Cannabis quality control and quality assurance are an absolute must-have for any cannabis company, particularly when they are selling cannabis products on a large scale. Failure to comply with quality assurance tests can lead to major repercussions – think product seizures and recalls due in part to contamination or the use of incorrect pesticides. These events not only put consumers at risk but often result in sizable losses for business owners as well, both in the reputation they maintain with consumers and the financial blows they suffer as a result.

In recent years, as the demand for high-potency THC continues to grow, cannabis growers are relying on testing labs more than ever before. With potential inaccuracies in pesticide reporting and profit-driven lab practices that prioritize revenue over consumer health, it is imperative to ensure accurate results as well as informed consumers who know what they’re consuming. To stay competitive without compromising safety or quality standards, testing labs must set a standard of excellence when serving their customers – no matter how tempting other options may be.

Why Cannabis Companies Need Quality Assurance Systems

Quality assurance systems are an indispensable part of any cannabis company’s operations because they instill quality assurance as an unconscious standard of your organization that can work alongside other standard operating procedures to benefit your business. When those processes are well defined as part of your business model, it ensures that the cannabis products you handle and send out into the world will be consistent in quality and alignment with industry standards. Much in the same way that other consumable products, like water and food, are regulated, cannabis products have to be regulated as consumables to ensure the safety of consumers. With quality assurance systems in place, cannabis companies can identify potential problems quickly and take corrective measures to prevent them from escalating into costly mistakes or product recalls. In an industry as competitive as the cannabis industry, quality assurance systems are a crucial step in gaining a leg up on potential competitors, especially with the potential for federal regulation looming in the near future. Often, cannabis businesses assume that an investment in quality control is just another expense, yet it ultimately maximizes business profitability and acts as an essential investment that will continue to benefit your business even in a federally regulated world.

Developing Cannabis Quality Control Processes

Developing quality control processes for cannabis products is crucial to ensuring that your business’s QC process is as automated, efficient, and consistent as possible. While these processes will be largely unique to your business and dependent on the stage of the cannabis lifecycle you represent (from manufacturers, to growers, retailers, and more), here are a few primary best practices to keep in mind when developing SOPs:
  1. Reference your state’s regulations often, these are highly dependent on your region, and often, those regulations are a great resource when outlining your QC SOPs.
  2. Take stock of your existing business SOPs and consider how those standards compare to your QC goals. Consider areas of improvement across all areas of your business and adjust accordingly.
  3. Take the testing of products seriously by working with well-established and trustworthy labs – don’t assume that other businesses at earlier stages of the lifecycle have tested the product adequately. It’s up to you to set high standards for your organization and take accountability for the products you handle.
  4. Make the most of resources that can help you streamline and optimize your QC processes – from handling document management, tracking shipments, recording incidents, and more.
Developing quality control processes for cannabis products is a crucial part of quality assurance; ensuring that customers receive a quality product and creating a positive relationship between producers, retailers, and the end user. While these tips are far from comprehensive, maintaining an ongoing strategy for QC standard fulfillment is key – it’s important to remember that quality assurance is an ongoing journey, not a single destination.

Embedding Quality Control Into Your Overall Compliance Process

In a well-oiled compliance strategy, QC best practices can be easily included, especially in organizations that utilize ERP and software management systems to stay on top of compliance and business operations. Utilizing a software system that can help you automate processes, record incidents, monitor and track data and more is key to helping your operation run smoothly.

The first step in setting your organization up for success in QC is to take stock of your compliance process itself. If your compliance practices could use some help, now is the time to take stock of where you can improve. Even organizations with highly efficient compliance standards should consider how they can optimize their QC processes and align them to work as an extension of their existing compliance processes.
Here are a few concepts to consider as you integrate QC practices into your compliance process:

  1. When integrating your QC process with compliance practices, take notes from other industries – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to deliver high-quality products. What do GMP (good manufacturing practices) look like for food manufacturers? For drug manufacturers? Consider how you can implement those concepts at a scale that makes sense for your business.
  2. When it comes to creating scalable processes for your business, estimation isn’t going to cut it. Document systems thoroughly and create exact formulas that can be easily replicated over and over – this is key to leveling up your compliance process with QC practices.
  3. Compliance and QC standards are always evolving, which makes continued education for employees a top priority. Make continued education part of your annual compliance plan by offering opportunities for employees to review best practices in food safety, product handling, and more.

Quality assurance can be a complex and ever-changing process for busy cannabis businesses. That’s why we designed ProCanna – to help cannabis business owners stay ahead on top of compliance standards while gaining the ability to document SOPs, offer continued employee education, stay on top of regulations, and implement QC practices with ease. Reach out today to learn more!