10. NOTHING HAZY ABOUT THE LAWS

Marijuana (or cannabis) is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world and Mass. has the strictest rules governing its production, retailing, grow, testing and security operations.

9. YOU CAN BE RAIDED

Marijuana businesses must comply with federal, state, city and county regulations and requirements. Despite medical-use legality in the Commonwealth, the DEA can raid a registered dispensary at will since the plant is classified Schedule I, illegal at the federal level. Insurers have lined up to offer “raid insurance.”

8. SCHEDULE I DEFINED

Despite university research proving its medicinal benefits, pot is still classified Schedule 1, defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

7. BANKING ON SMOKE

Although difficult to find, more than 300 state banks and credit unions are currently banking marijuana businesses. In 2015, marijuana sales exceeded $5 billion according to cannabis advocates Arcview Market Research.

6. ROLL YOUR OWN DEMOCRACY

Currently 4 states (Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington) have made the drug legal for recreational use and 24 more states say that it can be used for medical purposes. Eight states including MASS will consider various forms of marijuana legalization in ballots this November. There are more than 10,000 legal operational marijuana licenses in the U.S., compelling the Democratic Party to endorse a “reasoned pathway to future legalization” and a rescheduling of marijuana to a Schedule II substance.

5. THE TOP DISPENSARY INFRACTION

All marijuana product/inventory is not reconciled daily to account for all variances (Inventory).

4. THE TOP CULTIVATION INFRACTION

The facility is missing required information in its standard operating procedures (SOPs).

3. THE TOP EDIBLES INFRACTION

The facility does not have all required permits required for operation (Food Service, Industrial Hygienist, local operational, etc.)

2. ROLLING ORGANIC

The State of Colorado has recalled more than 100,000 marijuana edibles due to prohibited pesticide use. Mass requires pot be grown organically.

1. FULL COMPLIANCE

Marijuana business operations must comply with all federal agency rules and requirements – IRS, OSHA, EPA, HIPAA Agriculture, Labor and Consumer Protection — even though cannabis businesses are not federally supported.

Byline originally appeared under Michelle Drolet, September 26, 2016 in Worcester Business Journal.