Cannabis Compliance

Lessons Learned From a Failed Cannabis Compliance Check

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marijuana Policies

In the legal cannabis industry, it’s incredibly important to pay close attention to local and state regulations to make sure that your shop is always in cannabis compliance. Because we’re lucky to be working in the world of legalized cannabis, it’s our duty to show the world that these products can be safe, smart, and well regulated.

When a store fails a cannabis compliance check, it’s worth taking a moment to step back and examine why the infraction occurred. Beyond that, take their shortcomings as a lesson for your own cannabis business, and use that knowledge to ensure that your business won’t make the same mistakes.

Failing Cannabis Compliance Checks Can Shutter Your Business. One of Washington state’s more prominent cannabis retailers, Lux (formerly known as Stash Pot Shop), announced that it would be closing doors for 15 days starting March 13 due to a failed compliance check. In this instance, it came to light that two former employees failed to enforce the state identification checking standard when selling cannabis to undercover Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) officers.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board regularly works with underage investigative aides to ensure that cannabis shops do not sell cannabis to minors. Businesses cited for a Sale to a Minor face a 10-day suspension and a $2,500 fine for the first penalty, a 30-day suspension for a secondary penalty, and may face license cancellation for a third violation within three years.

The Washington state identification checking standard requires the following Cannabis Compliance:

  • Identification MUST be valid (not expired) and show:
    • The bearer’s date of birth,
    • The bearer’s signature (except US Military ID – see below)
    • A photograph of Bearer

Examples of acceptable identification:

  • Driver’s License, Instruction Permit, or ID card issued by any US state, territory, or district
  • Driver’s License, Instruction Permit, or ID card issued by any Canadian Province
  • Valid Washington State Temporary Driver’s License
  • US Armed Forces ID card (encrypted signature acceptable)
  • Merchant Marine ID card issued by the US Coast Guard
  • Official Passport
  • Washington State Tribal Enrollment card.

The WSCLCB may consider mitigating circumstances and allow for some negotiation regarding penalties.

Read Entire Article written by  Lisa Rough associate editor at Leafly, specializing in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics, at Leafly

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Cannabis Industry

The Cannabis Industry Is Embracing Diversity But Can Do Even Better

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marijuana Businesses, Marijuana Marketing Classes, Marijuana Policies

The Cannabis Industry exists inspite of Cannabis prohibition which was created, and kept in place, because of racist motivations. In cannabis prohibition’s earliest days, it was used as a public policy tool to target minorities.

In cannabis prohibition’s earliest days, it was used as a public policy tool to target minorities.

Harry Anslinger, the ‘father of prohibition,’ used cannabis and racist fears of bi-racial relations to scare people into supporting prohibition.

One of President Richard Nixon’s advisers admitted on the record that cannabis prohibition, and the entire War on Drugs, was created and perpetuated because it was an effective tool that allowed law enforcement to target minorities.

Cannabis prohibition is a clear form of institutional racism, proven by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition on minorities.

The cannabis industry needs to embrace minorities and encourage and assist members of minority communities to help them carve out their own part of the emerging cannabis industry.

As a cannabis community, we need to not just create a new industry – we need to create a new kind of industry. One that sees those most affected by prohibition being given an easy path to the financial rewards that are being created by a newly legal industry.

An inspiring push is underway to ensure that the future cannabis industry is diverse, led by some truly amazing members of the cannabis community.

One of my favorite organizations in the entire cannabis world is Supernova Women. Supernova is an organization founded in 2015 by and for Women of Color.

Supernova Women seeks to empower Women of Color to “become self sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy.”

From Massachusetts to California, members of Supernova Women are showing up and speaking out in favor of diversity in the cannabis industry at public hearings.

The organization has also organized events that included educational panels featuring Women of Color from the cannabis space, such as two of my personal heroes Amber Senter and Shaleen Title, both successful industry members and longtime activists.

The City of Oakland recently approve a measure which calls for half of all new cannabis permits to be issued to people from neighborhoods hit hardest by cannabis prohibition. A vast majority of cannabis arrests in Oakland were of People of Color.

As the Supernova Women Facebook page shows, the organization showed up multiple times to speak in favor of the measure, and the impact their advocacy had is obvious.

The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) was also founded in 2015. The organization serves ‘the specific needs of minority cannabis entrepreneurs, workers, and patients/ consumers.’

MCBA made headlines recently when it released model legislation that would repair the harms of the War on Drugs via ‘justice reinvestment,’ often referred to as ‘drug war reparations.’ Read More at Green Flower Media

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Marijuana Marketing for Businesses

Groups working to develop standards for cannabis businesses

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Marijuana Policies, Women Owned Cannabis Businesses

Marijuana Marketing for BusinessesCannabis trade groups, state officials and marijuana industry leaders are pursuing the development of standards and best practices covering organic certification, labor practices and energy use in a bid to further legitimize and professionalize the industry.

These efforts could bolster both the marijuana sector’s image among consumers and MJ companies’ bottom lines.

Organic certification, for example, could allow cannabis companies to shore up consumer confidence about the safety of their products and allow businesses to set higher prices for such items – much like organic fruit and vegetable growers.

Standards governing ethical labor and business practices could enable marijuana companies to set themselves apart from rivals.

And standards related to energy use and sustainable practices could help cannabis growers, in particular, become more efficient and thereby more profitable.

While other groups have developed standards for certain parts of the industry in the past – including guidelines on cultivation, manufacturing, labeling, testing and packaging – getting the entire industry to agree to them isn’t easy.

The fragmented cannabis industry lacks national powerhouse companies to help dictate best practices, and a variety of competing views on how standards should be developed makes implementation a steep hill to climb. Without a clear path forward, getting buy-in from industry players is a challenge, to put it mildly.

Organic standards

Recent headlines about pesticide-tainted cannabis in this country and Canada – where consumers have filed lawsuits against federally licensed growers – have underscored the push for organic standards in the marijuana industry.

“It’s critical that a clear, transparent standard is in place for the cannabis industry, because consumers expect that standard to exist,” said Ben Gelt, a board member of the Denver-based Organic Cannabis Association.

Policy makers and industry officials in states across the country, including Washington, Colorado and Maine, are looking at developing organic certification for cannabis.

It’s not an easy task. The federal government regulates standards for organic products, which has introduced a potential stumbling block for those trying to develop cannabis-related standards.

In Colorado, for example, an effort by state lawmakers to develop organic standards last year stalled in part amid concerns the U.S. Department of Agriculture would penalize state regulators for labeling a federally illegal substance as organic.

Gelt, however, said legislation is expected to emerge this year directing the Colorado Department of Agriculture to allow third-party groups to certify cannabis as organic. He’s optimistic such a measure would pass.

“The legislators agree with us that cannabis is here, it exists on the market, and consumers should be able to understand what product is organic and what product is not,” he said.

If organic standards are developed, Gelt expects a cannabis business owner will be in a position to charge more for organically grown marijuana, both at the retail and wholesale level. He likens it to the produce industry.

“If you buy an organic raspberry, it’s usually 15%-25% more expensive than the conventional raspberry,” he said.

Ethical business practices

To gain a leg up on rivals, MJ businesses must distinguish themselves in today’s competitive market, according to Ashley Preece-Sackett, executive director of the Ethical Cannabis Alliance in Portland, Oregon.

Standards governing ethical labor and business practices are one way to do so.

“Organizations and farms are looking for ways to let the consumer know that they care,” Preece-Sackett said. This would be a way for a cannabis business to show that its product is different and “better,” she added.

The ECA is looking to other industries for guidance while it develops its own standards.

“We’re not reinventing any wheel. We’re actually looking at fair trade standards and we’re ‘cannabinizing’ them so that we can have similar standards within our industry,” Preece-Sackett said.

ECA’s mission is to either create the standards for labor and business ethics on its own, or to link with other organizations for a unified voice. Those groups include the Organic Cannabis Association and the Resource Innovation Institute, a nonprofit that promotes energy and water conservation among MJ cultivators.

Linking the three organizations for such an effort could create a national approach, she said.

Preece-Sackett expects the ECA could have a “cannabinized” set of standards to market within the next three months.

“Once consumers catch up to that idea with cannabis, they’re going to be asking for those ethically grown products,” she added.

 

Read entire article by Bart Schaneman at Marijuana Business Daily