Cannabis compliance: how cultivation consultants can help you navigate complex marijuana laws


When it comes to starting a business that will face intense regulatory scrutiny, one of the most daunting areas of necessary knowledge is cannabis compliance.

Every state and local government has their own marijuana laws, standards and licensing systems. Different production methods, like volatile extraction, may or may not be allowed. So there’s no “one size fits all” handbook you can read or offer your employees—and that presents a challenge. Then there are federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and other workplace standards to consider.

As a full-service cannabis cultivation consultant, Next Big Crop takes the weight of researching all the ins and outs of these regulations off your shoulders. We assemble and distill laws and regulations into specific, easy-to-follow steps needed to stay in compliance and maintain the privilege of doing business.

So what does this look like for an operator? When production is about to commence, we rent a location where we can bring together all company staff for about a week. We educate everyone on the regulations, safety and day-to-day operational procedures. Employees take accountability by signing off that they’ve received on-boarding training, an employee handbook and other procedural literature. This accountability applies to future employees, too.

As laws and regulations change, Next Big Crop helps create new versions of handbooks and standard operating procedures. Again, employees will document that they’ve been advised of these changes in operational methodologies. Keeping records of what protocols are in place, and who has received each type of training is another valuable practice.

For each of the Next Big Crop employees that we bring onsite for operations work or oversight, he or she trains a client employee to eventually take over that position. We provide thorough training and have a set timetable for handing over duties. To prepare for hand-off in the compliance area, a company must assign a responsible employee the role of compliance officer. We handle initial training for that person, then one of our experts would follow up with a monthly visit to the site, bringing a compliance checklist we’ve developed for that particular market.

The cannabis compliance officer will perform inventory audits, reconciliations, product and waste inventories, and periodic audits of materials and equipment. When state or local inspectors pay a visit, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with preparation. You’ll have your staff’s documentation of assessments they have done, plus the remediations they have undertaken to address issues. The inspectors are not looking for a set of boxes checked off showing that everything has always gone perfectly—in fact, they would probably be suspicious of such a sheet. They want to know: Are you taking responsibility and fixing problems as they come up?

Next Big Crop can also help on the retail and manufacturing aspects of cannabis compliance and training. We help set up financial modeling and tracking systems from seed to sale. There are several software systems out there to choose from, and we can help you find the one that’s right for your company’s needs, help tie it into your point-of-sale (POS) system, and train your staff. Then we come back a few weeks later to audit their use of the system, making sure they are entering sales and tracking information properly.

From customized SOP development to follow-up oversight, Next Big Crop will help your business be confident about compliance.

Learn more about Next Big Crop’s compliance services.