On Canna Compliance, Do You Know What You Don’t Know?

On Canna Compliance, Do You Know What You Don’t Know?

You’ve got an idea, one that you know — with all certainty — will be bulletproof in today’s cannabis industry. It might be an idea for a hemp farm north of Boulder or maybe one for creating an ancillary product to sell in Illinois or some other emerging legal market in the U.S. Regardless, you’ve got the financing lined up, the management in place and the market analyzed. The naive ask: What possibly could go wrong?

To answer: Where do you want to start?

First, you have to understand that today’s cannabis industry is a broad one that includes hemp and marijuana, as well as medical and adult-use. And every state in the nation treats different parts of cannabis differently when it comes to the legalities of it within their borders and the rules you have to meet to sell your cannabis product. 

On top of that, an array of federal agencies are all over the place on the legalities and oversight of CBD and marijuana, depending on how the products are used or consumed. FDA, USDA, FTC and a lot of other federal and state agencies will have a say on how your business is going to operate, no matter if you’re farming hemp, trading biomass or simply putting CBD in chocolate beverages.

It’s hard enough to navigate the intricacies of all these different laws and law-making bodies, but added to this is the ever-changing landscape of regulatory and compliance challenges, many of which materialize when you least expect them. They can come at all levels – city, state and federal. And if you run afoul of any of them – even unintentionally – the penalties can be costly.

It could be something as simple as not being aware that – even though your business is approved to launch – many municipalities have moratoriums you will have to face before you can get up and running. Can you afford to be in a holding pattern during this time? 

And with such a fast-growing industry as cannabis, it’s also unavoidable that state agencies and municipalities have to continually update their requirements and regulatory mandates. This means canna-business operators can’t simply file their applications and regulatory forms and forget about it, expecting to simply copy their documentation year after year. Often, when they do, they end up being out of compliance with the latest rules governing today’s businesses. 

And even though there is a general assumption that the 2018 Farm Bill gave the green light to everything hemp, the compliance requirements are actually proving to be somewhat fluid over time and as different aspects of the bill are worked out — such as with the USDA’s interim rules on U.S. hemp production, which are ongoing now and almost certainly will change in the future. If you’re not preparing for these changes now, then when will you and how?

There’s no denying that, in today’s cannabis industry, you face a vast array of moving parts with your business. And a lot of the changing variables – and the risks and opportunities they bring – often aren’t addressed until they arise. By that time, though, many regulatory issues end up being a lot more costly than they need to be.

We can help. At Full Velocity Consulting, we can aid companies and individuals who are cited for regulatory infractions or legal missteps, and we have successfully negotiated settlements with regulatory entities from the Office of the Attorney General to Colorado’s MED. Most importantly, we often can identify many of these compliance issues before they become costly and time-consuming problems for those who work in this highly regulated, and ever-changing, industry. For more information, contact info@fullvelocity.com.

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