7 Cannabis Compliance Risks that Every Cannabis Dispensary Can Avoid

cannabis compliance

THC and CBD are sweeping the markets giving a safe form of relief to those in need across the country.


Of course, the legalization of cannabis—not to mention the acceptance of it—is still in its early stages. This means that the legal lines involved can be a bit blurred.

The legal status of medical and recreational cannabis is evolving. These legalities vary from state to state, but there is one thing that is certain:

Maintaining compliance with cannabis regulations is essential to preserving your reputation and your license to operate.


Maintaining a successful dispensary is simple. All you have to do is understand the cannabis compliance risks and how to avoid them. 

Cannabis Compliance Risks

Complying with the laws and regulations of the cannabis industry is rule number one. Everything from cultivation to sales must follow state and county regulations. This includes local laws and regulations as well.

While this may be a basic rule, the details involved are anything but basic. The entire cannabis industry still has a stigma attached to it. With that stigma comes a lot of scrutiny. So any cannabis compliance missteps can result in a negative impact to your brand image. It can also result in a hefty fine, a complete shut-down—or all the above.

Regulatory audits are will make or break a business. To ensure you avoid any cannabis compliance issues during the audit, we’ve made a list of seven potential missteps to avoid.

#1 Unable to Recognize Fake ID

Among the top cannabis compliance risks, this is the most common.

Compliance regulators check on this routinely to make sure dispensaries are vigilant in checking that the customers are of legal age or that they have medical status. This is typically carried out as a “sting” during which law enforcement will send in an underaged individual to make an attempted purchase.

Dispensaries that fail this compliance check are usually criminalized all over social media to discredit their representation of the entire industry.

#2 Neglecting Security Requirements

Security requirements in cannabis compliance go beyond an alarm system and video surveillance. A number of specifications apply between state laws and local ordinances.

Inventory must be properly surveilled among all stages of transportation and storage as well as properly managed. Any discrepancies in inventory can result in a very large fine and other penalties.

#3 Allowing Customers to Loop

The term looping refers to customers who go to dispensaries, make a maximum product purchase, and returns to make another maximum purchase. This compliance issue obviously has to do with those who purchase cannabis products with with the intention to distribute the product for resale.

Failure to catch looping customers in your dispensary can and will most likely result in jail time—for both parties involved. (This also goes for overselling after a customer has reached their maximum).

#4 Expired or Improper Licenses

Every state has its own regulations for the licensing required among medical and retail cannabis dispensaries. There are business licenses, retail licenses, dispensary licenses, cultivation licenses and other specific documents needed on municipal and state levels.

Failure to have the necessary and up to date paperwork is one of the biggest cannabis compliance mistakes. It’s crucial to know and keep current whichever licenses you need, and this includes having all application and/or association fees paid. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting shut down.

#5 Neglecting to Comply with Product Safety Laws

Some of the greatest cannabis compliance risks are the issues with safety, packaging, and labeling of the products. Of course, specific regulations also vary within each state. In most states, all products must be childproof and any warnings and symbols must be clearly marked on each individual product.

You’ll have to learn your states’ local laws and keep an eye out for any changes to remain compliant. 

#6 Violation of Patient/Customer Privacy

People still value their privacy—as well as their credit card information. The last thing you want to deal with is a data breach in your system. Make sure you know what your state requirements for information retention are as well as implementing the proper security measures for your technology.

Your customers’ information isn’t the only thing you want to protect—keep in mind that you don’t want to lose any transaction history or inventory records either. If you lose any of this information or if there’s a violation of privacy, you could be facing civil and/or criminal penalties.

Dispensary Compliance is Good Business

Cannabis compliance risks can easily be avoided with proper research and planning. The legalization of cannabis and cannabis products is still fairly new, which is why as a dispensary owner, you and your business are under a microscope. You must be on your toes at all times to ensure that your business not only thrives but remains intact for years to come.

If you have any questions or concerns about licensing and for your cannabis business, we’re here to help with our cannabis consulting services. 

Cannabis Dispensary Design Best Practices and Examples

Medical marijuana in large jar

It’s no secret that the legal use of marijuana has been on the rise in recent years. It’s only a matter of time before the legislation gets passed on a federal level. 

Now is the time to start building profits from the cannabis industry. After all, dispensaries are popping up everywhere. Statistics show that in the year 2017 alone, there were already over 20,000 cannabis businesses throughout the United States. 

If you want to break into the cannabis business, you need a top-notch dispensary design. Well, the good news is that you’ve come to the right place by reading this article.

Detailed below is everything you need to know about starting your new dispensary the right way. Don’t underestimate how important a proper design strategy can be. If you want your customers to prefer you over your competitors, you’ll take the following guidance seriously. 

Start By Researching Competitors in Your Area

It’s understandable to get excited about this new endeavor. You might be tempted to jump right in to make some profits as soon as possible. 

Still, it’s a better idea to wait and ensure you’re designing your new business properly. After all, there are a lot of details to consider when it comes to opening a successful cannabis dispensary

That’s why the first step to opening a dispensary is ensuring you do plenty of research. Are their popular dispensaries that already exist in your city? What do their design plans look like?

Don’t be afraid to check them out in person before you start designing your own shop. Don’t be disrespectful when you visit, but it’s okay to ask questions.

Think about which characteristics work for their design plan and which don’t. Then, you can take that information back to your drawing table and tweak those details suit the needs of your dispensary. 

Be Creative with Your Brand’s Development

Of course, one of your biggest challenges with a new dispensary is making it unique. This is something that will take a lot of time and energy to develop.

One good practice is to consider the demographic makeup of your area. What ideal style makes sense for your target consumer base?

For example, should you go with a modern, sophisticated look for interior design? Would it be better to go with a rustic, country aesthetic, instead?

Take the time to come up with a branding style that you can truly resonate with. After all, a business’s brand is, in essence, the personality it presents to guests.

Your dispensary’s brand needs to stay consistent throughout the design process, too. From the logo to the name of the shop itself, don’t sell yourself short. These decisions are opportunities to stand out in your geographic location. 

At the end of the business day, your brand is going to have either a positive or negative reputation. For a positive one, keep reading to ensure every detail is taken into consideration. 

Offer Online Orders with Express Checkout Lines

Understand that you’re going to need to do whatever it takes to be the best dispensary in your area. Experts suggest that the national cannabis industry as a whole is positioned for huge growth. Over the next few years, the number of your local competitors is only going to increase. 

That’s why offering online order right off the bat is such a good idea. Of course, with legal restrictions, you won’t be able to ship the products straight to customers. They’ll have to visit the dispensary to pick up their purchases. 

Still, you can make that process easy for them by having an express checkout line. Doing so will encourage more online orders by repeat customers who know what they want. Then, your sales associates will be freed up to spend more one-on-one time with guests who need the attention. 

Keep Your Guests Comfortable in the Waiting Area

Making the interior design shine goes a long way in developing brand loyalty. If you want repeat business, every detail matters when it comes to making that positive reputation. 

Visual appeal is only one way to impress these guests, though. Don’t forget about another crucial factor: comfort level. 

As marijuana becomes more popular, larger profiles of customers are starting to show up. Ensure the space is appealing and accessible to patients, weather they are 21 or 99.

That means you need to consider every type of person who walks through your doors. Many dispensaries forget how important the waiting room is for the overall design. If people have to sit in uncomfortable chairs for twenty minutes before even seeing your product, they’ll be disappointed. 

To ensure everyone has a high-quality experience at your dispensary, don’t skimp on the waiting room. Provide some entertainment and comfy chairs. That way, visitors will be less likely to leave negative online reviews about their visit. 

Seek Professional Advice for Your New Cannabis Dispensary Design

At this point in the article, you should have a pretty good idea of how you want to plan your dispensary design. You deserve to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your investment in this business will stand the test of time. 

Still, it’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed with this new business venture. There are a lot of ins and outs to navigate when it comes to the blossoming cannabis industry. On top of that, there are a lot of legal restrictions and hurdles to consider. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to trust established professionals in the market. It’s fortunate for you, then, that cannabis consulting services exist. 

In fact, that’s where we come into play. We know how crucial it is to ensure your new dispensary is well-designed from the beginning. There’s no need to take any shortcuts that might limit your profits in the future. 

Don’t underestimate how vital this expert advice is if you want to stand ahead of your competitors. You’re not the only one in your area starting a dispensary. You can be the best, though, if you reach out to us today for our expert cannabis consulting services

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cannabis cancer patients

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cannabis compliance

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legal cannabis

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