We here at Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) believe that with all the new Regulations put into place recently there is a place for both. A lawyer is the perfect choice when you have actual issues arise that require representation. A lawyer’s traditional role is to provide legal advice and advocate gaining the best resolution for their client. A Compliance Officer (CO) is the designer of a compliance strategy; they structure and develop. The CO’s must comprehend complicated laws and regulations and process them into a flourishing and workable set of operations for the entire company to adhere to. These processes must fit according to each companies unique set of circumstances; all companies are not created equal. The CO’s position requires him/her to educate the CEO, Board and staff on the developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) as well. The CO also monitors, detects, audits and reports any potential findings that regulatory agencies may find and proactively resolves issues found. Quite possibly the most important role of the CO is to minister a culture of positive accountability for all positions within the company along with fostering safety for all levels of the company’s personnel and to report any wrongdoings or situations that may require attention.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has taken the following position: legal counsel should not exercise a dual role. Here is the language used by the OIG: “The Compliance Officer shall be a member of senior management of [Provider], shall make periodic (at least quarterly) reports regarding compliance matters directly to the Board of Directors of [Provider], and shall be authorized to report on such matters to the Board of Directors at any time. The Compliance Officer shall not be or be subordinate to the General Counsel or Chief Financial Officer.”
Now, you are probably asking yourself, why use the OIG’s recommendation as an example? Keep in mind just as there are lawyers for all types of entities the same goes for Compliance Officers. Here are just some entities that utilize the two: Banks, Corporations, Health Providers and Durable Medical Equipment providers; which bring me to why CRA is the most appropriate organization to handle your Cannabis compliance needs. The owners of CRA have their background in Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), California Department of Public Health (CDPH) – who regulates the Manufactures of cannabis, and California Medical Board. They have worked with these heavily regulated administrations for many years and have been through numerous audits with each as well as local agencies. They have a precognition and exceptional knowledge on how to prepare and pass audits by being proactive versus reactive.
This last point brings us to our conclusion, and to summarize the topic: Compliance is proactive, legal is reactive.