry regardless if the data is correctly entered or not and regardless if you are in compliance or not. It is a subtle difference but a very important one. The State systems may restrict you from certain activities. It will also allow you to do other activities that will blatantly put you out of compliance. The reason for this is that many of these systems are being built as they are being implemented and/or the compliance provider does not want to take on the liability of ensuring every participant's meeting and stay in accord with compliance regulations. So effectively, every State has a compliance system that allows you to go out of compliance. With that said, you will have to either use these systems or be able to integrate with them to stay in compliance with the States.
The take away here is, you cannot trust these systems when it comes to marijuana compliance, it is something the company must understand and own to ensure the integrity of the data put into these systems.
Cannabis Business ERP
One of the easiest ways to manage all this data, in addition to other compliance needs, is with a quality business management system with full Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for the cannabis industry functionality. If you go this route, be sure to get a system that allows for consolidation of all your business processes and information into one system. Having multiple information silos to hold your data will only make it harder for your business to put it all together and run smoothly.
The other reason I recommend a good ERP solution is that as in compliance, it should have the ability to adapt and change. Rules, regulations, and countless other variables will inevitably change both in your business and in our industry. Change is the only true constant in our universe so you better be ready for it. We are still at a precipice in this industry and have a long way to go and compliance is just another hurdle. A wise man once said, “Learn from mistakes, but know that those mistakes do not have to be yours.” This is great advice for our industry especially since we are so new.
Those of us in the industry know it has the potential to be bigger than the Beetles. So we should look at other large mature industries for examples on how to manage and maintain a successful business. Looking at other large industry most if not all use some form of ERP. Even if you look at smaller industries like the Craft Beer industry, which is very similar to the cannabis industry, there has been a large migration to ERP over the last few years. A single consolidated management system that holds everything in one place is just easier to manage and streamline and this is how you gain a competitive advantage. You can simply think of an ERP system as our Compliance Lexicon but for the whole business. It is the place where you apply what you have learned and put everything together from your Compliance Lexicon. ERP is the glue keeping it all together for your business.
Justin Dufour | Value Engineer
Justin is the founder of Viridian Sciences, and currently a Value Engineer at Navigator Business Solutions. Justin focuses his expertise on helping customers and prospective clients understand the unique demands and needs of the Cannabis industry, acting as a single source of in-depth industry, and product knowledge. He works closely with clients and the development team to deliver the Viridian Sciences solution, built on strength of the SAP BusinessOne solution, to deliver a complete, flexible and scalable business solution for all segments of the Cannabis Industry.