dispensary compliance

4 min read

5 Compliance Risks That Every Dispensary Can Avoid

September 22, 2020

The legalization of cannabis and the farm bill 2018 has been an encouraging step to promote the health benefits and therapeutic properties of the plant among users. Several states have taken the step forward to create and support the set up of marijuana dispensaries to introduce the plant into the market in a controlled, compliant, and safe manner. This also curbs the stigma and reduces the risk of abuse of cannabis. 

The absence of centralized legalization led to the shift of power over cannabis regulation to state authorities. It has caused significant variations in legalities surrounding the plant. The license criteria, regulatory policies, and the legal status of marijuana are different from one state to the other. 

Hence a primary concern for any cannabis business such as a dispensary is to comply with these norms to preserve its license. Even a small misstep in the compliance can initiate a negative brand image and cause hefty fines. Here are five compliance risk areas to navigate carefully to get through a regulatory audit successfully. 

1. Lack Of Training

From production to sale, every step of the way requires certain regulatory practices to ensure the safety of cannabis. These operating procedures are crucial to reduce the risk of getting into trouble with authorities. 

The best way to ensure these practices are followed properly is to educate the employees about their importance. For example, careless storage or packaging of cannabis flower could lead to water loss or gain. It could increase the shipment’s weight, which will differ from the value mentioned in a shipping manifest. A mismatch could invite legal trouble for the dispensary. 

Hence, teaching the employees why a specific step or test is necessary, and the consequences of not doing them can help avoid any compliance deficits. 

2. Ignoring Product Safety Dispensary Compliance

Another critical area that requires attention is ensuring product safety. From testing product quality to proper labeling, there are several steps involved to ensure the safety of a product. Signage, product display are few other parameters used for evaluating product and dispensary safety.  

 For example, many states require childproofing during packaging. They also require that clear warnings and symbols on individual products. Necessary details such as CBD concentration, presence of THC need to be available on the label. Understand the requirements to ensure safety compliance in your state to run a successful Weed Dispensary.

3. Failing To Authenticate ID Proof

Compliance auditors often focus on how vigilant dispensaries are to ensure customers are of legal age. Most states require an authorized marijuana card that acts as a license to acquire cannabis. Many others require that the sellers check the ID proof to confirm the buyer’s age, even for CBD products. 

Often, authorities conduct a “sting” by sending in an underaged customer to try and purchase from a dispensary. Dispensaries failing to pass the test could be discredited or face legal consequences. 

Hence, emphasize the need to thoroughly evaluate marijuana cards and ID proofs provided to purchase CBD or other products to employees to reduce the risk of selling to underaged customers. 

4. Selling Over Limit Dispensary Compliance

Selling too much can be the ticket to losing your license in the cannabis industry. Most states establish clear limits on how much cannabis can be sold to a person over time. The perspective of the compliance is to avoid resale or abuse of the products. Failing to comply with these limits, even accidentally, can land you in big trouble. 

Looping is a common problem in dispensaries that sell all types of cannabis and CBD products. It means that customers go for maximum product purchase and return almost immediately to make another large purchase. 

Employees should learn to recognize looping customers, or it could land both parties in legal trouble. 

5. Violating Security And Privacy  

The last thing a customer wants is getting their personal data exposed, such as credit card information, due to a data breach at your end. Customer information and privacy safety are critical to run a successful dispensary. The best way to ensure the same is to utilize technology to establish a state of art security measure that improves your data privacy and security.  

Lack of measures to ensure data safety can be risky for both the company and the customer. It could invite civil or criminal penalties and loss of crucial information such as transaction history.  

Contributed by Liz Thomson