Allay Consulting’s March Newsletter: Building Relationships with your Regulators
Building Relationships with your Regulators
Are regulators friends or foes? Perhaps regulators fall somewhere in between but use that to your advantage! Regardless of your opinion of regulators, building pragmatic relationships with your regulator is priceless. It is in a company’s best interest to have positive interactions with regulatory departments, believe us! Allay Consulting is comprised of four previous cannabis regulators; we know what it’s like to interact with facility operators as government officials. Now being on the “other side” as consultants, we see the struggle some companies encounter when working with regulators. We hope this newsletter sheds light on the benefits of creating positive relationships with regulators.
Let Them In
Let them in…literally and figuratively.
Literally – allow government officials inside the establishment. Nothing is worse than not letting regulators inside the facility. Regulators have authority to enter the premise. By not letting them inside, you’re setting a terrible precedent for the inspection and future relationships and may even face penalties or fines. Request their department identification or badge to verify they are indeed a regulator.
Figuratively – promote free-flowing conversation between you and the regulator. Within reason of course. Chatting with the regulator creates a pathway for trust between the two. Always respond with respect and curiosity, even when tensions rise. Our greatest regulatory relationships were formed with the industry when conversation was free flowing and open.
Open Communication Leads to Trust
We’re not advocating to answer more than you are asked, but we are encouraging open and transparent communication. By communicating with regulators, they can better understand the business’s practices. The better the regulator understands your business operation, the better they will better be able to support you. They will be able to identify compliance issues before it may cause problems for the business. Identifying problems at the facility may help save your company money and create a more efficient and productive facility.
Listen & Ask Questions
Although it may be difficult to hear opportunities for improvement, we encourage companies to ask the regulator questions. If the regulator identifies a violation that you do not understand or agree with, ask questions. Specifically, ask which regulation the observation was in violation of and how the violation is a safety or health hazard. A significant aspect of a regulator’s job is to educate the public and business owners; therefore, questions are typically answered with education in mind.
Regulators Have a Job: To Ensure Safety
Regulators have a job: to ensure compliance at your facility and to promote health & safety. At the end of the day, regulators are people too! Regulators may see anywhere from one to six facilities in a single day, and some inspections may be mentally exhausting for the regulator. Imposing penalties, disposing of product, and enacting recalls were the most difficult experiences when working as regulators.
Unfortunately, regulators are not meant to be your friend. But that does not mean you cannot be friendly with them. Understand that operators and regulators have the same goals: to prevent public health issues. This shared goal can help you utilize their visits to help prepare you to prevent product recalls, fines, customer complaints, employees’ injuries and illnesses, and more.
Keep in mind that the marijuana, hemp and psilocybin industry is still young. Regulators can learn from your expertise. Some regulatory bodies create their own regulations. However, often times regulators are taking a previously existing set of regulations and applying them to newly legalized industries. Industry experts have so much to offer, especially when educating regulators. By educating regulators they will better understand the industry and how regulations apply to our unique trade.
Prepare For a Regulatory Visit Instead of Fearing It!
If you have not prepared for a regulatory visit, you may feel fear. This lack of preparation only fuels the anxiety during the actual inspection. Give yourself a chance for success and prepare prior to their visit! Instead of worrying about the inevitable knock at the door, prepare yourself, prepare your employees, and prepare the facility for a regulatory visit. Treat each inspection as your chance to shine by showing the regulators your compliance program. If you’re not prepared for a regulatory visit, Allay Consulting specializes in auditing facilities, training staff, and creating documentation to best prepare companies for a government visit. We have performed several hundred inspections: both as cannabis regulators and as consultants. Allay brings forth strong regulatory knowledge with lessons learned. Reach out to Allay Consulting to learn more!
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