Cannabis enforcement ramps up, but you control your risk

Cannabis entrepreneurs face a long list of lessons to learn on their journey through the industry.

Recently, lessons about compliance and risk have proven to be pivotal for cannabis business longevity and health.

The number one lesson is that there is no such thing as a gray cannabis market. If you are not compliant with all applicable laws, or if you engage in activities that flout regulations, your business is illegal.

You can mitigate risk of violations by working with experts who stay on top of changes in regulations and help you out with regular compliance audits.

Taking on the risk of operating illegally is not worth it.

Don’t believe us? See below for cautionary tales.

Sweet Leaf shakedown

This winter the cannabis industry witnessed its first conviction of business owners who broke cannabis laws while operating an otherwise properly licensed dispensary – and it is important to note they were indeed breaking cannabis laws.

Once the owners of the largest chain of dispensaries in Colorado, the people behind Sweet Leaf were charged with participation in a program of looping, which involved customers making multiple purchases in one day to get around purchase limits. Authorities said 2.5 tons of this improperly bought cannabis made its way to the black market, according to news reports.

The owners received a sentence of a year in jail each.

Key takeaway: Looping is a real risk that you, your budtenders and your business all carry. But it is preventable – you can look for signs that it is happening and work to prevent it.

Growing pains in Los Angeles