Practicing a culture of compliance is a quick and easy way to make sure that your license is not put in jeopardy. Keeping compliant in this legalization time period is an adjustment for all and although not easy, is absolutely necessary.
With the public commenting period coming to a close soon, you should be buckling down and getting one step ahead of the game. As if, getting ahead isn’t enough though, stay ahead by avoiding these 5 common compliance issues.
Are you selling display products?
California legalization has made it increasingly difficult to maintain a standard of compliant practices. It’s not uncommon for the display package of a particular item to be the last one in stock. What should be as simple as selling your customer the last of the products available, is actually not so easy!
Selling the display product of anything your dispensary carries is a violation of BCC regulations that can cause you to be fined and puts your license at risk of being suspended. You may want to try hiring an inventory manager that maintains the integrity of your stock so that you never run into a situation where your customer is left disappointed. Make sure your staff is well-informed of this violation so you can continue to operate in a way that satisfies the Bureau and keeps your customers happy!
Let’s be clear— there are to be no displays sold, regardless of how badly your customer wants the product.
Are you using electronic inventory management?
Running a dispensary currently on a temporary license? Don’t worry—it seems like everyone is too! As we wait for METRC to go live, it’s a good idea to start to think about the ways in which you can “get a jump” on practicing good inventory management practices.
Keeping records of all movements of cannabis starting with a change in custody from a brand’s distributor in a room-to-room, sale-by-sale basis is an effective way to roll out good habits. Verifying licenses, shipping manifest information, and making sure that inventory management is taken seriously puts you in a position that protects your shop.
Inventory management is a full-time job and treating it like this as you await the issuance of your permanent license will make things easier by a factor of 10—guaranteed! Furthermore, there are 3 ways that your inventory needs to match up once every 30 days:
1. Physically in your cannabis dispensary storage areas.
2. Within your point-of-sale system.
3. In the California Cannabis Track-and-Trace (CCTT) as it is in accordance with METRC.
Starting early will make your business transition as smoothly as possible when things really go ‘live.’
Poor Reporting Habits
Time and time again, I hear horror stories being told about failing to implement a satisfactory way of reporting. I’d like to be direct here—cannabis licenses aren’t expensive, so stop acting like reporting shouldn’t take a priority.
This new age of legal cannabis expects a lot from your dispensary as CCTT is being fulfilled with the use of METRC. Reporting sales everyday by hand at the end of the day not only wastes time that you don’t have, but think about what happens when you make an error in your entry. It puts METRC out of balance which then makes you the center of attention; and believe me, it’s not the kind of attention you’ll enjoy.
Investing in a point-of-sale system that automatically integrates with METRC and sends real-time adjustments for sales reports not only eliminates the need for manual labor, but keeps you compliant as a business when the BCC wants on-demand sales & inventory reports.
Put simply: everything that comes in needs to be recorded, everything that leaves your store needs to be recorded, and everything you buy or use for display…you guessed it…needs to be recorded!
Are you packaging properly?
If you’ve been in the scene for the entirety of this year, you know exactly why this is an important part of legalization. It’s also easy to understand why this is a common compliance issue in dispensaries and a common source of compliance “tug of war.”
Exit bags are booming in the Nevada marketplace and are being branded for specific companies to use as a way of staying within compliance. In California, it’s no different! Although the latest regulations don’t require child-resistant packaging until 2020, it’s a great idea to get ahead of the game and be prepared for final requirements.
Slap your dispensary name or brand on an exit bag that is opaque and child-resistant that can be re-used by your customers. It not only acts as a tool for compliance, but is essentially a free way to market your brand when customers hang out with people that indulge in cannabis.
As it stands currently, all products in your shop should be lab tested and labeled with the official health warning, California Universal Symbol for cannabis products, and have child-resistant, tamper-evident packaging.
Avoid fines, take your time, and do things right!
How do your budtenders identify themselves?
If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone and forgotten what their name is or never had the opportunity to confirm their identity then you can relate to how nice it is for identification badges of dispensary employees to be mandated.
Each employee is required to have an identification badge. These badges need to have a color picture, company name, license number, first and last name of the employee, and their individual employee number.
Dimensions of the picture on employee badges need to be at least 1 inch wide x 1.5 inches in height and printed on laminated or plastic coated cards which are worn at all times.
Although a small requirement, it is a mandatory one and not only adheres to compliance, but “ups” the game of your dispensary aesthetic. Engage your customers, make them feel comfortable in your shop, and give them reason to come back!
Compliance is lurking…
Few absolutes in this industry exist, but one that certainly does revolves around compliance. At the end of the day, it keeps your dispensary open and keeps the green flowing by having a cannabis shop that can operate properly.
It’s no secret: fines take revenue from your dispensary, bring a negative light to your shop, and can easily be avoided by paying meticulous attention to detail when compliance takes priority.