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GMPs Start at Your Property Line

July 18, 2022

Every day in the industry, we see companies making common mistakes when it comes to how cannabis facilities are designed. Consider a dispensary that inadvertently sells moldy or contaminated products–as a result of poor planning and facility design, this GMP crisis not only compromises consumer safety, but can cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up.

In order to stay ahead of evolving regulations and avoid a public health crisis or product recall, it is essential to first establish Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). How does cGMP affect you? How are you controlling your risks? GMPs drive biological, chemical, and physical risk reduction, ultimately offering companies the critical ability to proactively tackle setbacks. By adopting and maintaining thorough GMPs, your company will be able to properly allocate the necessary time, money, and resources needed now to prevent any potential fires later.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to facility design: site selection, space, design, vendors, project management, planning, funding, client base, sanitation, the surrounding environment, and much more. But, in order to facilitate an efficient operation, GMPs must start at your property line.

The initial investment but minority of your GMP costs are on the capital expenditures (CapEx) side. While small, they are significant in their impacts to the Operational (OpEx) side. From the site selection–who your neighbors are (are there wetlands that will harbor bugs and insects? Or farm fields with mice and other vermin that could increase the costs of your Pest Control program?) to the construction materials–wall coverings (are they easily washable, or are they one accidental flood away from being the source of your neverending mold failures? Will the materials stand up for the next 15 years or will the pallet jacks and heavy materials dent and damage your facility, again, creating opportunities for infestations that you will live with for the life of the facility?)

That wise investment in the CapEx determines how much of your operating costs will be consumed by not only GMP program management, but operational efficiencies and inefficiencies! Think about those mold spores that never go away, the inefficient facility layout that causes CR, insufficient storage that results in cross-contamination because of cramming materials that need to be segregated based on pathogen and allergy risks. Effective programs, combined with a well designed and constructed facility, significantly decrease your operational risks and in turn, costs. That translates into higher margins and the ability to beat out the competition as our industry matures.

The facility and the choices made before you even break ground or sign your lease are instrumental to future success. Your company must consider the risks both inside and outside of your facility. 

For instance, your grounds must be kept in a condition that will protect against the contamination of food. The methods for adequate maintenance of grounds must also include the maintenance of surrounding roads, yards, and parking lots so that they do not constitute a source of contamination in areas where food and plants are exposed, as well as adequate, regular drainage of areas that may contribute contamination to food and plants by seepage, foot-borne filth, or providing a breeding ground for pests. 

Remember–healthy plants and grounds will yield healthy results, saving you and your consumers time and money long-term. 

Consider facility design as one necessary third of the "Magic Triangle" of GMP: how are you designing and maintaining your equipment and space for optimal use? From the inside out, your facility and all it entails should be clean and sanitary, safe, well maintained, adequate in size, reliable, preventative, and qualified. The facility must include proper storage, regular testing, and thorough written procedures (remember: “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen”). 

Without giving thought to each of these critical aspects of facility design, a lot can go wrong (queue the unsafe cannabis products contaminated with mold or even heavy metals). Building a reliable and sanitary foundation from within your facility can only benefit your yields as well as your relationships with consumers.

With the right planning, your business won’t have to deal with worst case scenarios and what-ifs. 

Fortunately, we offer a number of helpful resources that can help you get started. Looking to implement GMPs and get your facility up and running as soon as possible? Contact GMPC Founder/CEO David Vaillencourt at info@gmpcollective.com today.

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