Growing cannabis, although easy enough, can get quite involved. This is especially true when cultivating in a regulated market, which requires more than water and soil. Just one mistake, however genuine and unintentional, can cause extreme compliance problems. Luckily, states legalizing recently, or those soon about to, can learn from the errors of those before them, which are honestly rather many.
Just three good habits can help you stay ahead of established legal markets and their many regulations:
1. Get to Know Regulatory Compliance Laws
Most important in being compliant with all cultivation regulations involves knowing the applicable laws. States determine their own regulations. California decides how grow facilities must operate. It mandates action for specific steps, which it then makes necessary to ensure you can bring to market your final product. Knowing these processes, and the rules for each, early will save you money and time later.
Learning these rules can make communicating with law enforcement, lawyers, auditors, regulators, and other authorities much easier. More straightforward. In emerging industries, like cannabis, mutual transparency and education is key. Vital to making sure folks all have the same understanding and are able to converse and discuss without miscommunication, or even worse, total compliance failure.
When everybody knows what everybody is talking about, room for error disappears. When everybody understands all applicable requirements of them, growers can then try to protect themselves further, perhaps by investing in non-regulatory testing, or just R & D testing. These tests involve running detailed tests in-house. Sadly, equipment to do this can be very expensive.
To this end, many growers build solid relationships with testing labs and marijuana delivery companies. To reduce potential for risk, these run a variety of sample tests. The more you comply, the less chance anyone can say you made him or her sick. Since you test beforehand, you know the impossibility of this. If buying clones, for example, test a sample first to prevent compliance failure in mature plants.
2. Make Operating Procedures Standard
Standard operating procedures, or SOPs, offer you good defense in some trying scenarios. In fact, writing them as detailed as possible can protect you from legal trouble and compliance failure. A good SOP makes clear just how employees must perform each task, such as how they must transplant, or cut clones, or trim, or what needs doing. It must include all materials, equipment, and even have purpose.
While it can be difficult writing SOPs for unbuilt facilities, establishing solid general procedures is always wise and provides a good place from where to start. These do not require perfection. At least not initially. SOPs are living documents, as such; you should be constantly refining them, improving them, bettering them at every possible chance over time, or searching “weed delivery Santa Monica” instead.
What is more, all employees should undergo regular training to ensure they know the most updated versions, and are aware of revision histories and other pertinent records. This data makes it easier for you to grow quality. It also helps to inform decisions and behaviors that could mitigate potential disaster in future, such as diseases, pests, and other economic hardships.
Incorporate Integrated Pest Management Procedures, or IPMs
IPMs or Integrated Pest Management Systems offer another way to avoid economic losses. Pests can wreak extreme havoc, with horrible consequences. Think lower yields, microbial issues, and other possible woes. Sadly, once infestations become apparent, remedies often come too late and are very costly. Prevention is always key, which is why IPMs have five important tenets:
- Identify potential pests
- Monitor for pests
- Establish plans for action
- Implement control tactics
- Record all results
Control tactics can include the employment of a variety of controls, whether biological, chemical, cultural, or mechanical. A positively pressurized room is an example of a cultural control, whereas mechanical controls are more for cleaning and sanitizing. Other crops, aside from weed, need a state-licensed person on site to oversee any chemical controls used, such as pesticides.
Adopting compliance tactics like these offers numerous advantageous. More importantly, it can help you avoid the use of chemicals or other controls that could cause regulatory failure later. Finally, be sure to keep records of all pest outbreaks, all plant locations, and all pesticides used. Keep them updated. Such practices can highlight new trends and protect you against potential legal conflict.
3. Design Your Facility Efficiently
For growers, cross-contamination is a very real and serious threat. However, an inefficient facility design is usually to blame for it. For this reason, setting up proper workflow and designing your grow space with efficiency in mind can lower cross-contamination risks. It will also increase compliance. Know how much space each plant will require at each stage of its growth. Reduce foot traffic between areas too.
A sensible workflow is paramount. For example, if you need to mix pesticides in a certain area, have an eyewash station nearby for it. If you do not have such, then you really should. Having the right facility design and SOPs, training programs, and with compliance and regulatory testing in mind, you should be well on the way to creating a successful cultivation facility that boasts full compliance.
These practices and others, for cannabis delivery and other aspects of industry too, are standard for agricultural practices and facilities in environments regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. By copying them, you can potentially prevent regulatory failure, which will make your operation safer, more efficient, profitable, and most important of all, credible in the industry.