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Is Your Cannabis Business Compliant?




Cannabis business owners and operators have plenty to worry about; bringing in revenue, keeping customers and employees happy, paying taxes, and securing inventory are usually top of mind. But an important facet of running a cannabis business that is overlooked with surprising frequency is regulatory compliance.


It may be that like regular medical checkups, a lot of people don’t worry about their health until they get sick. While compliance doesn’t contribute to the bottom line, it is vital to the long-term viability of any cannabis business. Depending on the jurisdiction, the risk of inspections and fines, or even the loss of a cannabis license, will vary. Staying compliant is not only the right thing to do, it could save your business someday.

Compliance does not have to be onerous. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure you are operating a compliant cannabis business.


  • Know your compliance baseline. Knowing where you stand with respect to regulatory compliance is an important first step to avoid surprises during an inspection. It also prevents “fires” during your day-to-day operations like making a sale to an underage customer.


  • Conduct self-audits. Auditing is the best way to be proactive and ensure compliance. Your first audit will set your compliance baseline. You can have full-time staff dedicated to compliance or hire third-party law firms or consultants to perform self-audits, but those may be cost prohibitive for many cannabis businesses. A more cost-efficient alternative is to give your existing staff a simple and easy to use tool that takes them through the audit process. Greenspace is a project and license management software loaded with pre-built California self-audit templates and the ability to create custom self-audits.


  • Properly document the process. As your staff completes the self-audit, it is important that they properly document the process, the samples reviewed and findings. It is often helpful to take photos and copies of documents and other items reviewed so that they can be easily retrieved later. Greenspace allows you to attach documents to your self-audit project. Self-audits help tell the story of a compliant cannabis business with a proactive compliance program to government agencies and may even be helpful when dealing with banking institutions.


  • Create a corrective action plan. Once the self-audit is complete, it is important to acknowledge that you have just completed a major step towards proactive compliance, but it cannot end there. Next up, work with your team to create a corrective action plan for any potential items of non-compliance noted during the self-audit. You should set up a roadmap to address gaps in compliance and identify areas for additional training for employees. Greenspace can help you with that as well, by creating projects and timelines and assigning the right tasks to members of your team. Once the plan is in place, set achievable timelines for corrective action and execute the plan.


  • Rinse and repeat. Congratulations, you have ensured the long-term health of your cannabis business. And just like medical checkups, you should repeat the process regularly and no less than annually.


Taking these steps ensures you are running a compliant cannabis business. Afterall, there is no legal cannabis business without regulatory compliance. More importantly, you are showing your team that leadership takes compliance seriously, which only reinforces a culture of compliance.