Build Out While You Build Out 

January 26, 2023
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Build Out While You Build Out 


In our industry, it’s not just about construction. Our highly regulated industry requires foresight and documentation to ensure the greatest chance for success. Most owners are excited to get their license, begin demolition, and to build the business of their dreams. However, in the excitement, they can often overlook the process of building out their operational compliance infrastructure.


The process of building out your operations will uncover details that impact compliance in two ways: 

  1. Your plan is not complete and may require changes to meet local, state and federal regulations; or 
  2. Your plan was completed by someone else and now needs to be reviewed by your team to ensure the documentation supports your operations. 


Too often we see “copy and paste” consultants who may have submitted licensing applications on behalf of cannabis businesses without customization to actual reality. This means when it’s time to press “go” and open the doors, their staff lacks cohesion, documentation goes missing, and no one is clear exactly what needs to be done, when, and how to do it. Just like in construction, we have a few surefire ways to make sure your cannabis compliance and operations are just as solid as the building you put them in.


  • Demolition – Destroy the ideas you think you had

Similar to the first step in construction, we make sure we demolish the ideas that aren’t going to work. In cannabis, there are a million ways to do something wrong and only a few ways to make sure it’s done in compliance. At this stage, we want to review the application work submitted to win the license and dig out the bones of any warranties and representations made to the government. In this process, you learn what is good and should be kept and frankly, what needs to be thrown out while you demolition your building.  


  • Maintain Infrastructure – Warranties, Representations, and Structure

At this stage, it’s about development, planning, and proper execution of design plans, policies, procedures, and protocols. This means knowing what regulators will expect from the approved applications you submit. It also means getting a handle on business financials, staffing needs, and defining initial and future positions and organizational charts. With our experience in this sector, we can help you build out your compliance infrastructure to ensure your business is successful by making sure we keep the retaining walls intact and work around the pillars of what will make your business operate in compliance.


  • Rebuild – Plans are NOT SOPs

We can’t stress this enough: Application Plans ARE NOT SOPs. Standard Operating Procedures take time to flush out because they take cohesive effort by management and subject matter experts to develop. There is no one size fits all approach to building a licensed facility, and the same applies to developing and building out compliance documentation for marijuana businesses. Every grow has a different methodology, every processor has different recipes, and every dispensary has different ways of selling. Once we know what will work and won’t, iComply takes the time to pull this intellectual property from cannabis operators to draft initial SOPs that comprehensively cover the rules by integrating and referencing them according to each role in your organization. This way, you can ensure all bases are covered by standardizing operations from the beginning and ensuring the walls don’t fall down around your business.


  • Finishing Touches – Turn SOPs into employee training

Once SOPs are finalized, the fun part of equipping your business begins. We make sure that SOPs match operational reality as the buildout process continues by ensuring that each person has their roles and responsibilities identified and subdivided into employee training manuals. This is crucial in creating job descriptions and setting internal expectations among front line employees and management. Too often, without proper documentation of training and these materials, fingers get pointed, and compliance slips through the cracks. 


  • Preparing for Success – Hiring, Training, and Mock Operations Prior to Opening

Once hired, new employees are either thrown into chaos or into a well developed training program. With the rest of your infrastructure built out, hiring becomes a breeze, and good employees are better identified – saving the organization money from turnover. That first staff at any location is critical as they will carry the compliance infrastructure forward with the new team over time. Before opening, we help operators run through mock inspections with new hires, go over key HR policies, and ensure all procedures are trained and documented before marijuana arrives.


  • Measure and Adjust – Check in on operational areas of compliance periodically

Just like periodically checking the building itself, compliance can deteriorate over time. We help clients audit, inspect, and stress-test their operations to deal with the inevitable curveballs of inaccurate inventory, compliance slip-ups, recalls, or failed testing. In this way, we check into new and existing operations to make sure the train is staying on the right track. Our compliance packages are especially effective and helpful in monitoring compliance concerns, adjusting to changing rules and regulations, and to ensuring everyone stays on the same page operationally. 


The last thing anyone wants is for their marijuana business to fail due to inefficient, ineffective, and inaccurate operational compliance. It’s the keystone to building a sustainable company in the cannabis industry and to ensuring the longevity of your marijuana business. If you want to last as long as the property you put your business in, be sure you build out while you build out – failure to do so makes your business a house of cards waiting to fall.


Contact us today to learn more about how we can help build your compliance to last a lifetime.