Best Practices: Compliance – Be Diligent and Redundant Part 1 of a 3 Part Series
Right now, the LCB is occupies with processing new licenses applications and with integrating Washington’s medical marijuana businesses into I-502. As the market stabilizes, the LCB will place more and more emphasis on enforcement and compliance. In addition, the federal government will not sit on the sidelines forever. Local Department of Justice prosecutors have been given their enforcement priorities, and rest assured the DOJ will begin to exercise them. Producers, processors and retailers must remain vigilant to ensure their operations do not implicate any of the 8 enforcement priorities outlined in the memos issued by Deputy Attorney General James Cole, lest you find yourself in a federal courthouse.
Here are some keys to avoiding LCB fines and suspensions, and more importantly, staying out of federal prison:
- Be Diligent and redundant in your compliance efforts.
- Catch your errors before the LCB does, or worse yet, the DOJ does. Conduct periodic compliance assessments of your operations, including secret shoppers. For objectivity, hire a third party compliance company to conduct regular on-site assessments. Be sure to record the results and document how and when deficiencies are corrected.
- Designate one of your employees as your Compliance Officer/Manager who takes responsibility for knowing I-502’s requirements. Make sure this person is property trained in I-502’s requirements, and be sure to give this person appropriate authority to take action when he/she finds items that need to be corrected.
Keep your I-502 License file up to date – if there are changes to ownership, etc., let the LCB know.
Attention all stoners and college dropouts! It may be time to head back into the classroom and pursue an education in marijuana studies! Is it no wonder that with more than six universities offering pot related classes that students are lining up to fill the classrooms and funny enough, they are never late to class?
With Washington, Colorado, Oregon and now Alaska, leading the way in legalizing recreational marijuana, there now exists an obvious conflict between state and federal laws and an obvious void in its regulation. A nebulous area has been created which will now lead to the proposal of new laws and the clarification of existing ones. It is likely that these will not be the last states to move in this direction and as such, the need for reform and regulations in the legal system is paramount.
Harvard University has a class called Tax Planning for Marijuana Dealers, the University of Denver has a class on Representing the Marijuana Client and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State has a class on Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform. Students will have the benefit of looking into the policies and politics in those states that are at the forefront of legalization. Interesting enough, casebooks and textbooks are just now being written for use in the classroom. With the state of the law in flux and new developments in the field occurring at rapid speed students can participate in and have an influence on the direction of these course studies.
Also, lawyers with expertise in cannabis law will be needed in the next few years in order to ‘weed’ out all of the new issues and policies in the marijuana industry.
The current generation has an opportunity to be involved in the regulatory process for recreational marijuana. So why not grab your spirals and pencils and head back to school?