Ever since July 1st, licensed cannabis retailers in California have been adapting to the new cannabis product guidelines. Now that regulators have issued the first draft of the permanent cannabis regulations for public comment, there are likely to be more changes in the days ahead. As a result, California cannabis dispensaries can expect increased compliance enforcement to thwart black market sales.
Illegal Cannabis Dispensaries
There have already been several raids on illegal retailers in Los Angeles and San Diego in recent months in addition to the cease and desist letters sent by Bureau of Cannabis Control. Lieutenant Frank Montez of the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department stated that, “When you have an illegitimate, illegal dispensary operating, that not only hurts the industry as a whole but that really hurts the community.”
Lt. Montez oversees a task force whose primary objective is to shut down illegal dispensaries in the Los Angeles area. They typically raid at least one illegal cannabis retailer per week and are attempting to level the playing field for compliant storefronts. “People out here on the street are thinking it is a legitimate operation and are smoking this cannabis with all these dangerous pesticides, and they are really killing themselves,” Montez noted.
While there are probably hundreds of illegal shops across California, there are many that are playing by the rules and acquiring licenses. Even though a cannabis retailer may be licensed doesn’t necessarily mean that they implementing compliant business practices. The BCC has included several ways to increase compliance enforcement within the regulations.
They are allowed to conduct a compliance inspection, investigation, review, or audit dispensaries without any prior notice. BCC authorized representatives can audit business records, test products, and test vehicles to ensure dispensaries are operating legally. In addition to inspections, they also allowed peace officers to use underage decoys to test if a retailer will validate the age of minor before selling them cannabis products.
This type of compliance enforcement will be one of the primary preventative measures in eliminating dispensaries who are intentionally undermining the regulations for their own benefit. If a compliance violation occurs but the cannabis retailer can present their good faith attempts to comply and shows evidence of the correction, there may be some leniency.
The best way to avoid to compliance infractions is to establish protocols and processes that ensure their are safeguards in place. One of the best ways to safeguard your cannabis retailer is to use compliant dispensary software that automates reporting, monitors purchase limits, and requires age validation. IndicaOnline’s point-of-sale system provides all of these features and much more so you can protect your marijuana business from fines, suspension, or even revocation.