As cannabis laws and regulations continue to evolve, dispensaries, producers, and others involved in the supply chain must take extra precautions to ensure they remain compliant. Violations can easily lead to business-ending repercussions. But how do you know if your cannabis business is doing enough?
What is Compliance in the Cannabis Industry?
Compliance in the cannabis industry includes licensing, certifications, processes, and data preservation measures needed to abide by the letter of the law. Legislation related to the cannabis industry is still in flux, forcing participants to remain alert. Further confusing the situation are the many differences between states as well as the way current federal laws apply to each state in which recreational use of cannabis is allowed.
Although the legal landscape surrounding the industry is still in motion, there are a few legal boundaries that are highly unlikely to change: those involving sales to minors and customers who have reached their legal possession limit.
Generally, a few key things are expected of companies operating in the cannabis industry:
- Traceability of products should be emphasized and all inventory must be accounted for at all times.
- Customer identities must be validated at the point of sale and the point of delivery to ensure no cannabis is sold to minors or individuals who cannot legally purchase cannabis.
Why Is it Important to Ensure Compliance?
Cannabis compliance carries more weight than it does in most other industries. Fines for not following regulations can be catastrophic and repercussions for selling products to underaged purchasers can include serious jail time. In California, fines of up to $500 coupled with as many as six months in jail are possible for first-time offenders.
Selling to loopers – customers who return multiple times per day to purchase more or visit different branches of the same dispensary chain to sidestep possession limits – can be just as disastrous. The owners of the Sweet Leaf dispensary chain in Colorado were sentenced to a year in prison for facilitating loopers and selling them as much as 40 times the amount of marijuana they were legally allowed to purchase.
Avoiding such calamities is key to running a profitable and stable business over the long-term.
What Your Cannabis Business Should Be Doing
Although cannabis compliance can be a bit tricky to nail down, issues arising from loopers and underage buyers are relatively simple to curb. Here are a few things you can begin doing right now to keep illegitimate customers at bay and protect your dispensary from the scandals they beget:
Your team can be held accountable for mistaken sales to minors and other illegitimate purchasers as well. In the case of the budtenders working for Sweet Leaf, their penalty took the form of community service in lieu of serving jail time. However, there is no guarantee that employees involved in such situations will not be forced to serve serious time alongside owners.
Teaching your team members how to adhere to regulatory-compliance sales protocol and to always request that a purchaser present a valid ID prior to processing a transaction can go a long way towards keeping your dispensary safe.
Properly validating patrons and employees’ identities is essential to the safety and success of any cannabis-related company. Whether you need to stop minors attempting to circumvent sales restrictions, ensure that the person presenting the ID is who they say they are, or stop looping and smurfing attempts, ID validation can simplify the process dramatically. However, this only works if validation of identity documents is handled with accuracy and efficiency. That’s where Intellicheck comes in.
Intellicheck makes integrating ID validation practices into your current sales process super simple. You can validate physically with a POS system, or with a mobile phone at delivery or online. The solution is simple to use, easy to implement, and accurate (99.9% accurate) enough for even law enforcement to use.
Access Intellicheck’s best-in-class functionality and get sub-second results that keep your customers moving.