Adherence Compliance, Author at Green Market Report

Founded in 2014, Adherence Compliance developed the cannabis industry’s first compliance management app and risk-based compliance score to effectively monitor marijuana businesses. Since then, Adherence has conducted more than 500 marijuana compliance inspections across the United States.

Recent Stories by Adherence Compliance
Adherence ComplianceNovember 15, 20175min00

Some of the costliest violations for marijuana businesses are related to inadequate security and surveillance systems in licensed marijuana operations. When violations or incidents occur with inventory, employees, or activities within the licensed premises, the first standard procedure is for regulatory authorities to review the surveillance system. Any issues related to the security and surveillance system are often found during reviews of other non-related infractions.

After more than 700 cannabis compliance inspections in the United States, here are the top infractions for Security & Surveillance observed via the Adherence SCORE App for cannabis compliance in 2017.

  1. The cameras do not have a clear, unobstructed view of all activity without sight blockage.
  2. All records applicable to the surveillance system are not maintained on the licensed premises.
  3. The licensee does not maintain a diagram of the surveillance camera locations, the direction of coverage, and assigned camera numbers.
  4. The licensee does not have a current list of authorized employees and service personnel who have access to the surveillance system.
  5. The video surveillance system does not have an “active” notification system for interruptions and failures (cannot be email or web-based alerts)

Best Practices for Security & Surveillance

All cameras in the facility should have a clear, unobstructed views of all activity. A good regulatory test for license owners or operators is to have an employee walk through the facility with an empty box. If during the walk through the employee and/or box are not visible on the surveillance system, then a violation can occur. As security and surveillance infractions are considered “public safety” issues, violations can be expensive and require administrative hearings with regulatory authorities. For owners, it’s best to avoid all types of violations and administrative actions to ensure the monetary value of the license itself is not diminished.

Another common infraction for security and surveillance is inadequate service and maintenance records maintained on-site. As the surveillance system is considered “evidentiary” in nature, all records must be maintained to ensure compliance. A surveillance log should include details on each occurrence of access to the DVR system, including maintenance and routine inspections. Surveillance systems should be contained in a securely locked room or cabinet and properly annotated on the diagrams of the licensed premises.

Often, the digital recording system of the DVR can fail without proper notice to the owner or operations manager. Cameras will appear “active” on the DVR monitoring system, but the hard drive behind the scenes may not be recording activity. Unless an alarming mechanism for these type of failures is “active,” i.e. a phone call or text message, it could be insufficient in terms of regulatory compliance. Passive alarms (email or web-based warning) are not considered compliant in most states or jurisdictions.

As inventory is considered ‘chain-of-custody’ in most states, a secure, fully functional security and surveillance system needs to be in place, as well as routinely reviewed and inspected. Any areas of the facility that prep, process, weigh, package, or initiate transport or receipt of the product should be under video surveillance. This will ensure any and all operational issues (missing inventory, theft, workplace injury, etc.) are recorded and can be reviewed as required by authorities. Failure to properly record operational infractions can lead to additional fines, criminal or civil penalties, probation and/or license revocation.

Best practices for marijuana businesses are to ensure:

  • Your security and surveillance provider has an in-depth service level agreement (SLA).
  • The facility diagram includes a map of cameras, with camera numbers and line of sight.
  • Time and date stamps are accurate on each DVR system and all cameras are operational.
  • The DVR system is locked and secured with a detailed access and maintenance log history.
  • A list of approved stakeholders who can access the DVR system is available at the facility.

To protect your license, product, and employees, licensees must strive to meet all related security & surveillance requirements. For more information, contact Adherence Compliance for more information.

Adherence ComplianceOctober 23, 20176min00

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is becoming active in Colorado and has plans to inspect even more marijuana businesses in 2018. Even though marijuana businesses may not be federally supported, owners still must adhere and comply with all federal laws and regulations for protecting their employees. Under the OSHA law, employers have a responsibility and obligation to provide a safe workplace.

As many marijuana businesses have grown rapidly, faster than regulatory authorities can keep up, compliance with OSHA is critical for a marijuana business to survive. Fines and citations proposed from OSHA are usually significant and can often close down businesses that are unable to absorb the financial impact.

Here are the top 5 OSHA Infractions observed via Adherence Compliance inspections in 2017:

1. The facility does not have a written Hazard Communication Plan that describes how it achieves compliance with: 1) labels on hazardous containers; 2) MSDSs for all chemicals and pesticides, and 3) hazardous chemical training for employees.
2. All relevant employees have not been trained on hazardous materials in use at the facility prior to their initial work assignment and when new hazards are introduced and documented as required.
3. The facility does not have a formal fire prevention plan (written with more than 10 employees) that addresses major hazards in the facility, accumulation of waste material, maintenance of heat-producing equipment and names and titles of employees responsible for various parts of the plan.
4. Required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has not been evaluated and documented, along with associated training plans and verification for employees.
5. The facility does not have required OSHA documentation related to workplace injury, OSHA Form 300, or Form 301 if injuries have occurred, on file.

After an employee death at a medical manufacturer in Denver, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division notified OSHA as part of its policy. If an employee death occurs on the premise of a business, OSHA performs a Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation.

Once OSHA arrived at the facility, its inspectors fitted each employee with air quality monitoring vests. The monitoring vests had two air quality monitors, one taking in sample readings every 60 seconds and one taking in a delayed reading over a two-hour period. All procedural documents were reviewed in-depth, as well as all air flow from all air ducts to the facility. The inspection process was very detailed, as OSHA needed to determine if the manufacturer was liable in the death of an employee.

OSHA Inspections and Best Practices

Once OHSA becomes involved in an incident, the facility can be expected to have repeat inspections from the agency for the foreseeable future. Each visit can reveal additional infractions and potential OSHA citations. Ensuring strong compliance and an effective Hazard Communication Plan up front, along with documented training processes can save a business hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, compliance, and legal costs.

Below are a few examples of OSHA citations and penalties in other industries.

Blocked exits and exit routes, fire extinguisher locations not marked, electrical panels blocked: $156,772
Investigated fire at facility, failed to maintain working fire extinguishers: $87,297
Failure to guard electrical devices, provide standard railing and handrails, lack of an effective Hazard Communication Plan, exposing employees to electrical hazards and allowing build-up of combustible materials: $214,633
Failing to report employee illness, exposing workers to infectious bacteria, failure to complete OSHA Form 301, failure to record injury or illness within seven (7) calendar days of occurrence, failure to provide requested records within four business hours: $1.9 million

Many of the same types of infractions are often found during compliance inspections at marijuana businesses. Marijuana businesses can learn from where other industries have failed and what types of infractions OSHA focuses on. Once citations from OSHA are received, businesses have 15 days to comply and may be called to an independent OSHA Review Commission meeting. Start by preparing for future OSHA inspections today.

How Can Businesses Prepare?

The most viable, low-cost option is to hire a reputable 3rd party compliance inspection company to review overall compliance and support your internal team. The process should be automated and provide a detailed compliance report to track and monitor areas of compliance. Any areas where these items are missing or lacking usually requires a deeper inspection where additional infractions may be uncovered. One violation often leads to another.

OSHA does offer an On-Site Consultation Program for free and confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country. Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in fines or penalties. Availability is limited, and access to services may vary from location to location.

Reducing workplace injuries and illnesses can help improve your bottom line. Marijuana businesses must get ahead of the upcoming compliance curve and prepare for all federal, state, county, and city regulatory inspectors. Your business or investment may depend on it.

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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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