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California Cannabis Compliance: 7 Key Aspects to Consider

california cannabis compliance

If you’ve been granted a license as a California cannabis retailer, congratulations! You’re now a part of one of the largest legal cannabis markets in the world.

Through the application process, you’ve demonstrated to the state that you’re prepared to sell and dispense cannabis in compliance with all applicable Californian laws and regulations. And now that you’ve obtained the license, it’s critical that you remain compliant with the regulations at all times—otherwise you jeopardize that license you worked so hard to get.

Below are a few of the major California cannabis compliance aspects you’ll need to address.

Inventory Documentation and Reconciliation Requirements

California requires that retailers maintain accurate inventory records. You must reconcile physical inventory with your internal records once every 14 days at minimum.

Customer Verification and Daily Purchase Limits

You’re also responsible for verifying every customer’s age and identify. The state does not look lightly on selling to minors, and law enforcement agencies may use decoys to bust retailers who aren’t complying.

Adult-use customers must be 21 or older and present valid ID. Medical patients or caregivers must be 18 or older and present their ID along with a recommendation from a certified physician.

California has also set purchase limits to regulate the amount of cannabis that may be purchased in one day:

  • Adult use:
  • No more than 28.5 grams (one ounce) of non-concentrated cannabis per day
  • No more than 8 grams of concentrated cannabis per day
  • No more than 6 immature cannabis plants per day
  • Medicinal use:
  • No more than 8 ounces of medicinal cannabis per day

Track and Trace Reporting Requirements

One of the most significant California cannabis compliance aspects is track and trace reporting, also called “seed to sale” reporting. Track and trace reporting allows the state to monitor every cannabis plant that is cultivated, processed, transported, and sold.

California will be using Metrc as its official track and trace reporting system. As a retailer, you’re required to report specific data from every sale, receipt, return, and disposal of cannabis product within your store on a daily basis. These reports must be submitted to Metrc no later than 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the day they occurred.

Reporting in Metrc

Once you’ve completed your initial account setup in Metrc, you’ll have two options for daily reporting: manual and automated.

Manual reporting requires you to log in to your online Metrc account at the end of every business day to enter all the data from every single transaction and other activity that occurred.

If manual reporting sounds cumbersome and time-consuming, that’s because it is.

Even worse, manual reporting puts you at significantly greater risk of mistakenly sending misinformation to state—which can put you in serious hot water.

Automated reporting, on the other hand, involves the use of a retail-specific cannabis software solution that is integrable with Metrc and automatically syncs all required data from your store’s transactions and activities as they occur in real time. That means no more worrying about erroneous manual data entry—and no more late hours spent reporting after the close of business.

Reporting During an Outage

If you lose connectivity to Metrc or experience an internet outage that prevents you from transmitting the daily report to the state, you’re required to record all information and backlog it into Metrc within three days of restored connectivity.

Reconciling Physical Inventory with Metrc Reports

Just as you must reconcile physical inventory with your internal records, you must also reconcile physical inventory with the counts you’ve reported in Metrc at least every 14 days.

Remaining Compliant with a Cannabis Retail Point of Sale System

As you can see, staying compliant with California's cannabis laws involves a lot of work—and a lot of risk. If you don’t take measures to ensure that every reportable action is properly recorded both internally and within Metrc, you expose yourself to a potential compliance infraction. This in turn could put your license—and your entire business—in jeopardy.

That’s why Cova has designed a dispensary point of sale system specifically for cannabis retailers. This intuitive POS does more than just ring up sales—it streamlines your entire operation and automatically manages your compliance reporting.

With Cova, you don’t have to worry about making a mistake when manually reporting the day’s activities in Metrc. In fact, there’s no need to log in to Metrc at all. Our system seamlessly integrates with Metrc and automatically syncs every transaction and inventory update to the state’s database in real time.

Cova arms your budtenders with the tools they need to impress customers:

  • ID scanner for easy verification
  • Search function to quickly find strain or product info
  • Loyalty rewards programs
  • Auto-apply discounts to specific customer groups
  • Transaction limit alerts so your customers don’t purchase more—and you don’t sell more—than the daily limit

Cova's dispensary POS also features an offline mode that allows you to continue operations even if your internet connection is down. Don’t worry about backlogging the sales info in Metrc—Cova automatically syncs all the saved data once connectivity is restored.

Learn More

To learn more about how Cova can help you grow your cannabis empire, schedule a free demo today.


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