Receiving a cannabis compliance violation notice in California can be a daunting experience. After investing so much time, effort, and money into building your business, the thought of it all being at risk due to non-compliance can be overwhelming.
The cannabis industry in California is rigorously regulated, and compliance violations can lead to severe consequences. As a cannabis business operator, it's crucial to understand the steps you need to take if you receive a cannabis compliance violation notice. This guide will provide you with an understanding of the potential consequences, how to respond to citations or penalties, and tips on maintaining compliance with California's cannabis laws and regulations.
Potential Consequences of Non-Compliance
Non-compliance with cannabis regulations in California can result in severe penalties. These include the denial of commercial cannabis licensure, issuance of a citation, license suspension, or even revocation1. In some cases, the Department of Cannabis Control may place your license on probation as a result of successful enforcement.
If a violation poses an imminent health hazard, the facility could be closed, and the public health permit suspended until the violation is corrected3. Furthermore, fines issued with a citation must be paid within 30 calendar days after service of the citation unless the fine is contested.
Responding to Citations or Penalties
Below, we walk you through the steps you should take after receiving a cannabis compliance violation:
Understanding the Notice
The first step is to understand the violation notice thoroughly. These notices are not mere suggestions but demands from governing organizations that require immediate attention. Most cases have a deadline to respond or comply, and missing it could escalate the situation. It's essential to start early, giving you ample time to gather any resources you may need and consult with experts or attorneys if necessary.
Addressing the Violation
Upon receiving a cannabis compliance violation, it's imperative to address the underlying issue that resulted in the violation and fulfill all necessary steps required by the notice. This might involve paying a fine, submitting the required paperwork, or even more complex tasks like addressing environmental violations if you're a grower. Swift action is crucial, as penalties for repeat violations can increase in severity.
Remedying the Issue
Once you've addressed the violation, it's time to fix the procedure that led to it. Typically, violations result from flaws in operational procedures. Review your existing tools, including equipment and personnel, and ensure they meet the business's needs. If the violation was due to a missed deadline, ensure that the necessary paperwork is filed promptly in the future.
Implementing a Compliance Management Program
To avoid future violations, consider implementing a compliance management program. Such a program can help you keep track of permits and licenses, develop standard operating procedures, and ensure that all aspects of your business are in compliance with California's cannabis regulations.
Seeking Professional Help
Finally, if you're feeling overwhelmed by a cannabis compliance violation, don't hesitate to seek professional help. There are legal firms that primarily practice cannabis compliance management and can guide you through the process, ensuring that you address the violation appropriately and set your business up for success moving forward.
Talk with Our Cannabis Business Compliance Attorneys
Navigating cannabis compliance violations can be challenging, but with the right approach and resources, you can turn this roadblock into an opportunity for improving your business processes. The team at Purdy & Bailey, LLP is here and equipped to help cannabis businesses with their compliance cases.
Get in touch with our team online or via phone at (858) 360-7080.