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Complete Guide To Cannabis Dispensary Standard Operating Procedures

Guide To Cannabis Dispensary SOPs

If you’re thinking of opening a cannabis dispensary, you should plan and put together a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to help you establish a dependable and repeatable method for managing your store and selling cannabis products to clients. A well-run business will reap rewards such as repeat business from customers, employee retention, and increased sales.

SOPs might not have to be submitted while obtaining a dispensary license. However, this does not necessarily imply that SOPs are not valuable and important for running your cannabis retail business. Always keep in mind that taking extra measures can increase your chances of success!

Read on to learn more about SOPs and why every cannabis business needs an expert assistance when creating them for your cannabis retail business.

What is an Cannabis SOP?

Your cannabis dispensary will require SOPs to manage the day-to-day operations of the business. SOPs are documentation, protocols, methods, and practices. SOPs help businesses in their efforts to guide their employees while they carry out business operations in order to increase productivity and profitability over the long run.

Every licensed cannabis business is required to maintain SOPs to ensure uniformity in all operational processes or tasks. The steps that employees or licensees must follow for specific work processes are documented in SOPs. SOPs most importantly take care of health and safety issues by describing how to cultivate, handle, and use cannabis and cannabis products in a safely and properly.

Why Does Your Cannabis Dispensary Require SOPs?

Professional quality SOPs help in the smooth operation of your dispensary and may act as a manual for your staff, fostering brand loyalty.

SOPs will also help new team members with training and onboarding by enabling them to review the guidelines before carrying out new responsibilities to ensure accurate job performance.

Authorities expect cannabis dispensaries to have standard operating procedures in place to ensure that they comply with the established requirements. This is important as adhering to legislative compliance is crucial in the cannabis market.  

What Your Cannabis Retail SOPs Should Cover?

Your cannabis dispensary will depend on maintaining accurate records, demonstrating compliance, and completing tasks consistently and effectively. Consequently, some of the following duties should be covered in your cannabis dispensary SOPs:

  • Employee hiring
  • Store cleaning, sanitation, and maintenance
  • Equipment management
  • Product receipt and storage
  • Inventory management
  • POS Procedure
  • QC/recall
  • Customer Reception and Management

SOPs frequently cross over and will include details unique to how your store is run. Some SOPs must follow guidelines quite strictly (such as customer reception because photo ID and proof of age must be checked at all cannabis dispensaries). While  depending on the software/technology your team is implementing, certain SOPs will be more flexible than others (e.g. POS software, record-keeping software, etc.).

Cannabis SOP Rules

  • All cannabis businesses must have up-to-date SOPs on site always.
  • Present SOPs to the concerned agency upon request.
  • Standard operating procedures must specify the operations and activities essential for cannabis businesses to abide by the laws and the rules.
  • The licensee may be required to amend the procedure immediately and update the SOPs within one business day if the agency decides that any SOP contains inaccurate information or does not adhere to regulations and safe food management principles, as applicable.

How To Create SOPs For Cannabis Dispensaries

The following are the essential elements that must be a part of all dispensary SOPs:

Add A Header

The header will always appear first in any SOP. This ought to include the title, the document number, and the revision number. At the top of the page, you should also mention the author and the publication date. While these components may seem obvious to include, they are crucial to maintaining effective SOPs. 

Avoid Detailed Explanation

SOPs cover how things must be done rather than why. Include a detailed explanation in your training package with your SOPs. Refrain from adding details in the SOPs. Making employees as productive as possible as soon as they start joining is the aim of new hire training. They learn how to perform their daily tasks precisely, which accomplishes that.

Include Performance Metrics

No process can be monitored if there is no way to evaluate its effectiveness, cost, or other factors. Numerous metrics are used to track the performance of the operation and the effectiveness of the employees in following SOPs, including customer reception, POS management, inventory management, and more.

Address The Employee

Then you should specify who is responsible for what. Job designations can be used to define responsibilities in this section.

Add Relevant Definitions/Materials/Equipment

You must discuss pertinent definitions and any materials or equipment needed for the operation before discussing specific procedural steps. Instructions for safe handling and storage, POS handling, inventory management, and customer reception management, are some common elements that many cannabis dispensary SOPs cover.

Step-By-Step Instructions

An SOP’s actual procedure section should provide detailed instructions that instruct staff members how to carry out tasks and record the process. In order to be repeated in any circumstance, these directions should be as thorough as possible. Most cannabis businesses will have a quality assurance division or officer, and they should be involved in ensuring that the SOP procedure section adheres to best practices for quality and compliance standards.

Validate It

You’ll need criteria to help ensure that a procedure is legit. This criterion typically involves ensuring that certain environmental requirements are satisfied, data is documented, measurements are accurate, and appropriate verification measures are followed. Basically validating the SOP.


In the end, standard operating procedures improve your ROI. Regulations can be a tough hurdle for organizations to overcome but SOPs can help them become more productive and improve their bottom line. If you’re starting a cannabis business, you need to create and implement professional SOPs.

Do you need professional SOPs for your cannabis business?

Forte SOP experts are here for you!

Forte can assist your company with its SOPs, whether it is in the licensing phase or is already operating. When you use high-quality SOPs from Forte, you will be able to avoid penalties or having your license revoked.

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