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    May 27, 2022

    Cannabis Compliance Warehousing Guide for Manufacturers, Wholesalers, and Retailers

    Within any warehouse, the processes that dictate inventory management and order fulfillment can make or break the bottom line. For heavily regulated products like cannabis, state and local compliance requirements are an added layer of concern. 

    Businesses know the strain of staying up-to-date on cannabis compliance requirements. Security protocols, transportation requirements, and documentation reporting. These are all examples of highly-regulated aspects of the cannabis business. Furthermore, failure to comply with local and state regulations can lead to serious consequences—including loss of license, large fines, and suspension of business. 

    To establish cannabis compliance, businesses will need to:

    • Be knowledgeable of local and state regulations
    • Implement standard operating procedures for compliance
    • Create a process for reinforcing compliance
    • Measure and record cannabis compliance

    Automating processes and reports can improve the productivity of any warehouse—even more so when regulatory compliance is an aspect of the business. 

    Infoplus’ Warehouse Management Software (WMS) ensures that products are handled appropriately throughout the process. Inventory status and quality control can be tracked with barcode scanners every step of the way. As product moves through the warehouse toward fulfillment, the data collected will provide the basis for the necessary government reports. This reporting can be automated with pre-canned documents filled with relevant data and sent off. Infoplus’ WMS allows cannabis compliance to become streamlined.

    State and Local Cannabis Compliance Regulations

    With a plethora of evolving cannabis regulations from various authorities, it can be challenging to remain in compliance with local and state requirements. Additionally, cannabis businesses need to be prepared for both state-level and OSHA inspections.

    Each state has different regulatory requirements. In Oregon, there is a regulatory structure for medical marijuana and one for recreational marijuana. Meanwhile, in California, there are over a dozen state agencies involved. A map of each state’s general cannabis information with regulatory structure can be found here

    It’s important for companies to determine what expectations local and state authorities have for their warehouses. A business may even invite an inspector to walk through the facility and provide feedback when in doubt.

    Utilizing the right WMS will ensure the business is not only following regulation but able to quickly pivot and adapt as those rules inevitably change.

    How to Maintain Warehouse Compliance

    Cannabis companies need to determine their state and local requirements at the inception of the business, as well as obtain the necessary licenses and ensure the regulations are followed. However, maintaining compliance throughout daily operations, and documenting these procedures, provides a host of challenges.

    For example, medical marijuana facilities in Missouri are required to:

    • Follow certain procedures to ensure the product remains free from contaminants;
    • Implement inventory control systems and procedures;
    • Use a department-certified seed-to-sale tracking system;
    • Manufacturers, specifically, are required to establish and maintain a perpetual inventory system that documents the flow of materials throughout the manufacturing process.

    Additionally, Missouri has strict regulations in regard to warehouse location, security requirements, waste management, package branding, and record-keeping. 

    It is, therefore, essential that cannabis businesses create warehouse procedures around the regulations they must follow. The entire process of handling goods will be influenced and ultimately determined by these compliance regulations.

    This combination of sound warehousing processes that also follow local and state regulations is what Infoplus automates best. The WMS records information into its centralized system from the moment the product arrives. Here, the product enters inventory and receives a serial, product ID, and lot tracking abilities. 

    This ensures that each product moves smoothly throughout complex fulfillment procedures, environmentally controlled storage, and quality control, allowing for end-to-end tracking and simplified government paperwork.

    Creating Standard Warehouse Procedures

    Cannabis warehouses can and should systemize procedures for personnel, documentation, facility, and products. One way this can be done is with good manufacturing practices (GMPs). 

    GMPs operate as a how-to manual for every aspect of the business; this may include:

    • Employee training
    • Hygiene
    • Clearly outlined warehouse processes
    • Records and documentation
    • Quality control
    • Returns and recalls
    • Equipment safety
    • Streamlined system for investigating complaints
    • Facility requirements
    • Risk management

    Even outside of cannabis-specific regulations, state governments often require certain procedures to ensure employee and consumer safety. GMPs are a good way to standardize these requirements company-wide.

    Compliance for Manufacturers

    Manufacturing cannabis includes several potential chemical, physical, and biological hazards. Cannabis manufacturers are required to comply with OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. Many cannabis manufacturers aspire to meet federal regulations before it is required by law. Cannabis manufacturers with this goal should work on GMP-certification and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).

    The Importance of Record Keeping

    A vital aspect of maintaining cannabis compliance is keeping sound records. Every individual state has record-keeping requirements for cannabis compliance. To this end, it is important to maintain an organized system with controlled access. 

    Infoplus’ WMS has the ability to automate the documentation process for each step of the business—from production and transportation to storage and distribution. 

    Tracking metrics and relevant KPIs is a necessary part of any warehousing operation. With cannabis, the purpose is twofold: setting benchmarks and reports to measure productivity and ensuring the company is falling within the legally required parameters. Documentation is an essential aspect of compliance that Infoplus is able to streamline.

    Preparing for the Future

    While there are many state and local regulations, a business must adopt at its inception and follow consistently going forward. As the industry evolves, so do the requirements. 

    Managers dealing with cannabis must adhere to the same inventory and warehouse management basics as with any other product. Efficient fulfillment, quality control, and the customer experience are essential to success. As a heavily regulated substance, cannabis has added challenges for storing, selling, and shipping product. 

    The leaders of tomorrow’s cannabis industry exceed the current requirements, often reaching to meet federal standards. This is possible with warehouse management systems designed to streamline both aspects of the business—operations on the warehouse floor and the necessary documentation and compliance reporting. 

    Infoplus products are capable of juggling regulations, audits, documentation, typical logistics operations, and more. Clients boast that Infoplus creates “order from chaos and simplifies industry best practices.”

    Book a demo today.

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