• Gavin Kogan

Safety Regulations: A herculean task with good intentions

The impacts of the July Phase II testing requirements have been devastating, leaving whole swaths of dispensary shelves empty and frankly, wiping out a lot of good people’s best efforts to pioneer this regulated space. It is indeed a punishing time for all of us, and our respect for all of those working tirelessly to lead this cultural and political evolution could not be greater.

While we are all plainly aware that it is a herculean, if not presently impossible task to meet all regulations to exacting standards, we believe that “intention” is the heart of the matter.

Cultivation and Extraction Safety from Compliance Manager Mike Towey

It is important for all of us to keep safety protocols top-of-mind. We must maintain clear safety protocols and thorough training programs to create a culture where employees are more motivated to perform safely on the job, especially during this busy time.

1. Local and State fire regulations - Although it appears to be obvious, almost every greenhouse I visit is lacking in some form of fire protection. Examples such as extinguishers, fire lanes, escape plans, and properly labeled exits are critical yet often overlooked. We encourage growers to maximize their fire protocols before a city official comes through and requires them to.

2. Hazardous waste lock up and disposal - All cultivation and manufacturing license applications are required to provide plans for proper storage and disposal of hazardous waste and byproducts. We advise growers, extractors, and owners to be proactive about following through with their proposed plan. This should include having secured, properly labeled waste containers, and procedures for safe disposal.

3. Proper storage and labeling - Every product used in the cultivation and extraction processes should be properly stored and labeled. This includes solvents, chemicals, nutrients, pesticides, fungicides, etc., used in either process. What we don’t want to see is this being piled up behind the lab where people smoke!

4. Security and Theft - A couple overlooked concepts I have seen at local cultivation sites are lack of security and inventory protection plans. Quite a few sites have hired full time security staff, but some still haven't committed to proper companies and procedures. Additionally, there is a need for proper check in and check out strategies combined with accurate track and trace programs to discourage diversion and theft. At a former property here in Monterey County, the first person I caught stealing was a SECURITY GUARD! Having a robust security system, track and trace, and inventory control protocols are very important.

5. Equipment Maintenance and storage - Many projects I have seen are suffering under intense time constraints, and the pressure has caused permits and planning to fall to the side. Projects like these have massive electrical, chemical and water requirements that use complicated equipment that requires continual maintenance, professional installation, engineering approvals, etc. Taking time to properly design, build, and care for expensive and potentially dangerous equipment will be a main component of long-term success.