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How to Prepare for a Dispensary Compliance Check

September 19, 2018

Taking steps to ensure that your cannabis retailer is prepared for a dispensary compliance check from your state’s regulatory authority is imperative to sustainability. Many states have newly established regulations for both medical marijuana dispensaries and adult-use cannabis retailers so compliance enforcement is likely to increase as the industry progresses.

In this article, we’ll mention a few ways that cannabis business owners can prepare their storefront for an inevitable dispensary compliance check.

Security Measures

There are several aspects of security that need to be in place before a dispensary compliance check. It’s essential to have on-site security personnel who are over the age of 21 and have been licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. A security guard is often the first point of contact so ensuring they are qualified and have the required credentials is essential.

Another security requirement that will be evaluated for compliance are the locks used for entrances and exits. Commercial-grade, nonresidential door locks must be used on doors to limited access areas and the outside of the premises. It’s also necessary to install an alarm system that is monitored around the clock, and is responded to when triggered. Protecting your cannabis retailer with video surveillance is also highly recommended.

Age Verification

If there is one area of compliance that regulators have zero tolerance for its selling products to minors. Verifying the age of every customer that enters you cannabis retailer is the safest way to ensure that you never unknowingly sell marijuana to minor. This is especially critical when serving medical patients with a doctor’s recommendation since many states allow them to be 18+. Regulators are allowed to send in minor decoys to test licensed marijuana dispensaries so you can never be too careful.

This is when technology can step in and eliminate any chance of selling cannabis to someone underage. Utilizing an advanced dispensary point of sale software will allow reception to verify both the age of a customer/patient as well as their doctor recommendation. Recommendations can be verified using a built-in verification service and the receptionist only needs to scan the barcode on the state identification to verify their age.

Prepare Documentation

There is also a significant amount of documentation that is necessary to maintain cannabis compliance. Having all of your paperwork organized and easily accessible will make you life much easier in the event of a dispensary compliance check. Some of your documentation such as your state business license and local permit need to be centrally displayed to avoid a compliance violation.

Inventory documentation is just as important to have on file and a compliance inspector will need to see all information on when goods were received, expiration dates, distributor license numbers, and the price paid including taxes, transport, etc. All of this information can be stored in your dispensary point of sale software and can be easily downloaded for printing.

Having your sales documentation on hand will also save some time. This includes a record of every transaction, the employee who made the sale, taxes, date & time, and a customer number. In many cases this type documentation is required to be kept for up to seven years. Having a digital record will prevent you from having to file a bunch of paperwork.


Always check your inventory to make sure that the packaging and labelling of your products meet regulatory requirements. First it’s important to note that in some states such as California, only licensed cannabis distributors can package and label products. Generally speaking, all cannabis products must be packaged in resealable child-resistant opaque packaging before it gets to the retailer.

There also several pieces of information that must be included on the label for both medical and adult-use cannabis. Any medicinal marijuana products must be labelled “For Medical Use Only,” and all products must contain information including the testing results, primary panel, informational panel, and government warning. It’s worth going through your stock occasionally to check expiration dates and labelling to make sure your products are compliant.

Staff Protocol

It’s also vital to prepare your staff for a dispensary compliance check. Establishing staff protocols that teach compliant practices will help prevent infractions before they happen. All sales staff should be aware and enforce product purchase limits and ask to see identification if the suspect the customer to be a minor. Teaching your staff how to proceed in the event of a dispensary compliance check is also important so they know what to expect and how to react.

Having a powerful dispensary point of sale system can assist with many of the challenges faced during a compliance check. The software automatically keeps track of all inventory and sales data, sends alerts when products expire, notifies sales staff of purchase limits, and validates the age of each customer. Learn more about IndicaOnline’s advanced compliance feature by signing up for a free 14 day trial.