We use a four-step process for updating our regulatory content. As a reminder, our content types are Audit Content, Smart Cabinet, SOP Templates, and Packaging & Labeling Checklists.
Step One: Monitor
We handle monitoring in three ways.
- Email Subscriptions. All states and many local jurisdictions use a listserv or an email subscription service to share updates. We subscribe to all of them. We also sign up for alerts from Municode, which hosts ordinances for many local municipalities. Finally, we also subscribe to industry newsletters such as Marijuana Moment and MJToday Daily.
- Page Monitors. We use a Chrome extension called Distill to monitor specific web pages where regulatory updates are posted. Distill scans pages daily and alerts us with an email notification when something changes.
- Proactive Checks. Even with all this technology, it's possible for updates to go unnoticed. The agencies responsible for maintaining their rules and regulations are not always good about sending emails or updating their websites. Some smaller municipalities don't even have websites. As an added layer of monitoring, we proactively check for regulatory updates on a regular schedule.
Step Two: Investigate
Once we receive a notification, we still have to figure out whether it affects our content. Sometimes the page monitor catches a change that has nothing to do with a changing code or regulation, because they changed the font. Other times, we will get notified because they changed their parking ordinance. Even if the changed code involves cannabis, it could still be a change that doesn’t affect our clients, like if they changed the fines for public consumption.
Every morning, we go through all our notifications, doing triage so we can determine what changes actually need our attention.
Step Three: Prioritize
If we decide that the change will affect our content, we consult with our Client Engagement team. We tend to prioritize updates if the change affects more of our clients, but we will always find time to update before running the risk of leaving a client in a state of non-compliance. If it’s a very minor update, like a ban on outdoor grows that only requires drafting one question, we may skip this step altogether and just release the update.
Step Four: Update
Once the update is prioritized, it gets assigned to a regulatory analyst who makes the necessary changes. Sometimes we have to delete questions, like when Colorado removed it’s vertical integration requirements for Medical Marijuana Businesses, while at other times we have to draft entirely new content, like when Michigan legalized recreational cannabis.
Regardless of how impactful the update is, we will let you know. Every update is accompanied with a release note that lets you know what precipitated the change, and a quick summary of how it affected our content.
Note that it is possible for our content to update even though the regulations remain the same. There are two general ways this could happen:
- We receive user feedback and incorporate changes as a result. We may have found a better way to structure questions about a confusing regulation, added a best practice to an SOP template, updated a list of required items, and so on. If you have some feedback about our content, please send a note to email@example.com and we'd be happy to look into it!
- We proactively update our content based on internal content improvement initiatives. For example, Operation Easy Read improved the readability of our audit content by 39%. We are constantly on the look-out for ways to reduce the number of questions in an audit, make our SOP templates more usable for specific licensees, and so on.