By Amber Bacca
The cannabis industry moves fast. Licensed business owners and their employees are expected to move even faster when it comes to keeping up with myriad burdensome compliance requirements. The industry itself is one of the most regulated currently in existence. In an effort to keep tabs on cannabis businesses; state, local, and some federal regulatory agencies expect us to create and utilize countless specific documents. We can also expect such agencies to request reviews of these items when necessary and at their whim.
Business owners can lose everything in the blink of an eye if required documents aren’t well-organized. Documentation disorder not only increases the chances that required business documents and functions slip through the cracks, it demonstrates poor management to authorities, encouraging them to dig deeper into your business to identify other areas of non-compliance.
In order to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences due to disorganization, business owners are urged to begin digitizing their business records and specifically compliance documents as soon as possible.
Here are 11 compelling reasons why:
1) Enhance Efficiency – Digitized documents and information can be shared with ease between owners and employees. Utilizing digital files and documents will allow you to keep everything well-organized and accessible to on and off-site staff, which will save time and effort, allowing everyone to focus on more important tasks.
2) Eliminate Threats – Digitizing your business records will not only improve daily efficiency, it will help minimize the negative effects of employee turn-over, which is disturbingly high in our industry. The threat to your cannabis business’ compliant operations is exacerbated when key employees transition out of the business and remaining staff are unable to access or locate essential documents. Digitizing all of your important documents and saving them in a central location where they can be shared between employees eliminates that threat.
3) Protect the Environment – Our green industry isn’t so green when it comes to environmental sustainability. Although sustainability is finally becoming a hot topic in the cannabis industry, we have a long way to go before we begin seeing the fruits of those conversations outweigh the environmental harm we currently contribute to. Most licensed cannabis businesses utilize staggering amounts of electricity, water, packaging, and office supplies, largely because of the many regulations we’re required to follow. If your business is eager to minimize its contribution to environmental damage, digitizing your business records is a great place to start.
4) Save Money – Businesses that utilize digital files can save hard-earned money by enhancing efficiency, which automatically shrinks labor costs. Digitalizing your business records also reduces printing costs, which not only saves you money but trees as well!
5) Reinforce Security – Digital file storage is more secure than paper. Facility break-ins or unauthorized employee access can result in leaks of sensitive information. Files in digital formats can be secured with passwords that change periodically and access to specific individuals can be restricted or granted by updating user permissions. It’s also much easier to eliminate access to digital files for employees who are leaving the company than it is to request and obtain paper files from them.
6) Find Peace of Mind – Businesses can utilize reminders to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. By implementing various controls within your facility, owners and managers can be confident that employees are taking care of required functions within the facility when necessary, morphing your business into one that is proactive rather than reactive. Businesses can employ a variety of digital solutions by utilizing excellent compliance software like Complia, by having Trax Team Solutions implement a customized Compliant Workflow Management System for you, or both!
7) Identify Gaps – There are scores of specific documents that are required by not only your state licensing authority, but also local municipalities and federal entities such as OSHA. For example, our audit list of documents for Colorado manufacturers includes almost 80 items. When you add local and federal requirements to the list, the sheer number of requirements is astounding. If these documents aren’t well-organized, it’s extremely difficult to determine whether or not all required items are present. Licensed cannabis businesses should be performing regular compliance documents audits, both internally and by hiring outside compliance experts, to ensure everything is in order. Such audits cannot be effectively performed when documents are stored in multiple locations in different formats, especially when management is unaware of where each item is located. Organizing everything digitally saves employees and consultants time when performing audits and helps ensure nothing is missed, saving you even more money and eliminating compliance gaps for your facility.
8) Appease State Regulators – Having On Demand access to your digital documents makes inspections a breeze and helps you meet various regulatory deadlines; demonstrating your commitment to compliance and helping you avoid costly penalties.
9) Augment Regulatory Filings – Once all of your state-required compliance documents are digitized and well-organized, you can facilitate numerous regulatory filings with ease. Maintaining orderly business records saves you and your staff precious time and resources when needing to compile documents for such filings. Valuable software such as Complia will even aggregate all of the documents for you, essentially automating your license renewal process.
10) Maximize Valuation – Business owners who wish to sell are rewarded with an easier transition and potentially a higher selling price when documents are well-organized and point towards a record of internal compliance. Buyers appreciate when they’re able to perform their due diligence with ease and will be far more likely to offer a higher price to those who can demonstrate responsible, compliant business operations over time.
11) Grow the Industry – Amplifying transparency not only results in a win for your business on many levels, it helps the industry move forward as a whole. Operating our businesses responsibly demonstrates to the world that we take compliance seriously, encouraging other states and local governments to allow regulated cannabis industries in their jurisdictions, which is a win for all.
Digitizing your business records is one of the single best ways to achieve the highest level of compliance while concurrently saving money for your licensed cannabis business. By harnessing the incredible technology that we now have available to us, we can move forward with mindfulness and healthier business operations.
This post is courtesy of Trax Team Solutions, an official Complia reseller. Trax Team Solutions is led by Amber Bacca, the Lead Facilitator for Cannabis Trainers, and the Lead Dispensary & Compliance Consultant for NoBo Partners. She was on the front lines managing and budtending on January 1, 2014 when Adult-use was finally legalized in Colorado, and she looks forward to continuing to serve the industry that she loves, helping it continue to blossom and grow in a very bright cannabis-laden future. Visit Trax on the web at https://www.traxteamsolutions.com/