Are Your Suppliers Putting Your Brand at Risk?

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

Are Your Suppliers Putting Your Brand at Risk?
Are Your Suppliers Putting Your Brand at Risk?

Marijuana plants hung on clothes hangers to dry. Cultivation sites raided and eradicated by sheriffs for illegal operation. An estimated $7 million worth of marijuana plants destroyed – and all within three days in a single California county.

Are you sure you know your suppliers … and your suppliers’ suppliers? Not only whether or not the plants are legally grown under your state’s regulations, but also the practices being used in growing, harvesting, and processing of the cannabis for your edibles.

The impacts of having sourced cannabis formulations from a site in this – or any such – investigation could be extensive. At its most basic, anyone expecting deliveries from any of the 14,116 destroyed plants, or from the suppliers sourcing from these sites, are going to be short and will have to find an alternate supplier.

Even more impactful, though, are the potential food safety risks of illegal cultivation and questionable harvesting, drying, or other processing practices. And the sites in these raids were not the first by the Sheriff’s Cannabis Compliance Team. Earlier in September more than 1,400 plants were destroyed, environmental violations involving disruptions of the streambed and grading were observed, and the grower faced potential charges related to the illegal marijuana cultivation and perjury for evidence of false grow documentation filed with the county.

Additionally, because the compliance team is dedicated to continuing to “identify and investigate illegal marijuana cultivation sites,” should regulators decide to trace forward previous harvests from such growers, your products could be at risk for recall or worse. As stated in the department’s post, “no arrests were made, but individuals at this location were interviewed for potential future charges against the individuals responsible.”

There is incredible growth and opportunity in cannabis edibles, but food safety from seed to finished product is essential to success. A single tainted product, recall, or investigation by local, state, or even federal regulators can significantly impact your brand and put your future at risk.

So, we reiterate: Are you sure you know your suppliers?

  • Are they fully – and currently – licensed under and compliant with your state’s regulations?

  • Are they, and their suppliers, in complete compliance with all your requirements – have you checked lately?

  • Do they have food safety plans for process and environmental controls to ensure against contamination?

  • Are they implementing CHACCP (Cannabis Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) programs – focusing on critical risk factors for ingestible products, and all other product offerings?

  • Are they using any unauthorized pesticides? It is the most common cause of cannabis recalls today.

  • Are your non-cannabis ingredient suppliers following all local, state, and federal food safety regulations, including FSMA’s Produce Safety and Preventive Controls rules, as applicable?

While you have on-site control of the processes and practices of your own facility, it isn’t as easy to control – or even always know – the practices of your suppliers and their suppliers. But with a thorough supply chain program, it can certainly be done.


About HashTAG

Led by Dr. David Acheson, HashTAG is part of The Acheson Group (TAG), a food safety consulting group that provides guidance and expertise worldwide for companies throughout the food supply chain. With a focus on the Cannabis Edibles Industry, the HashTAG team brings in-depth industry knowledge combined with real-world experience to help companies more effectively mitigate risk, improve operational efficiencies, and ensure regulatory and standards compliance.

To learn more about HashTAG services and expertise, please visit: