Cannabis Operating Plans

Cannabis Operating Plans

cannabis standard operating procedures

Getting Started With Cannabis SOPs

In order to route you to the right cannabis business documents, we first need to know why you need them. Which of these categories describes your project?

1. You are looking for documents that will help you get a license.

Are you seeking a Maryland Cannabis License or Maryland Cannabis Operating Procedures? < Click the link to see the documentation templates we have for Maryland. 

Most US states, as well as all other countries require that cannabis business applicants and licensees submit operating plans or standard operating procedures to prove adequate preparedness for licensure and operations.

Pre-license Cannabis Operating Plans (for cultivation, extraction, manufacturing and retail dispensaries) are used for meeting licensing requirements. They describe how you intend to operate, once you are licensed. They are written in narrative form, as if the regulator is the reader, and they contain fairly universal best practices for each of the subject areas.

(If your application is in a competitive jurisdiction issuing a limited number of licenses, these types of cannabis operating plans will need much more detail and customization. Scroll down to #3 for more information on state-specific documents.)

These pre-license cannabis operating plans 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.
Some of our Pre-license Operating Plans work for all license types, and some are cultivation-, extraction-, manufacturing- or retail-specific. Scroll down to see our list of available cannabis operating plans in the list and/or product images below.

2. You are already operational and are seeking to codify your processes. 

In this case, you need cannabis standard operating procedures (SOPs). These are different from the documents above because they are written as instructions to workers, speaking directly to your staff members as the reader. They are in step-by-step instructional format.

It’s very common for people contacting our website to initially think they need cannabis standard operating procedures, but usually they only need operating plans to meet compliance or license application requirements, which are more like policy documents than they are like instructional manuals. (see item #1 above).

Occasionally, a jurisdiction does actually want to see your SOPs (not your plans), to see how you will be instructing your workers and on which topics.

3. You are competing for, or maintaining, a license in a particular state and require state-specific documentation. 

When the stakes are high for obtaining a license, you’ll need operating plans and/or SOPs written for your specific state. We currently have these for Illinois cultivation applicants and New Jersey cultivation, manufacturing and retail applicants. These documents are more expensive because of the extensive research we have done on the specific state’s rules and regulations. They contain policy citations and hyperlinks to the regulatory text and require very little customization.

Read more:

Illinois Cannabis Licensing
New Jersey Cannabis Licensing

4. You are seeking GAP, GPP or GACP Certification

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Production Practices (GPP) and Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) are national and international standards for maintaining the quality of farmed plants destined for consumption as foods, medicines or herbal dietary supplements. Recently, cannabis growers have begun to seek this type of compliance certification in order to qualify their crops for use in medicinal products, especially for international export. If the US federally legalizes medical or recreational cannabis, having this type of certification will become important for all US cannabis producers who operate across state and national borders.

Insurers will generally accept GAP certification and copies of associated records from cannabis producers in order to approve policy coverage. Wholesale buyers will also likely accept GAP certification as a consistent standard for their product quality standards.

If you are seeking formal SOPs for GAP/GPP/GACP Compliance, Contact Us by email. It will take some strategizing to ensure exactly the right materials are being created and delivered.

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

Here is our current list of cannabis operating plans:

All of our Cannabis 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 operating plans can use these documents to save quite a lot of time and money compared to having them custom written. Rules vary somewhat from one jurisdiction to another, and they also change quite frequently given the infancy of the industry. These cannabis operations plans are templates that probably still need to be customized and reviewed by a cannabis business expert or compliance attorney before submittal. Otherwise, the licensing process could be significantly delayed.


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