Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only. Cannabis Training University does not encourage or recommend the breaking of any laws. The information contained in this blog post is not intended to be taken as legal advice. We recommend obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
Cannabis is a multi-billion-dollar industry with the promise of growing significantly over the coming years. However, commercial marijuana production is still illegal on a federal level and in many states, even in states where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal.
As a cannabis grower or dispensary owner, you may be worried about getting busted by law enforcement for either growing weed where cultivation is prohibited, growing more than the home cultivation limit in your state, or any other failure to comply with regulations.
If you want to learn how to prepare for a marijuana bust, the best way to do so is through prevention. Preparation can only get you so far. Unfortunately, if you get caught breaking the law, you can suffer from the harsh penalties of the law.
If you want to stay on the right side of the law, here are 7 tips to keep you and your operations up and running for another day.
1. Research Your Laws
Cannabis cultivation laws vary by country, state, and municipality. Knowing the rules and regulations of how much, where, and how you can grow and sell cannabis can save you headaches and jail time later on.
Regulations relating to home cultivation, in particular, can include:
- Indoor cannabis growing only
- Cultivation license/permit requirement
- Limits on the number of plants/seedlings that can be grown
- Different requirements for medical and recreational users
- Space limitations on grow area
- Outdoor grows must be secure and away from public view
- All growing structures must meet building codes
- Odor control filtration and ventilation systems must be put in place
- Generators are prohibited
Following your state, county, and city ordinances to a T is the best way to avoid a marijuana bust in the first place. Even within legal cannabis states, some municipalities have the option of banning cannabis commercial activity.
You've probably seen the local headlines reading “San Diego dispensary raid,” “Chula Vista dispensary raid, “Spring Valley dispensary raid,” and the list goes on. Don't be another headline. Know the laws and follow them at all times.
2. Remain State Compliant At All Times
Growing or selling cannabis in an unlicensed facility and selling other illegal drugs are one of the quickest ways to end up on law enforcement's radar. Even if you are fully licensed and believe you are being state-compliant, a small mistake can cost you big-time.
A grow house or weed dispensary raid can be triggered by the following:
- Violating building codes
- Hiring employees with arrest warrants
- Failure to pay state and local taxes
Failure to comply with all state and local rules and regulations can lead to severe consequences, including getting your license revoked.
3. Develop Relationships with State and Local Officials
Having friends in high places is more important than ever in the cannabis industry, where laws and regulations are changing quickly. We recommend attending state legislative and city council meetings and working closely together with local authority agents.
States and city officials want what is best for the community and will appreciate operators that act responsibly. Support local organizations and charities to cement yourself as a conscientious business leader. In the event a mistake occurs, you will not be unfairly punished.
4. Hire a Lawyer or Compliance Specialist
Working with a cannabis lawyer or compliance professional who is intimately familiar with how a grow house or marijuana dispensary raid works can prepare you in the event you are ever caught up in this situation. Establishing a raid plan can help you be prepared and limit the consequences.
A comprehensive raid plan includes keeping accurate records of the following:
- Licensing and permits
- Customer information
Make sure to keep everything properly documented and well-organized, preferably in a binder that can be easily and quickly accessed. Keeping track of these records in one place can ensure and show that you are operating legally and complying with all regulations.
Designate an individual point of contact who can access this information and inform business owners that law enforcement is present.
5. Hire and Train Employees with Compliance in Mind
Hiring the wrong employee can cost you more than just profits, but also getting your license revoked. From incompetence to theft, bad employees can make a business more likely to be scrutinized by state and local authorities.
It all starts with the right hiring process. Enforce strict background checks and make sure that employees do not have any disqualifying offenses to work in the cannabis industry.
When hired, employees should be properly and regularly trained on raid procedure activities. Training everyone from entry-level employees to managers ensures everyone is prepared if they are the ones who make the first contact with law enforcement during a raid.
6. Know Your Rights
While cannabis legalization has spread across several states, there are still outdated laws and misconceptions of cannabis. Cannabis users, especially people of color, can be discriminated against by law enforcement, employers, and government entities.
In the event of a dispensary raid or grow house bust, it is best to remain calm and avoid volunteering information that could incriminate you. You have the right to remain silent and have the right to an attorney.
While you should know your rights, you should also politely comply with police requests to make the bust easier and less complicated such as showing them where the plants, cash, and products are that may be collected for evidence.
7. Enroll in Cannabis Training University
Enrolling in the world's most renowned online cannabis college is one of the best ways to be informed about the latest laws and regulations in your state. As a leader in cannabis education, we prepare students of all skill levels to legally and safely grow marijuana for personal use and obtain an operator license.
Ready to level up your personal or commercial operation without drawing unnecessary attention from the law? Enroll in Cannabis Training University today!