July 30, 2021 | Written By: Manzuri Law

A common question we’ve been receiving is how cannabis retailers can be prepared for a compliance inspection by the Department of Cannabis Control, (“DCC”), formerly known as the Bureau of Cannabis Control. With the regulatory body shifting from BCC to DCC, the agency is also shifting from a position of license holder compliance education to legitimate enforcement. Inspections are only going to get more prevalent as time goes on, and it’s in your best interest to be ready for one by staying compliant.

Periodic Audits from the Bureau of Cannabis Control

The DCC has certain requirements that they need to check off when conducting an audit. The most common considerations include making sure your facilities, employees, products, and procedures are compliant with California State and local laws. Here’s a list of requirements that you must comply with:

Security Guards

All retailers must employ security guards to prevent theft, loss, or diversion. . A guard is required to be in the store at all times while  the retailer is open. The guards are responsible for monitoring all activity, ensuring no thefts occur, and ensuring consumers do not consume their products on site. They will also make sure that employees do not sell any cannabis products without a proper license.

If you’re in Los Angeles, your guards must be at least 21 years old and licensed by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. ​Guards should have all required documentation on them and keep current with required certifications.

Limited Access Areas

The DCC requires retailers to have limited access areas designated only for employees  with no public access. Additionally, the limited access areas  must contain commercial-grade locks  and an alarm system that will notify the guard and license owners of any attempts to breach security.

Visitors to the Limited Access Areas must be accompanied by either an employee or licensee at all times. All visitors records must be maintained using a visitor log.

Surveillance System

Cameras should cover the entire premises and be especially vigilant in monitoring the POS images and ensuring clear facial recognition in the recordings. You’re required to keep video footage for a minimum of 90 days. 

Employees

All employees must wear a name badge with their color photograph and employee ID number along with your business’ license DBA and license number. Train your employees to wear the badge at all times when conducting any commercial cannabis business.

Absolutely No Minors Allowed

In a DCC audit, inspectors assess the retail area access procedure to ensure that your employees confirm each customer’s age using a valid form of identification. No persons under 21 years of age are permitted in retail dispensaries, with the exception of medical users over 18 with a valid ID and medical recommendation.

Product Labels and Display

Print the Health and Safety Code 11359.5 warning label on each product container or package. Be sure that all your products are prepackaged within resealable, child-resistant containers and placed in opaque exit packaging once sold. Label “For Medical Use Only” on products made only for medical patients.

Live plants and seeds are subject to different labeling requirements and may be evaluated by inspectors who look for prohibited pesticides and maturity levels.

Place all cannabis products behind the counter, not visible on shelves to ensure a standard of consumer protection.

Track and Trace

Cannabis inspectors have the task of verifying if a licensee properly reported all goods in California’s Track and Trace system, which must be done within 24 hours after any transaction.

Premises

The layout of your premises must match the diagram you submitted in the DCC application. Prior to the inspection, ensure DCC has the most up-to-date premises diagram and site plan.  Always be sure to have any changes to your premises diagram approved prior to executing/implementing the changes. 

If you are licensed in a jurisdiction that allows for the consumption of cannabis onsite, be sure that  consumption practices comply with all relevant regulations. In almost all cases, the consumption area must not be visible to the public and should only be accessible to persons 21 and over (or 18+ with the appropriate medical recommendation). Lastly, you can’t sell any tobacco and/or alcohol products on the licensed premises.

To ensure that you’re well prepared for a DCC visit, reach out to us to help get complete coverage and compliance across all checkpoints.

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.

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