One of the requirements to get a cannabis store or dispensary license in Maine is to develop and submit standard operating procedures (SOPs). SOPs are required for both medical and adult-use dispensary licenses, though the SOPs required are different for each.
What Are Cannabis Dispensary SOPs?
Cannabis dispensary SOPs (pronounced “ess oh peas”, though you’re free to look crazy and call them “sahps” to rhyme with “mops” or “cops” if you’re so inclined, we won’t judge you) are written, step-by-step instructions on how to perform common processes such as checking out a patient or customer, opening and closing the dispensary for the day, or performing a inventory audit. Since dispensaries have dozens of different processes, dispensary owners and managers will need dozens of different SOPs.
An informal SOP for making chocolate milk, for example, would go like:
- Get yourself some milk
- Grab yourself some chocolate syrup
- Mix those fools together
Simple, right? Well, it may seem simple at first glance, but remember that you’ll need dozens of different SOPs, and they all need to be much more detailed and precise than that example.
SOPs serve several purposes, including providing you with training materials and ensuring that managers and employees know exactly what they need to do, both on a day-to-day basis and in the event of emergencies. They make for safer, more efficient, and more profitable dispensaries.
Many states including Maine require you to develop and submit SOPs with your application for a license. Regardless, SOPs are a necessity.
Maine Cannabis Store SOP Requirements
Maine requires you to enter some SOPs – or descriptions of operational plans involving these SOPs – directly into the Facility Plan template, which you have to fill out when applying for a license for cannabis store (Maine refers to non-medical/recreational/adult-use dispensaries as cannabis stores).
Co-Location of Adult Use and Medical Use Operations Plan
Only relevant to you if you plan on running a hybrid adult-use and medical dispensary.
- Co-Location Labeling Plan. If the licensee co-locates adult use and medical use operations, describe the plans to ensure that all cannabis, finished cannabis concentrate and other cannabis products are correctly packaged and labeled for medical use or adult use.
- Co-Location Tracking Plan. If the licensee co-locates adult use and medical use operations, describe how the licensee will separately track, including input to the tracking system, cannabis, cannabis concentrate and cannabis products for medical use separately from adult use cannabis, cannabis concentrate and cannabis products and will otherwise keep them from becoming intermixed.
- Co-Location Equipment Plan. Describe how the licensee will ensure that each piece of equipment is not used simultaneously on medical cannabis and adult use cannabis, with the purpose of ensuring that medical cannabis, cannabis concentrate, and other cannabis products will remain separate from adult use cannabis, cannabis concentrate, and other cannabis products.
Security and Controlling Access Plans
Most of the items in the security plan section are static measures like surveillance and alarm systems, not really processes/repeatable SOPs. There are a couple SOPs required in this section however, including:
- Delivery Video Upload. Describe how recordings of delivery sales are uploaded to the surveillance storage device, including the schedule for uploading delivery surveillance footage within 24 hours of completing sales by delivery.
- Weapons Policy. Describe how applicant/licensee will ensure that all licensees, employees, and security guards maintain compliance with all laws and regulations related to firearms and other weapons in and around the cannabis establishment
- ID Card Display. Describe how the applicant/licensee will ensure all owners, managers, and employees display valid individual identification cards at all times.
- Additional Measures. Describe any additional security measures aimed to prevent employee theft
Plans for Compliance with Cannabis Legalization Act and the Adult Use Program Rules
This subsection within Section 6: Cannabis Store Specific Information of the Facility Plan form contains the largest number of plan and SOP requirements.
- Shipping and receiving plan / SOPs
- Cannabis waste disposal plan / SOPs
- Background screening plan / SOPs
- Refrigeration plan / SOPs
- Delivery age verification plan / SOPs
- Exit packaging plan / SOPs
- Delivery manifest plan / SOPs
Keep in mind that the above SOPs and plans are only the ones that the Maine cannabis store regulations explicitly require. It’s implied that you also need other SOPs to maintain compliance in all areas of your cannabis store.
For example, Section 3.4.1.A of the Maine cannabis regulations states that “licensees are responsible for the operation of their licensed business in compliance with Maine Revised Statutes, Titles 28-B, 17-A, 36; this rule; and any other applicable state laws and rules.”
Section 3.4.1.C states that “licensees have the responsibility to control their conduct and the conduct of employees, customers, contractors and visitors on the licensed premises at all times.”
Maine Medical Cannabis Program (MMCP) Dispensary SOP Requirements
The SOP requirements for medical dispensaries are different. You can download the medical dispensary application here. Unlike with the adult-use program, you don’t write your SOPs and plans directly on the application form. Instead, you have to have a copy of your SOPs and plans ready to provide to regulators at all times.
Section 4(c): Required procedures and plans
Required plans and SOPs include:
- HR / Personnel. Job descriptions and employment contract policies in accordance with 18-691 CMR, ch 2, 7(O)(3).
- Patient Education. Policies and procedures for ensuring accurate, up-to-date and appropriate patient education materials in accordance with 18-691 CMR, ch 2, 7(O)(4).
- Creation & Maintenance of Personnel Files. Policies and procedures for ensuring the creation and maintenance of personnel files in accordance with 18-691 CMR, ch 2, 7(O)(6).
- Creation & Maintenance of Business Records. Policies and procedures for ensuring the creation and maintenance of business records in accordance with 18-691 CMR, ch 2, 7(O)(7), including transactions, transfers, testing, disposal, visitor logs, and inventory tracking and recordkeeping.
- Incident Reporting. Policies and procedures for reporting of incidents and illegal activity in accordance with 18-691 CMR, ch. 2 7(Q).
How Forte SOPs Can Help
Forte SOPs has all the SOPs you need to get a medical dispensary or cannabis store license in Maine. They’ve been written and reviewed by our staff of cannabis retail experts. Our service also includes a platform to store, manage, and share your SOPs, as well as other super-useful tools and forms.
We can also write custom SOPs for you as needed.
Why waste time reinventing the wheel when we have all the SOPs you need, and you have so many other things to worry about with getting your license and setting up your new dispensary. Reach out for a free demo today.