Cannabis Operating Plans

Cannabis Operations Documents

cannabis standard operating procedures

Getting Started With a Cannabis Facility

In order to route you to the right cannabis business documents, we first need to know why you need them. Here are the possible reasons:

  • You are trying to obtain a license (the primary purpose of our current document product line)
  • You are trying to optimize operations
  • You are trying to obtain insurance
  • You are trying to get a certain retailer with high standards to distribute your product line

The second thing that needs to be taken into account is your license type. Your document needs will be somewhat different based on whether you will be operating a retail outlet, cultivation facility, extraction, manufacturing, or distribution business. Some of our documents work for any license type and others are specific to that license type.

It’s very common for people contacting my website to initially think they need cannabis standard operating procedures, but usually they only need documents to meet compliance standards, which are more like policy documents than they are like instruction manuals. Read more below on this topic.

Contact Jennifer for further discussion if you need a combination of the two, or only SOPs. Otherwise, keep reading…

Are You Seeking a Cannabis License?

Most US states, as well as all other countries require cannabis business applicants and licensees submit operating plans to prove adequate preparedness for operations. These plans are somewhat like SOPs, but they are written for the government regulators, to assure them of the safety and security of 1) the licensee’s building 2) the workers at the business 3) the general public, including minors 4) consumers of the products sold and 5) the environment. The most common cannabis operations plans I’ve encountered in every set of state or national regulations are:

    • A Security Operating Plan

      The Security Plan describes how the facility is going to be protected and how the product will stay confined to certain Limited or Restricted Access Areas. Most jurisdictions will want applicants to describe perimeter security, building security–both physical and human–camera locations, types of locks used, video recording protocols, signage, visitor access and tracking, product access and tracking, transfer of product within and to external locations, and more.

      Be careful not to confuse a hardware security plan, which is a visual layout of cameras, alarms, and security lights with a narrative Security Plan, which contains policies, responsibilities, training and procedures in paragraph form. Ours is the latter. Click Here to read more about our Cannabis Security Plan template.

    • A Cultivation Operating Plan

      Describes the layout of the production space, major equipment choices, environmental controls and settings, plant management methods in each stage of growth, media and substances to be used in and on the plants, and day-to-day mechanical maintenance requirements of the site. Some jurisdictions will only require a floor plan showing canopy locations, but it’s still important to have cultivation policies and procedures worked out and documented. Click here to read more about our Cannabis Cultivation Operating Plan template.

    • A Quality Assurance Plan

      Describes how the site, the plants, and products made from plants will be inspected, tested and labeled to ensure easy traceability in the event of an adverse reaction by a consumer. Also describes how a product recall will be handled. The detail involved with required Quality Control Procedures can vary quite a bit from one jurisdiction to another and sometimes includes GAP (Good Agricultural Practices), GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) or GPP (Good Product Practices) standards, which are specialized and more rigorous. Click here to read more about our Cannabis Quality Control Procedures template.

    • Staffing and Training Plan

      Describes the organizational hierarchy of the business (Organizational Chart), the job requirements of each position (for hiring), and the job responsibilities of that position (once they’ve been hired). This plan is a foundational document in the set because it contains over 140 site functions in an appended Training Matrix that teach new cultivation businesses all of the topics they need to learn, document and then teach to their managers and employees. Click here to read more about our Cannabis Staffing and Training Plan.

All of our Cannabis Standard Operating Plans are written to represent average industry standards and contain all of the topics we’ve encountered reading various sets of regulations from across the US and the world, with placeholder text that shows standard information you can edit to make your own.

The applicant or licensee who needs standard operating procedures can use these documents to save quite a lot of time and money compared to having them custom written. That said, these cannabis operations plans are templates that still need to be customized and reviewed by a cannabis business or compliance attorney before submittal.

Rules vary somewhat from one jurisdiction to another, and they also change quite frequently given the infancy of the industry. Because of this, a cannabis business compliance expert should approve customized operations plans before they are submitted. Otherwise, the licensing process could be significantly delayed.


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